California Lawyers Association

Case Updates

All case updates written and distributed by the CLA sections

A monthly publication of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyers Association. Read more
In this case, the trial court erred in two respects when it signed husband’s QDRO. First, it erroneously used husband’s rank and salary at the time of the parties’ separation to calculate the community interest in his pension instead of his final rank and salary at the time of his retirement, as required by the time rule. This was error because “[u]nder the traditional time rule, the fraction of service during marriage divided by total service must be ‘multiplied by the final plan benefit to determine the community interest.’” and “because the community property interest at issue—the right to retirement benefits—'is a right to draw from a stream of income Read more
A monthly publication of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyers Association. Read more
The California Public Records Act exempts from disclosure “[r]ecords of state agencies related to activities governed by [the Ralph C. Dills Act granting collective bargaining rights to state employees] that reveal a state agency’s deliberative processes, impressions, evaluations, opinions, recommendations, meeting minutes, research, work products, theories, or strategy.” (§ 6254, subd. (p)(1).) Under its plain language and applying the canon of ejusdem generis, the exemption is not limited to documents that reveal an agency’s deliberative processes. The California Department of Human Resources was not required to search the State Controller’s database for CPRA-responsive records because Read more
For more federal courts content, please see the Quarterly Federal Courts Committee Newsletter. This quarter’s newsletter includes an interview with the Hon. Michael R. Wilner, a Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of California and an interview with Mack Jenkins, Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. Read more
Code of Civil Procedure sections 1281.97 and 1281.98 provide that if a company or business that drafts an arbitration agreement does not pay its share of required arbitration fees or costs within 30 days after they are due, the company or business is in “material breach” of the arbitration agreement, and an employee or consumer can, among other things, withdraw his or her claim from arbitration and proceed in court. The trial court correctly allowed De Leon’s claims to proceed in court when Juanita’s Foods was late paying arbitration fees because the statutory 30-day deadline is a bright-line rule that does not give the trial court discretion to consider additional factors such as delay or prejudice. Read more
The voluntary dismissal of a joinder complaint does not divest the trial court of jurisdiction to award sanctions under Family Code section 271. Although most orders entered after dismissal are void and have no effect, an exception to this rule includes motions related to attorney fees and sanctions. Applying this rule in this manner is consistent with section 271, which is designed to punish parties who have unreasonably increased the cost of litigation. Read more
This was a challenge of the denial of a pendente lite fee order under Family Code section 2030. Though the appellant made a pendente lite fee request, the trial court did not rule on the issue of attorney fees until the conclusion of the trial. The appellate court concluded that the trial court violated Family Code section 2030 by not ruling on the appellant’s attorney fee request, as the statute requires a reasonably prompt ruling on such a request. The failure was prejudicial because the self-represented appellant failed to have a grant deed that would have established a transmutation in her favor admitted during the trial. The appellate court further concluded that, if the appellant was represented by counsel Read more
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the “Court”), reversing the district court, recently ruled that a debtor who had discharged a mortgage loan had standing to assert a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA or “the Act”) against a servicer who continued to report the discharged debt as past due, causing an artificially low credit score. Read more
The United States District Court for the District of Delaware has dismissed the post-foreclosure complaint of a secured lender on “D&O claims” allegedly acquired from a corporate borrower in a UCC foreclosure Read more

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