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  Wednesday, April 10, 2019  
The following caselaw summaries are provided as a courtesy to Los Angeles County Bar Association members by the Metropolitan News-Enterprise www.metnews.com. Summaries from the past 90 days are archived and searchable on the LACBA Web site at www.lacba.org/news-and-publications/daily-ebriefs.
Criminal Law and Procedure
The ordinary rule requiring a certificate of probable cause for a defendant to appeal a negotiated sentence does not apply when the challenge is based on a retroactive change in the law. Senate Bill No. 1393's amendment to the Penal Code applies retroactively. Requiring the parties' compliance with changes in the law made retroactive to them does not violate the terms of the plea agreement, nor does the failure of a plea agreement to reference the possibility the law might change translate into an implied promise the defendant will be unaffected by a change in the statutory consequences attending his conviction.

People v. Stamps - filed April 9, 2019, First District, Div. Four
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 1719
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Employment Law
When a worker continues her employment after notification that an agreement to arbitration is a condition of continued employment, that employee has impliedly consented to the arbitration agreement. An employer can unilaterally change the terms of an at-will worker's employment agreement as long as it provides notice of the change, and the alteration does not violate a statute or breach an implied or expressed contractual agreement. An adhesive agreement to arbitrate can still be enforced in the absence of surprise or sharp practices demonstrating substantive unconscionability.

Diaz v. Sohnen Enterprises - filed April 10, 2019, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 1722
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Family Law
In evaluating whether a parent has established whether a beneficial parental relationship exists, an appellate court reviews underlying factual determinations for substantial evidence and the determination of whether the relationship provides a compelling justification for forgoing adoption is reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard. A beneficial relationship between a mother and child did not provide a compelling reason for concluding that termination of parental rights should not be pursued where the child has suffered years of trauma and instability as a direct result of the mother's entrenched and unresolved substance abuse and mental health issues and there was no evidence the mother attempted to maintain her sobriety or seek treatment to address her addiction and mental health issues in the 10 months prior to the permanency planning hearing.

In re Caden C. - filed April 9, 2019, First District, Div. Four
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 1727
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Government Law
A person seeking a writ of mandate and declaratory relief under the Brown Act for an allegedly illegal past practice of a legislative body has the burden to show not only compliance with Government Code Sec. 54960.2 (a)(1), but also the existence of a justiciable controversy. The jurisdictional requirement of an actual, non-moot controversy in the context of a request for mandamus or declaratory relief exists separate and apart from the procedural requirements of Sec. 54960.2. When there is no reasonable basis to believe that a past action will be repeated, a viable claim does not exist simply because a public entity declines to concede that the action was illegal under the Brown Act.

TransparentGov Novato v. City of Novato - filed April 10, 2019, First District, Div. One
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 1738
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A trust can be created through the transfer of property by the owner during the owner's lifetime to another person as trustee. The effectiveness of a transfer for the purposes of establishing an inter vivos trust is determined by the rules that govern the making of gifts. The transfer of personal property necessary to perfect a gift can be made by the actual delivery of the personal property at issue to the intended donee or through the use of a document of donative transfer. Since a trust document can be sufficient to effectuate the valid transfer of real property from a settlor to a trustee, despite the failure of the decedent to complete the usual formalities required to transfer title to land, a trust document can similarly effectuate the valid transfer of intangible personal property in the form of a life insurance policy from a settlor to a trustee, even absent the settlor's completion of the otherwise usual formalities associated with transferring ownership of a life insurance policy vis-à-vis a life insurance company's records.

Dudek v. Dudek - filed April 10, 2019, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 1742
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