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Civil Procedure

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"Jurisdiction" is a term with many meanings.  As used in Probate Code 17000, jurisdiction does not refer to fundamental jurisdiction of the subject matter, nor to in personal, in rem, or quasi-in-rem jurisdiction.  Instead, that section simply provides that probate matters are to be heard in the superior court's probate division rather than its normal civil courts.  The section does… Read More

On claims to which Civ. Code 1717 applies (claims on a contract), the statute's definition of "prevailing party" supersedes any definition of that term in the parties' contract.  In applying the Hsu v. Abbara (1995) 9 Cal.4th 863 test of prevailing party, the trial court may  not consider settlement offers the parties have made either informally or under CCP 998… Read More

In building a house on his own property, defendant severed roots of a large pine tree that was partly on defendant's property and partly on plaintiff's.  Following Scholes v. Lambirth Trucking Co. (2020) 8 Cal.5th 1094, this decision holds that plaintiff can recover only single damages for killing the pine tree.  The injury to the tree occurred from severing roots… Read More

Adams, a lawyer, switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent, and then filed this case challenging the constitutionality of Delaware's constitutional provisions that allow only a bare majority of judges on its top five courts to be of the same political party and require that the remaining judges on the top three courts be of the other major political… Read More

Under the Stored Communications Act (18 USC 2701, 2707) creates a private right of action against a person who intentionally accesses, without authorization, an electronic communication system, thereby obtaining an electronic communication in the system's electronic storage.  For this purpose, electronic storage includes storage by the system for the purpose of backup.  This decision holds that wife raised triable issues,… Read More

Disagreeing with Batze v. Safeway, Inc. (2017) 10 Cal.App.5th 440, this decision holds that Amrican Pipe tolling applies to this later-brought individual suit on the same Labor Code violations alleged in two prior putative class actions, both alleging that Staples misclassified its store managers as exempt employees even though they spent more than 50% of their work time performing functions… Read More

Summary judgment was improperly entered against plaintiff on claims for negligence and intentional tort arising from a violent collision between plaintiff and defendant during an adult "no check" ice hockey league game.  Plaintiff produced evidence that, if believed, showed that defendant had not only violated league rules but had intentionally injured plaintiff or engaged in conduct so reckless as to… Read More

Plaintiff sued the manufacturer of Pop Secret popcorn, claiming it committed unfair business practices and breached the warranty of merchantability, by including partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans fat) in the popcorn after the FDA had concluded that the ingredient was no longer approved for human consumption.  This decision holds that plaintiff failed to allege a sufficient injury in fact to… Read More

If a defendant unsuccessfully moves to compel arbitration of a lawsuit filed against it, the lawsuit continues in court.  So for purposes of Civ. Code 1717, the plaintiff does not become the prevailing party on the contract simply by defeating the motion to compel arbitration.  However, if not yet having been sued, a party files an independent petition to compel… Read More

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