Recent Victories in Civil Appeals and Writs
Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata
- In Farrell v. Farrell (A129898, 1st Dist., Div. 4, 2011), the client sought to obtain her share of her deceased husbands estate, over the objections of her husbands brothers. In this latest round of litigation, the trial court rejected the brothers arguments that the client was not entitled to a share of the estate, and the brothers appealed. The Court of Appeal affirmed, agreeing with our arguments that the brothers arguments were barred by collateral estoppel and res judicata. The Court of Appeal remanded for a hearing on the clients request for attorney fees. (The courts opinion can be read here.)
- In InSyst Ltd. v. Applied Materials, Inc. (H033058, 6th Dist. 2010) the client sued the defendant for misappropriation of trade secrets and fraud. The trial court granted the defendants motion for summary adjudication on the trade secret claim. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the defendant had failed to carry its burden to show that there was no material fact in dispute and that it was entitled to judgment on this issue as a matter of law. The Court of Appeal remanded for a trial on the trade secrets claim. (The courts opinion can be read here.)
Notice of Appeal
- In InSyst Ltd. v. Applied Materials, Inc. (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 1129, the clients trial attorneys filed the notice of appeal fewer than 60 days after the notice of entry of judgment was mailed to the parties, but more than 60 days after the electronic notice was sent. The electronic notice did not have the entry of judgment attached, but rather provided a link by which one could access the entry of judgment. The defendant moved to dismiss the clients appeal on the ground that the notice of appeal was untimely because electronic notice of the entry of judgment triggered the clock to file a notice of appeal. The Court of Appeal denied the motion, holding that the statutory requirement that the clerk "mail" the entry of judgment required the clerk either to put the entry of judgment in the U.S. mail or to attach a copy of the entry of judgment to the electronic notice. Because the clerk did only the former, and the notice of appeal was filed within 60 days of the date of mailing, the notice of appeal was timely. (The courts opinion can be read here.)
- In Duffy v. Technicolor Entertainment Services, Inc. (B196126, 2nd Dist. 2009), the client won a substantial verdict against the employer based on a co-employees assault of him at work and later at his home. The defendant appealed on the ground that the matter was governed by the Workers Compensation Act, and that private tort remedies were not available. (The courts opinion can be read here). The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment, holding that the jurys verdicts which included findings exempting the case from the Workers Compensation Act were supported by substantial evidence.
- In Gonzalez v. Roadway Express, Inc. (B177637, 2nd Dist. 2005), the client won a verdict for sexual harassment against the employer arising under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The trial court awarded trial attorney substantial fees. On appeal, the defendant challenged the fee award. The Court of Appeal affirmed the award, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion based on substantial evidence of the trial lawyers qualifications and experience, the prevailing hourly rates in the Los Angeles area, and the reasonable hours he worked on the case. The Court of Appeal also ordered the defendant to pay costs and attorney fees on appeal. (The courts opinion can be read here).
- In Parsons v. Arques Shipyard Management Co. LLC (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th Supp.1, the owner of a marina sought to evict the clients (and their houseboat). The clients trial attorney moved to quash on the ground that the summons failed to allege compliance with the 60-day notice requirement for houseboat evictions. The Superior Court ruled that such challenges must be made only by way of demurrer and denied the motion to quash the summons. The Appellate Division reversed, holding that a motion to quash was proper.
Judicial Reference Agreements
- In Greenbriar Homes Communities, Inc. v. Superior Court (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 337, a developer sought to enforce a judicial reference agreement in homebuyer contracts. The trial court held the agreement unenforceable on the ground it was unconscionable, and the developer filed a petition for writ of mandate. I filed an amicus brief on behalf of the California Building Industry Association. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court, agreeing with my argument that the trial court should not evaluate a judicial reference agreement under the criteria set forth in the arbitration statute. (The courts opinion can be read here).
- In Trend Homes, Inc. v. Superior Court (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 950, the trial court also ruled that the judicial reference agreement in the homebuyer contract was unenforceable, and the developer again petitioned for a writ of mandate. I filed an amicus brief on behalf of the California Building Industry Association. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court, agreeing with my argument that because the judge was required to be "fair and reasonable" and take into account the parties ability to pay, it was not unconscionable to allow the judicial referee to allocate costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 645.1, subdivision (b).
- In Thomas v. Baden (B166873, 2nd Dist. 2004), the client was sued for employment law violations. He brought a cross-complaint against the plaintiff for defamation. The plaintiff moved to dismiss the cross-complaint on the ground that it was SLAPP suit. The trial court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling, holding that the plaintiffs allegedly defamatory comments were not protected by the anti-SLAPP statute. (The courts opinion can be read here).
- In Poponin v. Virtual Pro, Inc. (06-4019, N.D. Cal. 2006), I opposed a motion to enjoin an ICC arbitration proceeding, which had arisen from a contract dispute between an inventor and his business partner. The District Court agreed with my contention that because the disputed agreement required that all issues, including the applicability of the arbitration clause itself, be decided by the ICC arbitration panel, the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The Court denied complainants motion for a TRO and granted our motion to dismiss the suit with prejudice.