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A provision in an attorney's contingency fee agreement that purported to allow the attorney to consent on the client's behalf (and over the client's objection) to any settlement offer that the attorney thought was reasonable and in the client's best interest violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and was void.  Such a provision creates an immediate, direct conflict of interest… Read More

Class action settlements reached before class certification face a high hurdle to approval.  Here, the district court abused its discretion in approving a settlement of claims that Tinder violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code 52) by charging those over 29 more to use its premium services than younger users.  The district court undervalued the worth of the claims… Read More

Hom entered into a lease with tenant.  The lease granted extensive rights to lenders to tenant, including performing tenant's obligations and assuming its rights under the lease.  Tenant sued Hom who cross-complained against tenant and Petrou, a lender to tenant.  As part of his settlement with tenant, Hom dismissed his cross-complaint against Petrou as well.  Petrou was awarded attorney fees… Read More

Term of 998 offer requiring plaintiff to indemnify defendant against claims by third parties on the same allegations as the complaint rendered the 998 offer ineffective to shift costs after defendant was dismissed from the action.  Though it was understandable that defendant wanted preclude wrongful death claims by heirs of the plaintiff who claimed defendant was liable for his mesothelium… Read More

To settle disputes that arose from Oracle's hiring HP's former CEO, the two signed a settlement agreement containing a "reaffirmation" clause that  stating each company’s commitment to their strategic relationship and support of their shared customer base, and that Oracle "“will continue to offer its product suite on HP platforms.”  This lengthy opinion holds that the quoted words committed Oracle… Read More

Under the recently revised Rule 23(e)(2) requires a district court to consider, in determining whether to approve a class action settlement, not only the adequacy of the relief in light of the risks of litigation, but also the effectiveness of the proposed means of distributing the settlement and the terms of any proposed award of attorney fees.  This decision holds… Read More

BPI was a subcontractor on a public works project.  The department found that BPI had not been paying its workers at the prevailing wage rate and issued a Civil Wage Penalty Assessment for the underpaid wages plus a statutory penalty.  BPI claimed the general contractor was at fault for misinforming it about the prevailing wage rate.  After BPI filed a… Read More

It is not per se a breach of the insurer's duty of good faith for it to fail to accept a reasonable settlement offer within policy limits.  Accordingly, to support a bad faith judgment against the insurer, the jury must find that the insurer acted unreasonably in rejecting (or failing to accept) even a reasonable settlement offer within policy limits. … Read More

A proper 998 settlement offer must include a provision that allows the opposing party to accept the offer by signing a statement that the offer is accepted.  A purported 998 offer lacking that provision cannot be used to shift costs if it is not accepted.  (Puerta v. Torres (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1267.)  This decision holds that the deficient offer also… Read More

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