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Declaratory Relief

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The Government Claims Statute (Gov. Code 905) requires plaintiffs to file a government claim with the prospective government entity defendant before filing a suit for damages.  However, the statute does not apply to actions for injunctive, specific, or declaratory relief--even if the declaration might be used in a later suit for damages.  Here, a contractor sued for a declaration regarding… Read More

A district court may decline jurisdiction over an action that seeks only declaratory relief, so long as the district court properly considers the factors listed in Brillhart v. Excess Ins. Co. (1942) 316 U.S. 491 and Government Employees Ins. Co. v. Dizol (9th Cir. 1998) 133 F.3d 1220.  However, the district court cannot decline jurisdiction if the declaratory relief claim… Read More

Ordinarily, when a complaint alleges a stand-alone claim for declaratory relief and properly alleges the existence of an existing controversy, the trial court should not grant a demurrer because the plaintiff is entitled to a declaration of rights even if unfavorable.  However, the error is not prejudicial if the declaration would be in the defendant's favor.  The appellate opinion affirming… Read More

If the issues in a insurance coverage declaratory relief action overlap the issues in the underlying litigation against the insured, the insurer cannot, over the insured’s objection, take discovery on the overlapping issues or litigate them in the declaratory relief action.   Read More