California Case Summaries: November 5, 2018 to November 16, 2018


California Case Summaries™:
Below are my three new California civil cases published during the last two weeks. You should also know there were 12 additional published cases during this period! I’ll bring you three new free civil case summaries in two weeks.

My online publication California Case Summaries™ is the fast affordable way for California lawyers and judges to keep up with new case law. I offer biweekly, quarterly and annual subscription options that provide short, organized summaries of every new civil and family law case published by California courts. The quarterly and annual issues also include the official case citations. Each subscription option includes both single-attorney and multi-user law firm/superior court options. For more information about these products or to subscribe, click here.  

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Please contact me at ADR Services when you need an experienced and capable mediator, arbitrator or referee who knows the law. To schedule a matter with me, please contact my case manager at ADR Services, Christopher Schuster, phone (619) 233-1323, email

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Best regards,
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.
Mediator, Arbitrator and Referee at ADR Services, Inc.
Publisher of California Case Summaries™



Attorney Fees

Copenbarger v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism, Inc. (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 5921229: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment, following a bench trial, ruling that defendant had breached a settlement agreement and awarding plaintiff (as Trustee of the Hazel I. Maag Trust (the Maag Trust)) attorney fees of $118,000. The Court of Appeal ruled that the detriment caused by defendant’s breach of the settlement agreement would include the attorney fees incurred by the Maag Trust in defending the unlawful detainer action when defendant did not promptly dismiss that action. However, the Maag Trust failed to prove any damages. At trial, the Maag Trust did not attempt to authenticate as business records its attorney invoices and admit them into evidence. Nor did it present testimony from its attorneys, or anyone else, of billing rates and the work performed in the unlawful detainer action. The Maag Trust offered only the testimony of Lloyd Copenbarger, whose testimony about the invoices was hearsay and violated the secondary evidence rule, and who testified he did not know what the Maag Trust’s attorneys did in the unlawful detainer action. This evidence was insufficient to support the judgment and the case was reversed with directions to enter judgment in favor of defendant plaintiff’s complaint. (C.A. 4th, filed October 19, 2018, published November 13, 2018.)

Civil Code

Kohler Co. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 5961741: The Court of Appeal granted a petition for writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate its order denying plaintiff’s anti-class certification motion and to issue a new and different order granting the motion. The Court of Appeal ruled that class actions are not allowed under the Right to Repair Act (the Act; Civil Code, sections 895 et seq.) except in one limited context: to assert claims that address solely the incorporation into a residence of a defective component, unless that component is a product that is completely manufactured offsite. Because the claim in this case involved allegedly defective products that were completely manufactured offsite, the claim alleged under the Act could not be litigated as a class action. (C.A. 2nd, November 14, 2018.)

Civil Procedure

Huerta v. Kava Holdings, Inc. (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 5961895: The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment for defendant in an action alleging several violations of Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA; Government Code, section 12900 et seq.), but it reversed the trial court’s post judgment order awarding defendant $50,000 in costs and expert witness fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 998. The trial court properly granted defendant’s motion for nonsuit as to plaintiff’s claim for retaliation under FEHA, and properly allowed the jury to decide plaintiff’s FEHA causes of action for harassment based on a hostile work environment, discrimination, and failure to prevent harassment and/or discrimination. The jury returned a verdict in defendant’s favor. Postjudgment, the trial court properly found that plaintiff’s action was not frivolous and denied defendant’s request for attorney fees, expert fees and costs under Government Code section 12965(b). For litigation that predates the application of the amended version of section 12965(b) (effective on January 1, 2019), the Court of Appeal ruled that section 998 does not apply to nonfrivolous FEHA actions and therefore reversed the order awarding defendant costs and expert witness fees under section 998. (C.A.2nd, November 14, 2018.)
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