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Damages

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California follows Rest.2d Torts sec. 920 in allowing a reduction of a plaintiff's damages if the defendant's tortious conduct has conferred a special benefit on the plaintiff as well as damaging the plaintiff.  But the reduction is permitted only to the extent it is equitable to reduce damages.  In weighing the equities, the court can consider not only whether the… Read More

Molfetta was White's criminal defense lawyer.  After White was convicted, he requested Molfetta's files so he could prepare habeas corpus petitions.  Molfetta failed to turn over the files.  While some of the files were confidential and could not be turned over, most were not and should have been timely provided once White requested them.  While condemning Molfetta's actions, this decision… Read More

A new trial motion based on excessive damages must be made on the "minutes of the court."  Unlike a new trial motion for juror misconduct, the excessive damage new trial motion may not be based on, and the trial court may not consider, evidence not admitted before the jury during the trial--such as in this case, the defendant's chart of… Read More

The district court did not err in reducing punitive damages against Monsanto for failure to warn of cancer risks from Roundup to a ratio of 3.8 to 1 to actual damages, though that ratio was on the borderline of being excessive.  The harm caused was physical, yet the jury awarded plaintiff $5 million in actual damages, 96% of which was… Read More

Plaintiff successfully sued defendant for violating a conservation easement on his property.  The trial court awarded plaintiff $2.9 million in attorney fees for five years of hard-fought litigation and a 19-day trial.  This decision affirms the award.  Plaintiff could recover fees for all hours spent by its attorneys though the first $500,000 in fees was paid for by its insurance. … Read More

The triall court abused its discretion in denying plaintiff's request for an award of fees under CCP 2033.420(a) for proving facts stated in requests for admission that the defendant had wrongly denied.  None of the grounds the trial court stated were supported by the evidence.  Nor was the plaintiff required to allocate its fees to specific requests that defendant had… Read More

Disagreeing with Villacorta v. Cemex Cement, Inc. (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 1425, this decision holds that income a wrongfully terminated employee earns from another job after termination must be subtracted from her past economic damages for the wrongful termination whether or not the subsequent employment was not comparable or substantially similar to the job that was wrongfully terminated.  The comparable or… Read More

In determining whether a defendant's tortious conduct was the proximate cause of plaintiff's damage, the court must view the general set of circumstances not the particular facts of the case.  So, here, the defendant escrow company's negligence in closing an escrow for the sale of a house led foreseeably to the seller's incurring damages in the form of attorney fees… Read More

In a transactional legal malpractice case arising from the defendant lawyer's advising plaintiff to enter into two marketing contracts that conflicted with each other, the plaintiff had to show only that the lawyer's negligent advice was a substantial factor in causing her loss.  This she did at least sufficiently to overcome summary judgment by showing that she was considering not… Read More

In a construction dispute that originally was over $22,096, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding plaintiff only $90,000 in attorney fees out of the $292,140 requested.  The case was relatively simple, ultimately turning on the contractor's lack of a license and proper insurance.  It involved only money, so it was reasonable to compare fees against recovery… Read More

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