Legal Malpractice Law Review

Legal Malpractice Law Review

Research, resources & expertise in the law governing lawyers

Category Archives: California

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CA: Actual value of the claim, not the possible value of the claim.

Posted in California, Damages
Loube v. Loube, 64 Cal. App. 4th 421, 74 Cal. Rptr. 2d 906 (1998) CA: Partnership Law Student Contributor: Louis Dell Facts: Plaintiff’s hired law firm to bring an action against general partners in a real estate partnership. The plaintiff’s received a default judgment against the general partners exceeding $500,000. The partners filed a motion… Continue Reading

CA: Statute of Limitations tolled until client discovers or should discover cause of action for attorney malpractice

Posted in California, Discovery Rule
Neel v. Magana, Olney, Levy, Cathcart & Gelfand, 6 Cal. 3d 176, 491 P.2d 421 (1971) CA: Tort Law Student Contributor: Louis Dell Facts: Plaintiffs hired an attorney to represent their wrongful death action against San Bernardino County. The attorney, without informing the plaintiffs, associated as counsel another law firm. Neither the original or new… Continue Reading

CA: Sometimes, You Take What You Can Get

Posted in California, Fiduciary Duty, Litigation
Robins v. Kuhn, 2011 WL 2001852 (Ca. App. 2011) CA: Fiduciary Duty Student Contributor: Mordechai Buls Facts: Plaintiff and his two brothers sued a theater owner for wrongful death relating to their father’s fall at the theater.  Plaintiff’s brothers settled with the theater, but Plaintiff continued the suit substituting new counsel for mandatory settlement conferences and… Continue Reading

CA:SLAPP: In House Lawyer Liability to Employer

Posted in California, Corporate Law, Insurance, Litigation
Fremont Reorganizing Corp. v. Faigin, 198 Cal. App. 4th 1153 (2011) CA: Attorney client relationship Student Contributor: Mordechai Buls Facts: Plaintiff, a former in-house attorney, sued Defendant for wrongful termination. Defendant filed a cross-complaint alleging breach of confidence, fiduciary duty, and ethical obligations, and claimed that after Plaintiff was discharged, he informed the California Insurance Commissioner… Continue Reading

CA: No Judicial Estoppel Without Court’s Reliance on Prior Representation

Posted in California, Intellectual Property
E-Pass Technologies, Inc. v. Moses & Singer, LLP, 189 Cal. App. 4th 1140 (2010), review denied (Feb. 23, 2011) CA: Judicial Estoppel Student Contributor: Mordechai Buls Facts: Plaintiff sued Defendant for malpractice after having lost a number of patent-infringement lawsuits in which it was subject to substantial attorney-fee awards. Plaintiff initially filed its malpractice suit in… Continue Reading

CA: Supreme Court Chooses Loyalty Over Freedom of Speech

Posted in California, Fiduciary Duty
Oasis West Realty, LLC v. Kenneth A. Goldman, Supreme Court of California, May 16, 2011 Facts: Goldman, and his law firm Reed Smith, represented Plaintiff Oasis in a redevelopment plan involving a nine-acre parcel in Beverly Hills on which Oasis was to build a hotel and luxury condominiums. After two and one-half years, Defendants ended… Continue Reading

CA: Duty to Invoke Arb Clause, or Risk Waiver

Posted in California
Augusta v. Keehn & Assoc., 193 Cal.App.4th 331 (March 4, 2011).  Facts: August sued his former attorney, Keehn, for legal malpractice in December, 2008. The parties’ contract included a provision for binding arbitration, but Augusta did not invoke it until six-seven months after the filing of his Complaint.  Issue: Did Augusta waive his right to… Continue Reading

CA: Interpreting the Continuous Representation Doctrine

Posted in California
Laclette v. Galindo, 184 Cal. App. 4th 919 (2010). Facts: The trial court retained jurisdiction after the underlying matter was settled to monitor compliance with the settlement agreement. During this time Galindo remained counsel of record for Laclette, but Galindo was never called upon to perform any services for Laclette. In a subsequent malpractice suit,… Continue Reading

CA: “Anti-SLAPP” Statute No Defense in Legal Malpractice Actions

Posted in California, Defenses
Masten v. MIller, King & James, LLP, California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, January 21, 2011 Facts: Plaintiff sued Defendant attorneys for malpractice in connection with an underlying medical malpractice matter.  Defendants, in turn, filed a crossclaim against Plaintiff for alleged negligence and intentional misrepresentation during the course of the underlying action which led to… Continue Reading

CA: Statute of Limitations for Legal Malpractice Tolled in Attorney’s Absence

Posted in California, Statute of Limitations
Jocer Enterprises, Inc. v. Ernest Price at al., Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Four, 183 Cal. App. 4th 559 (April 5, 2010). Facts:  Allegedly, the defendant attorney provided negligent legal representation in trade secret and malicious prosecution actions and plaintiffs suffered damages as a result.  The defendant attorney was absent from California… Continue Reading

CA: Duties to Third-Parties

Posted in California, Privity
Wechter v. Schroeder, Comis, Nelson & Kahn, LLP, Court of Appeals of California, Second Circuit, May 3, 2010 (Unpublished). Facts:  Decedent died shortly before the division of marital property and entry of the final judgment of divorce.  His surviving spouse then asserted claims to his share of the marital estate.  Plaintiffs, the surviving children and heirs of… Continue Reading

CA: Public Interest Firms Not Immune From Suit

Posted in California, Criminal Law, Defenses
Black v. California Appellate Project, Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Four, June 4, 2010 (Unpublished). Facts: Plaintiff was convicted of first degree burglary, and based on his prior criminal history, was sentenced to 38 years to life.  Plaintiff appealed and the appellate court affirmed his conviction.  Shortly thereafter, Black filed an action for… Continue Reading

CA: Malpractice Action Stayed Pending Postconviction Relief

Posted in California, Criminal Law, Statute of Limitations
Black v. White, Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Four, April 27, 2010 Facts:  Plaintiff filed this malpractice action against his criminal attorney after his conviction for first degree burglary was affirmed.  The trial court sustained the attorney’s demurrer to Plaintiff’s complaint on the basis that actual innocence is a prerequisite to filing… Continue Reading

Breach of Fiduciary Duty: The Enduring Duty

Posted in California, Conflicts of Interest, Wills Trusts & Estates
Robert A. Borissoff v. Taylor & Faust et al., 33 Cal. 4th 523 (Cal. 2004) CA Underlying probate matters Student Contributor: Evan Michael Hess Facts: A special administrator in probate court retained the Defendants Taylor and Faust to provide assistance in tax matters relating to the execution of a will. Without authorization, the administrator borrowed approximately… Continue Reading

But For: Same in Transactional and Litigation Malpractice

Posted in But for-Proximate Cause, California, Case Within a Case, Commercial
Michael Viner et al. v. Charles A. Sweet et al. 30 Cal. 4th 1232 (Cal. 2003) CA Underlying corporate transaction Student Contributor: Evan Michael Hess Facts: Plaintiffs retained Defendant and his law firm for a corporate transaction. After negotiating an employment termination agreement, the Plaintiffs brought a legal malpractice suit alleging seven claims, encompassing and array… Continue Reading

Departing Lawyers and a Law Firm’s Continuing Liability

Posted in California, Commercial
Beal Bank, SSB v. Arter & Hadden, LLP, 42 Cal. 4th 503 (Cal. 2007) CA.  Underlying collection practice Student Contributor: Evan Michael Hess Facts: Plaintiff, Beal Bank, retained Defendant law firm to collect payments on loans by debtors. The Defendant assigned associate Steven Gubner to represent Beal Bank in bankruptcy proceedings. Gubner filed a motion for… Continue Reading

Legal Research and Due Diligence: Hand in Hand in Divorce Cases

Posted in California, Duties: Investigate, Family Law, Standard of Care
Rosemary E. Smith v. Jerome R. Lewis,  12 Cal. 3d 349 (Cal. 1975) CA Underlying divorce action Student Contributor: Evan Michael Hess Facts:  Defendant attorney was retained to represent Plaintiff in a divorce proceeding. The Plaintiff brought the malpractice action asserting Defendant negligently failed to assert Plaintiffs community interest in the retirement benefits of her husband.… Continue Reading