Settlement

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This decision affirms an order enforcing a settlement agreement that resolved 20 medical malpractice actions--even though the agreement for liquidated damages of $50,000 per month up to a cap of $1.5 million if the defendant failed to timely pay the installments due under the $575,000 settlement amount.  The opinion emphasizes that under Civ. Code 1781(b), which applies to contracts other… Read More

Following Jade Fashion & Co., Inc. v. Harkham Industries, Inc. (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 635, this decision enforces the parties' settlement agreement which permitted plaintiff to enter judgment against defendant for $251,000 if defendant failed to pay any of 24 monthly instalments of $1,250 (for a total of $30,000).  The $251,000 judgment was not an unenforceable penalty because defendant admitted plaintiff… Read More

Plaintiff was a nurse, employed by a staffing company, on temporary assignment to a hospital run by defendant.  Plaintiff brought separate class actions against the staffing company and the hospital for wage and hour violations.  This decision holds that the settlement and dismissal of plaintiff's suit against the staffing company did not end or preclude her suit against the defendant. … Read More

Florida does not violate the Medicare Act by asserting a lien for 37.5% of a Medicare recipient's settlement of his claim against a third party tortfeasor for injuries treated with Medicare benefits.  Under Florida law, there is a presumption that 37.5% of any personal injury settlement is paid for past and future medical expenses unless rebutted by clear and convincing… Read More

Defendant was not judicially estopped from contending that a later "forbearance agreement" fully released him from obligations under an earlier "settlement agreement." In other litigation, defendant had referred to the the "forbearance agreement" as being "brief"--which could have meant short in words, not time, but in any event there was no evidence that the court in the other case had… Read More

Following Roes, 1-2  v. SFBSC Management, LLC (9th Cir. 2019) 944 F.3d 1035, this decision holds that when a class action settles before class certification, the district court may not apply a presumption of fairness to the settlement based on arms-length negotiation between experienced counsel.  Instead, the court mus employ extra caution and more rigorous scrutiny in evaluating a pre-certification… Read More

Under Prob. Code 1003, a court may, but is not required to, appoint a guardian ad litem for minors named as parties in the action. If the court doesn't appoint a guardian, it must itself protect the minor's interests.  Here, a guardian ad litem was appointed for the minors in related litigation, but not in this proceeding.  The guardian ad… Read More

This decision rejects Christine Chui's argument that she should not be bound by a settlement of a suit brought against her by other children of the same deceased parents, claiming that she had committed elder abuse against the parents and had, as trustee of their inter vivos trust, misappropriated the trust's funds.  The settlement agreement was not procedurally unconscionable.  The… Read More

Ordinarily, an order on a motion for an attorney fee award is appealable as a post-judgment order under CCP 904.1(a)(2).  But here, to maintain the trial court's jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement, the parties agreed that judgment would not be entered dismissing the action until after defendant had paid the settlement amount and any attorney fees awarded by the… Read More

Owners of adjoining apartments mediated Doe's civil harassment prevention action, reaching an agreement that provided, among other things, that the parties agree not to disparage one another.  This decision holds that read in light of the limited nature of the action and surrounding circumstances, the provision could not reasonably be read to ban Doe from saying negative things about Olson… Read More

A district court may approve a class action settlement that provides monetary relief only in the form of cy pres payments to non-parties, so long as distribution to class members is not possible and the recipients of the cy pres payments are appropriately chosen in light of the nature of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit, the objectives of the underlying statutes, and… Read More

In ruling on a motion for approval of a settlement of a PAGA claim, the trial court should apply the "fair, adequate and reasonable" standard applied to approval of class action settlements. Because many of the factors used to evaluate class action settlements bear on a settlement’s fairness—including the strength of the plaintiff’s case, the risk, the stage of the… Read More

Disagreeing with Turrietta v. Lyft, Inc. (2021) 2021 Cal. App. LEXIS 815, this decision holds that the plaintiff in one PAGA action is sufficiently aggrieved by an unfair settlement of a different plaintiff's parallel PAGA suit to have standing to appeal from the judgment following approval of settlement in the other action--so long as the appellant became a party to… Read More

Defendant's $200,000 998 offer was clear, not ambiguous, and was enforceable when plaintiff recovered less than $200,000--even though the offer did not refer to the workers’ compensation lien and state whether settlement proceeds could be used to recoup the lien.  Absence of a reference to the workers' comp. lien didn't render the offer uncertain or invalid.  A party making a… Read More

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