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Recent Cases

These case results are specific to the facts and circumstances of the particular case. They are for informational purposes only. The do not constitute a guaranty, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your particular matter.

$245,923 Preferential Payment Claim Defended

Outcome: Matter settled for $10,000.00

Description: Assignee sought to recover $245,923 from firm’s insurance company client, alleging that prior insurance premiums payments by assignor were in fact preferential payments and therefore recoverable. Through discovery, law firm established that the payments in question were made in the usual, customary and ordinary course of business and were therefore not recoverable by assignee. The settlement amount was a sum far less than the attorney’s fees and costs our client would have incurred by continuing litigation.

$143,404 Assignment Order Against Successfully Defended

Outcome: Assignment order denied; Ruling sustained on appeal

Description: Financial institution obtained a sister-state judgment of $135,000 against the firm’s client, a beneficiary of two (2) Ohio Trusts then residing in California. The financial institution sought to assign the trusts and issuing an order restraining the beneficiary from otherwise disposing of her right to payment under the trusts.

The trial court denied the motion for an assignment order holding that what was being requested of the court is not contemplated within California Code of Civil Procedure section 708.510. The financial institution appealed the trial court’s denial of the motion. The firm also handled the appeal in behalf of the beneficiary.

On appeal, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 2, affirmed the trial court’s denial of the motion for an assignment order in a published opinion. The court agreed with the firm’s argument in opposition to the underlying motion that the trial could not grant the relief sought as the trial court did not have jurisdiction over the two (2) Ohio trusts of which the client was a beneficiary. The court found that by seeking an assignment order pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 708.510 financial institution sought to acquire the beneficiary’s rights to receive payments from the trusts. The court held that such a result was precisely what the Legislature precluded by enacting California Code of Civil Procedure section 709.010(a) which requires the court from which the enforcement order is sought to have jurisdiction over the administration of the trust subject to the enforcement Order. The trial court did not have such jurisdiction in this matter and as such properly denied the financial institutions motion.

The appellate court also rejected the financial institution’s further arguments that it was permitted to seek an order requiring the beneficiary to turn over funds the trustee had already distributed to the beneficiary, agreeing with the trial court that funds already in the possession of the beneficiary were not subject to relief sought by the financial institution, but by other methods.

As a result of the firm’s successful opposition to the motion and the successful enforcement of the judgment was permitted.

To review the entire published opinion:
FirstMerit Bank, N.A. v. Reese, 242 Cal. App. 4th 408 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2015)

$101,760 Default Judgment Set Aside; Affirmed On Appeal

Outcome: Default judgment entered against client set aside and affirmed

Description: Client came to law firm after default and default judgment had been entered against the client in the sum of $101,760. Firm moved to set aside default and defendant with the motion being supported with a declaration of attorney fault from the client’s prior counsel. The trial court granted the motion to set aside default and default judgment and returned to the matter to the civil active list. Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s granting of the motion.

The court rejected the plaintiff’s interpretation of the relief provisions contained in California Code of Civil procedure section 473(b). The court also rejected the plaintiff’s assertion that the motion to set aside the default and default judgment should have been denied based upon the attorney declaration of fault not setting forth the exact reason why defendant’s prior counsel failed to act to prevent the entry of default and default judgment.

The appellate court affirmed the ruling of the trial court in granting the motion to set aside default and default judgment, and the matter was returned to the civil active list so as to proceed on the merits of the case.

To review the entire published opinion:

$750,000 Employment/Wage Claim Defended

Outcome: Matter settled for $9,000.00

Description:: Client was sued in an action for wrongful termination, failure to pay wages, breach of oral/implied contract and other employment-related claims. The matter settled through the mediation process, with client only paying $9,000.00. This sum was considered a cost of defense settlement.

$652,260 Breach Of Promissory Note And Cross-Complaint

Outcome: Settlement of $480,000.00 and Dismissal of Cross-Complaint

Description: Client provided services to third-party. To secure payment for these services the third party executed a promissory note in favor of client. When the third party breached the promissory note, litigation was commenced. Third party filed a cross-complaint alleging business torts, including misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and intentional interference with contract. The matter was settled with a Dismissal with Prejudice of the Cross-Complaint, a Stipulation for Entry of Judgment in the sum of $480,000.00 and a Personal Guaranty with reference to the payment of the $480,000.00.

$180,000.00 Commercial Collection

Outcome: Settlement of $220,000.00

Description: Client provided services to a third party. When third party refused to pay for the services and did not respond to a demand letter complaint was filed. Immediately thereafter, an application for prejudgment writ of attachment was filed. In response to the filing of the prejudgment writ of attachment being filed the third party agreed to a settlement of not only the principal amount due, but also interest on the balance, attorney’s fees and all costs incurred by the client in the litigation.

$270,000.00 Enforcement Of Judgment

Outcome: $293,000.00 recovery and dismissal of appeal

Description: Client was seeking enforcement and recovery of a judgment in the sum of $270,000.00. Firm began enforcement by way of bank levies and sheriff keepers in the restaurants operated by judgment debtor. By way of a motion, the firm added an additional third-party judgment debtor to the judgment and began additional enforcement actions. Third-party judgment debtor filed an appeal seeking to overturn the trial court’s granting the motion to add the third party as a judgment debtor.

Firm negotiated a settlement in the sum of $150,000.00, which in addition to monies collected previously by the firm with enforcement techniques resulted in recovery for the client in the sum of $293,000.00. As part of the settlement the appeal was also dismissed.

$60,924 Electrical Fire Subrogation Complaint

Outcome: Settlement of $42,500 prior to mediation

Description: The defendant electrical contractor was hired by client’s insured to troubleshoot and repair main electrical feeders to suites located in the building owned by the client’s insured. Subsequently a fire occurred in the electrical room for the subject building, not only causing physical damage to the building, but also causing damage to the electrical feed to the building, causing economic damages to not only the building owner, but a tenant as well.

Inspection of the loss site indicated problems and code violations associated with electrical service equipment and meter panels that most likely existed prior to defendant being retained. Defendant had been called in on multiple occasions specifically to fix the arcing between the two sections of wire gutter. This could have been accomplished with equipment modifications, but was not done. As such, the defendant electrician’s modifications to the electrical service equipment were not effective at removing the root cause of the arcing. The ineffective modifications allowed a dangerous condition to persist that resulted in a fire, and damages paid by law firm’s insurance client.

This matter was settled prior to mediation.

$51,000 Elevator Equipment Subrogation Complaint

Outcome: $45,000 settlement

Description: Fire in elevator shaft destroyed an apartment building, as well as causing damage to client’s insureds located next to the apartment building. The conclusion reached by law firm’s cause and origin investigator, and our electrical engineer, is that the fire started due to the improper installation of the elevator equipment by the defendant, particularly the location of the elevator controller where the resisters are located.

The installation of the controller was at a location less than twelve inches (12”) from a bare wood wall. The National Electronic Code requires at least twelve inches (12”) of clearance, or the installation of a thermal barrier between the controller and the wood surface. Neither of these safety requirements was complied with during the installation of the subject equipment. As a result, heat from the operation of the resisters over time, and the proximity to the bare wood caused the wood to catch fire causing the resulting damages to client’s insured.

After disclosing photos taken by experts hired by law firm, as well as rules and regulations with reference to the installation of elevator equipment, defendant settled with law firm’s insurance client.