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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

Plaintiff sued a corporation, took its default on a breach of contract claim.  Plaintiff also sued the corporation's owner and a related corporation.  After voluntarily dismissing the contract cause of action against those defendants, plaintiff continued to pursue tort claims against them for fraudulent conveyance and conspiracy, attempting to hold them liable on the default judgment against the corporation.  The… Read More

To admit her disabled, ill brother, for whom she acted as conservator, to a skilled nursing facility, plaintiff signed an admission agreement as well as two arbitration agreements, one for medical malpractice disputes, the other for all other disputes.  Plaintiff sued after the facility's poor care led to her brother's death.  The trial court denied the facility's motion to compel… Read More

This decision holds that the trial court correctly denied enforcement of an arbitration clause in a contraxt for other than medical services because the arbitration clause was one of the standard terms of the contract, on the reverse side, while the customer signed the agreement only on the front side.  The arbitration clause was in the same 8-pt. types as… Read More

Plaintiff, the tenant in a commercial building, was injured when his head struck a low beam at the entrance to an upstairs door and as a result he fell down the stairs.  This decision affirms a summary judgment for the landlord based on an exculpatory clause in the lease which absolved the landlord of liability for personal injuries suffered as… Read More

After plaintiff sustained a loss that its insurer contended was excluded from coverage, plaintiff and insurer entered into a loan receipt agreement under which the insurer lent plaintiff the funds needed to repair the damage to its property.  The plaintiff was not personally liable to repay the loan but agreed to repay out of any proceeds it received from suing… Read More

Plaintiff, a Coptic church, bought a residence to serve as the Coptic pope's western US residence and a residence for visiting bishops.  Its insurance broker arranged for it to obtain a commercial property insurance policy which had an exclusion for loss due to water damage if the property had been vacant for 60 days or more before the loss.  This… Read More

This decision reverses a judgment confirming an arbitration award.  The arbitrator exceeded his powers by issuing an award that enforced an employment contract's provision that violated the employee's unwaivable statutory rights.  The employment agreement's confidentiality clause was so broadly written that it prohibited the employee from using any information not generally known to the securities industry for the benefit of… Read More

Plaintiffs alleged that defendant had agreed to cremate plaintiff's two dogs individually, but sent them random ashes rather than those of their dogs.  Plaintiffs sought to recover for the emotional distress they suffered as a result.  Held:  Plaintiffs didn't state a breach of contract claim as their vet, not they, had contracted with defendant, but on remand plaintiffs should be… Read More

In a poorly lawyered case, this decision affirms an order denying a motion to compel arbitration, holding that the trial court properly held the arbitration clause was unconscionable.  It was procedurally unconscionable because it was a form contract presented to the patient only moments before the laser hair removal operation in a large stack of other paper she didn't have… Read More

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