California Case Summaries: September 24 to October 8, 2018

California Case Summaries™
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I provide three new free California civil case summaries twice a month. In the video above, I discuss three new California civil cases published in the last two weeks. You can read my free short, organized summaries of these three cases below. However, you should also know that California courts published 25 additional civil cases during the last two weeks! So, if you only read my free case summaries, you’ll miss a lot of new cases relevant to your practice areas.
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Monthly – California Case Summaries: Civil™
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Quarterly – California Case Summaries: Civil Update Quarterly™
The fast affordable way that California lawyers and judges are keeping current with the new published civil and family cases each quarter is by subscribing to my California Case Summaries: Civil Update Quarterly™ to get my short, organized summaries with the official case citations. There is no other product like this. The single-user version is only $99.99 per quarter. I also offer several multi-user versions that allow law firms and superior courts to purchase enough copies for every lawyer or judge. To subscribe today and get the copies you want, click here.

Subscriber Benefits
  • Get great ideas for working up your cases, arguing motions, and settling and trying your cases.
  • Get better results and better referrals to create an abundant law practice
  • One of my subscribers, whose firm had been sued by a former client, got an idea from my case summaries that led to them file a motion for summary judgment that was granted and ended the case!
CALIFORNIA CASE SUMMARIES™
 The Fast Affordable Way to Know New Case Law™

CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL

Attorney Fees

Schulz v. Jeppesen Sanderson, Inc. (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 4718836: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order awarding plaintiff attorneys only 10% attorney fees on a settlement they obtained of $18,125,000 in a wrongful death action. The contingent fee agreement provided for a fee of 40%, and the plaintiff attorneys requested a fee of 31%. The Court of Appeal ruled the trial court gave too little consideration to California Rules of Court, rule 7.955(a)(2), which required it to take into account the terms of the engagement agreement with the clients from the perspective of when the agreement was signed. In addition, the court did not acknowledge the factors listed in California Rules of Court, rule 7.955(b). Instead of balancing the relevant factors, the court gave overwhelming weight to a single concern: the expense of the plaintiff children’s extensive medical needs. The Court of Appeal agreed that a child’s needs are a relevant and important factor in determining a reasonable attorney fee, but this single factor cannot overwhelm all other considerations. Considering the difficulties in the case at the beginning, the fact that other attorneys would not take the case on a contingent fee basis, and the significant costs advanced by the lawyers, the trial court abused its discretion in awarding fees of only 10% percent. (C.A. 2nd, filed September 5, 2018, published October 2, 2018.)

Attorneys
Lofton v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 4659692: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying approximately $5.5 million of attorney fees to Initiative Legal Group, APC (ILG) and instead directing the payment of this amount to class members in Lofton v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (Lofton). The trial court properly issued this order as the result of ILG concealing from the Lofton court and its class member clients a $6 million settlement with Wells Fargo for payment of ILG’s attorney fees in violation of California Rules of Court, Rule 3.769(b). The Court of Appeal also directed that a copy of its opinion be sent to the State Bar of California. (C.A. 1st, September 28, 2018.)

Employment
Atempa v. Pedrazzani (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 4657860: The Court of Appeal modified part of the trial court’s judgment but otherwise affirmed it in a wage and hour action. Defendant Paolo Pedrazzani (Pedrazzani) was the owner, president, secretary, and director of Pama, Inc. (Pama), which did business as Via Italia Trattoria, a restaurant in Encinitas, California. Following a bench trial, the trial court entered judgment against Pama and Pedrazzani for wage and hour violations. Pama filed a bankruptcy proceeding after the entry of judgment. The trial court properly assessed civil penalties, under Labor Code sections 558(a) and 1197.1(a), individually against Pedrazzani because he qualified as a person other than the corporate employer who either violated the overtime pay and minimum wage laws or caused the statutory violations. However, because plaintiffs sought to recover the civil penalties under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA; Labor Code sections 2698 et seq.), the Court of Appeal ruled that the penalties had to be distributed 75 percent to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and 25 percent to the aggrieved employees according to section 2699(i). The trial court’s judgment was modified to do this. The Court of Appeal also affirmed the trial court’s award of attorney fees ($315,014) and costs against Pedrazzani. (C.A. 4th, September 28, 2018.)

 

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