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Abuse of Discretion

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An order denying a petition to change the petitioner's legal name is reviewed for abuse of discretion.  However, there is only a very narrow range of discretion allowed.  A name change must be granted unless the new name may cause confusion or is to a "fighting" word.  Here, petitioner sought to change her name to Candi Bimbo Doll, a name… Read More

The district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding terminating sanctions under FRCivP 37(e) against plaintiff for intentionally deleting (and getting her friends to delete) text messages about the case from their cellphones. There was substantial evidence that plaintiff acted intentionally to destroy the text messages and deprive defendant of their contents.  And lesser sanctions would not remedy that… Read More

An attorney for plaintiff was found to have reviewed two of defendant's arguably attorney-client privileged documents without stopping and notifying the defendant when he realized the documents might be privileged.  However, the trial court abused its discretion in disqualifying the plaintiff's law firm as a result.  The trial court failed to say how the two documents could be used to… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that plaintiff could not have validly entered into a contract with an arbitration clause when the contract was 21 pages, the review period was 38 seconds and through a cell phone, and plaintiff was 81 years old with virtually no technological ability. Furthermore, plaintiff's income was limited; she was careful… Read More

The district court abused its discretion in denying class certification of a claim that defendant violated California labor laws by requiring employees to remain on premises during rest breaks.  The evidence showed that defendant enforced that policy consistently across all its employees, making the claim suitable for class certification.  However, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying… Read More

The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff leave to amend to bring in a new defendant and allege a new theory of liability when the motion was filed 8 months after the scheduling order's deadline for amending the pleadings.  The plaintiff was not diligent having waited several months after learning of the new defendant's identity and… Read More

This decision affirms dismissal of a case under the 5 year statute.  It holds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in not tolling the 5 year statute during the 16 month period in which the court was not holding jury trials due to COVID-19 because during that period plaintiff was not ready to go to trial anyway,… Read More

The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant attorney fees under the EAJA.  Though the district court disbelieved the government's expert witness, whose testimony was the principal evidence on which the government based its claim that defendant had overvalued the company he sold to an ESOP, the government did not anticipate that result when it went to… Read More

Plaintiff prevailed on a mandate petition challenging his one-year suspension from UC Davis for violating its policies against sexual harassment and assault.  The trial court found that the university lacked evidence of sufficiently serious misconduct to support the one-year suspension.  This decision holds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that plaintiff was not entitled to… Read More

Plaintiff recovered less than defendant's 998 offer.  The trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding defendant (a) $12,000 for an expert witness' two days of trial testimony, and (b) $6,000 in court reporter fees for real-time transcription of the trial proceedings. Read More

This decision affirms a prejudgment attachment order.  The trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the parties had not amended a fully integrated written contract which provided that all amendments had to be signed and in writing.  Under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (CC 1633.1 et seq.), it is not enough to show that a document was… Read More

The trial court abused its discretion in disqualifying defendant's attorney on the ground the attorney would be defendant's principal witness regarding a decade-old settlement agreement between the parties--one that the attorney had negotiated for defendant.  When the client gives fully informed consent, as was true here, the attorney-witness may be disqualified only if the trial court finds prejudice to the… Read More

Although acknowledging the issue still remains open, it decides the review the trial court's rulings on evidentiary objections on a summary judgment motion under the abuse of discretion standard which it claims is the majority position both before and after Reid v. Google, Inc. (2010) 50 Cal.4th 512 (which highlighted but did not decide the issue). Read More

The trial court abused its discretion in holding that environmental protection parties were not entitled to attorney fees against a homeowner's association under CCP 1021.5 under the Adoption of Joshua S. (2008) 42 Cal.4th 945 exception.  That exception is narrow; it applies only to parties that litigate purely private matters that happen to raise issues of public importance.  It does… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that a plaintiff homeowners association was not entitled to private attorney general fees under the catalyst theory.  To prevail on that theory, the court must find that the plaintiff's lawsuit was a material factor that contributed in a significant way to the defendant's adopting a changed plan or conduct that… Read More

Although recognizing that a minority of decisions apply a substantial evidence standard of review on appeal from an order granting or enforcement to a forum selection clause, this decision adopts what it says is the majority rule applying, instead, an abuse of discretion standard of review.  In this case, the contract included not only a clause selecting Illinois as the… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding plaintiff's expert witness' opinion regarding the accused diabetes drug's causing an increased risk of heart failure in diabetics.  The expert relied on only one test, the authors of which noted that its results as to heart failure were anomalous and required comparison with other tests.  The expert also did not… Read More

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