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MCLE Test and Answer Sheet
Test No. 84: 1999 Ethics Roundup (May 2000 LA Lawyer)

Instructions for Obtaining MCLE Credits
1.Study the CLE article in this issue.

2.Answer the test questions by marking the appropriate boxes. Each question has only one answer. Photocopies of this answer sheet may be submitted; however, this form should not be enlarged or reduced.

3.Mail the answer sheet and the $15 testing fee ($20 for non-LACBA members) to:
Los Angeles Lawyer
MCLE Test
P.O. Box 55020
Los Angeles, CA 90055 
Make checks payable to Los Angeles Lawyer.

4.You can also fill in the test form and submit it directly to LACBA by clicking "Submit." To submit your test answers online you will need to pay by credit card. After submitting your answers you will be presented with a screen requesting payment information. This information will be submitted in a secure mode which will allow you to safely transmit your credit card number over the Internet. If you prefer not to pay by credit card, please print this answer sheet and submit your responses by regular mail.

5.Within six weeks, Los Angeles Lawyer will return your test with the correct answers, a rationale for the correct answers, and a certificate verifying the CLE credit you earned through this self-assessment activity.

6.For future reference, please retain the CLE test materials returned to you.
Test Sheet 
Mark your answers to the test by clicking next to your choice. Each question has only one answer. This test is worth 1 hour of credit.*

1. An attorney who requests relief from default without explaining why he or she missed hearings and did not file an opposition may be subject to substantial sanctions.
 True.  
False. 

2. A default was entered based on an attorney's mistaken representation to the court that the plaintiff had not filed an amended complaint. The attorney learns that the amended complaint had in fact been filed but refuses to stipulate to set aside the entry of default. Is the attorney subject to sanctions?
 Yes.  
No. 

3. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, an attorney seeks denial of a debtor's discharge of the attorney's past-due fees. In support of the denial of discharge, the attorney may not disclose:
A. The amount of the past-due fees.
B. The debtor's failure to disclose assets-a fact the attorney learned in confidential attorney-client communications.
C. The fact that the debtor was in arrears to the attorney at the time the debtor terminated the attorney.
D. The pleadings, which were a matter of public record in the underlying case that the attorney handled for the debtor.  

4. Attorneys who represent themselves in a sanctions hearing can recover costs but not fees.
 True.  
False. 

5. A corporation's creditor has been offered an assignment of the debtor corporation's legal malpractice action against a law firm in exchange for a discharge of its debt. The legal malpractice action is sound and the damages approximate the amount of the debt. If the creditor does not take the assignment, it is likely that it will receive just pennies on the dollar because there are few other corporate assets. Should the creditor take the assignment?
 Yes.  
No. 

6. Insurer sued Insured's Attorney to recover benefits paid to Insured under an insurance contract that required Insured to hold the funds in trust. Insured's Attorney obtained a recovery from Third Party and disbursed the recovery to Insured. What is the likely result of the suit?
A. Recovery for Insurer, since the contract created a contractual lien that obligated Attorney to hold the funds for disbursement to Insurer.
B. Recovery for Insurer, since the contract created an equitable lien that obligated Attorney to hold the funds for disbursement to Insurer.
C. Recovery for Insurer on an equitable lien theory-but only if Insurer notified Attorney of its lien before settlement was reached.
D. No recovery for Insurer, since the contract did not create either a contractual lien or an equitable lien and Attorney had no duty to Insurer absent such liens.  

7. Plaintiff received a $1 million settlement from Defendant and Defendant's Insurer. Prior Plaintiff's Attorney had a valid written lien for the reasonable value of services rendered before being discharged by Plaintiff and sent notice to Defendant's Insurer and Defense Counsel prior to settlement. At the urging of Plaintiff's Successor Counsel, Defendant's Insurer and Defense Counsel did not include Prior Plaintiff's Attorney's name on the settlement check. Against which parties may Prior Plaintiff's Attorney maintain an action for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage?
A. Plaintiff.
B. Plaintiff's Successor Counsel.
C. Defendant's Insurer and Defense Counsel.
D. All of the above.  

8. An attorney who calls the court clerk assigned to the attorney's case and arranges a status conference may be sanctioned for violating a local rule prohibiting ex parte contact with court personnel on the substance of a pending case.
 True.  
False. 

9. An attorney's assertion of a statutory privilege not to cooperate with a State Bar investigation may be used against the attorney in a subsequent regulatory or disciplinary proceeding.
 True.  
False. 

10. Plaintiff Wife sued her Attorney for legal malpractice, claiming that Attorney advised her to settle a division of marital property for less than her share was worth. In order to prevail, Wife must prove 1) that the underlying action would have resulted in a better outcome had Attorney recommended that Wife reject the settlement offer, and 2) what that better outcome would have been.
 True.  
False. 

11. In a products liability action against Big Motors Inc., summary judgment was granted against Plaintiff because he could not prove his vehicle was defective. The vehicle had been destroyed before it could be inspected. Will Plaintiff recover in a suit against Lawyer, his product liability attorney, for legal malpractice?
A. No, since the destruction of the car will prevent Plaintiff from proving that the car was a cause of his injury.
B. No, since Plaintiff will be unable to prove that the car was necessary to prove the alleged defect in the car in the underlying action.
C. Yes, if Plaintiff can prove that his car was destroyed as a result of Lawyer's negligence.
D. Yes, if Plaintiff can prove that his car was destroyed as a result of Lawyer's negligence and Lawyer cannot prove that Lawyer was not the cause of Plaintiff's loss.  

12. After Plaintiff settled his personal injury action for a "cost of defense" amount, he sued his former lawyers, alleging that they committed legal malpractice by not eliciting testimony from a neuropsychologist on Plaintiff's brain injury/cognitive impairment claim. The defendants' motion for nonsuit should be granted on the grounds that they had no duty to retain a neuropsychologist to establish Plaintiff's brain injury if three board certified neurologists-after an examination, multiple tests, diagnosis, and treatment-did not find residual physical symptoms of injuries and did not recommend that Plaintiff see a neuropsychologist.
 True.  
False. 

13. Insurer's counsel owes no duty of due care to the insured if the insured is represented by independent Cumis counsel appointed pursuant to Civil Code Section 2860.
 True.  
False. 

14. Insurance Company accepted the defense of its Insured-who was sued for defamation and trespass and two other causes of action-with a reservation of rights and appointed Independent Counsel to defend Insured. Insurance Company's Counsel, with the belief that Insured was covered for the defamation and trespass claims, negotiated a dismissal and release from liability regarding those causes of action. Did Insurance Company's Counsel have a duty to permit Insured and Independent Counsel to participate in settlement negotiations?
 Yes.  
No. 

15. Assume the same facts as Question 14. Insured has a right to prevent Insurance Company from settling the claims.
 True.  
False. 

16. Plaintiff sued ABC law firm for legal malpractice, claiming that ABC prepared an irrevocable trust for Plaintiff that exposed the trustees to personal liability for gift and estate taxes. Plaintiff and ABC entered into an oral settlement in which ABC agreed to pay $205,000 to Plaintiff. Before two ABC partners and Plaintiff signed the written settlement agreement, a favorable appellate case was published, and ABC declined to settle. Although two ABC principals signed the settlement agreement, neither Plaintiff nor the other law firm principals signed the agreement. What should Plaintiff do next?
A. Enforce the oral agreement
B. Add a cause of action for breach of an oral settlement agreement.
C. Add a cause of action for breach of the written settlement agreement.
D. All of the above  

17. As a general rule, a law firm sued for legal malpractice can file a cross complaint against the current firm representing the plaintiff for contribution and indemnity.
 True.  
False. 

18. A successor law firm sued by a client for legal malpractice may maintain an action for equitable indemnity against a prior firm if the prior firm continued to represent the client and if the prior firm was responsible for part of the loss.
 True.  
False. 

19. An attorney who receives a document that clearly appears to be confidential and privileged and was disclosed inadvertently has a duty of competence to read the entire document.
 True.  
False. 

20. An attorney receives materials that obviously appear to be subject to an attorney-client privilege, and it is reasonably apparent that the materials were made available through inadvertence. The recipient attorney should immediately notify the sender that the recipient possesses material that appears to be privileged.
 True.  
False.
 

Address and Billing: 
After submitting your answers you will be asked to enter your name, address, and payment information on the next screen. Once you have submitted the current form, you will be switched to a secure mode which will allow you to safely transmit your credit card number over the Internet.  

If you do not wish to complete this transaction over the Internet you should print this page and send it to the address listed in Step 3 of the instructions at the top of this page.  

*The Los Angeles County Bar Association has been approved as a continuing legal education provider of Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by The State Bar of California. This self-assessment activity will qualify for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by The State Bar of California in the amount of one hour.  

 

*The Los Angeles County Bar Association has been approved as a continuing legal education provider of Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by The State Bar of California. This self-assessment activity will qualify for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by The State Bar of California in the amount of one hour.

   
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