California Appellate Law Blog

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In a recent opinion, the California Court of Appeal held that a party could be liable for the prevailing party’s attorney fees and costs even though the underlying contracts were deemed void and unenforceable. In California-American Water Company v. Marina Coast Water District, 2017 WL 6397685, Marina Coast Water District (“Marina”) challenged the trial court’s order awarding attorney fees and costs to the respondents based on contracts that the court deemed void. The contracts provided…
In Dhillon v. John Muir Health, 2017 Cal. LEXIS 3649, the Supreme Court of California shed some light on the resolution of the long-standing conflict concerning the appealability of a trial court’s order on a petition for writ of administrative mandamus remanding for further proceedings before the administrative body. Previously, a line of decisions held that a trial court’s order on administrative mandamus remanding the matter for further administrative proceedings is not an appealable final…
Parties (typically plaintiffs) may request the appointment of a receiver in cases involving disputes over corporate assets or interests in real estate.  But the appointment of a receiver may have unexpected consequences for the party seeking appointment. The receiver is an agent of the court and not of any party, and as such: (1) is neutral; (2) acts for the benefit of all who may have an interest in the receivership property; and (3) holds…
Are the commonly accepted features of arbitration—speed and finality—being watered down by rules permitting a second arbitration that expose parties to delays and significantly increased expenses? In a recently published decision, Condon v. Daland Nissan, Inc., 6 Cal.App.5th 263, the First District Court of Appeal held that an arbitration provider’s lack of appellate rules was no impediment to providing a new arbitration because the arbitration provision permits a “do-over.” It appears that the benefits of…
On August 1 the California Supreme Court finally resolved a split of authority among California’s appellate courts over operation of the anti-SLAPP statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, in the mixed cause of action context. For over a decade, the appellate courts have disagreed as to how a plaintiff can satisfy the reasonable probability of success requirement when claims alleging both protected and unprotected activity are included within a single cause of action. Some appellate courts…
The California Supreme Court recently held that a plaintiff who obtains a monetary settlement and dismisses the action is the prevailing party entitled to statutory costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 1032. DeSaulles v. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula 2016 Cal LEXIS 1281. Most often, parties reaching settlement will dispose of any costs issues as part of the settlement agreement. Therefore, DeSaulles should only come into play when for whatever reason, costs…
In yet another installment of the gravamen of the complaint conundrum, the California Supreme Court is currently reviewing Park v. Board of Trustees of California State University (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 1258. The issue is whether the SLAPP statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, “authorize[s] a court to strike a cause of action in which the plaintiff challenges only the validity of an action taken by a public entity in an ‘official proceeding authorized by law’…
The California Supreme Court is reviewing the mixed cause of action conundrum in Baral v. Schnitt (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 1423. According to the Court’s docket, the issue is whether the SLAPP statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, “authorize[s] a trial court to excise allegations of activity protected under the statute when the cause of action also includes meritorious allegations based on activity that is not protected under the statute.” (See, e.g., Mann v. Quality Old Time Service,
Civil Code section 3291 provides that if the plaintiff in a personal injury action makes a Code of Civil Procedure section 998 offer to compromise which the defendant does not accept, and the plaintiff obtains a more favorable judgment, “the judgment” shall bear interest at the legal rate of 10 percent per annum calculated from the date of the plaintiff’s 998 offer until the judgment is satisfied. But what does “the judgment” include for purposes…
Now, more than ever, terms like “illegal alien,” “illegal immigrant,” and “undocumented worker” generate fear and controversy in our society.  And in the courtroom setting, the passionate responses inspired by “immigration” carry a significant danger of interfering with the fact finder’s duty to engage in reasoned deliberation.  So significant is this danger that courts across the country (including in California) are increasingly excluding evidence of a litigant’s immigration status—even if arguably relevant to an issue…