June 2015 LACBA MCLE Test and Answer Sheet

Test No. 247: Defense Dilemma

To read the article associated with this test, please click here.

Instructions for Obtaining MCLE Credit

The Los Angeles County Bar Association certifies that this activity has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of 1 hour. To apply for credit, please follow the instructions.

1. Study the CLE article.

2. Answer the test questions by marking the appropriate boxes. Each question has only one answer.

3. Photocopies of this answer sheet may be submitted; however, this form should not be enlarged or reduced. Mail the answer sheet and the $20 testing fee ($25 for non-LACBA members) to:

Los Angeles Lawyer
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.  All questions must be answered.  Each question has only one answer. This test is worth 1 hour of credit.*

1. The doctrine of comparative indemnity was established by the California Supreme Court in American Motorcycle Association v. Superior Court.

2. The doctrine of contribution was established in California when the legislature enacted Sections 875 through 878 of the Code of Civil Procedure in 1957.

3. In Musser v. Provencher, the California Supreme Court confronted the issue of whether successor counsel can sue predecessor counsel for indemnification of legal malpractice damages.

4. Musser v. Provencher:

5. The two primary policy concerns that the Musser court analyzed to determine whether to prohibit indemnification claims between cocounsel were 1) avoiding conflicts of interest between attorney and client, and 2) protecting the confidentiality of attorney-client communications

Kroll & Tract v. Paris & Paris and Shaffery v. Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker both involve:

7. Many published appellate cases in California support a "blanket” or "bright-line” rule to preclude indemnity claims in legal malpractice actions by a predecessor attorney against a successor attorney.

8. The appellate courts in California have issued many published opinions since Musser to analyze a lawyer’s claims against other lawyers for indemnification in legal malpractice cases.

9. Forensis Group, Inc. v. Frantz Townsend & Foldenauer dealt with:

10. There is no strategic downside to a lawyer defendant adding lawyer cross-defendants for indemnity in a legal malpractice case.

11. A cause of action for implied indemnity does not accrue or come into existence until the defendant has suffered actual loss through payment.

12. A lawyer defendant’s indemnity claim against other lawyers not joined in the malpractice action is automatically time-barred if the client’s action against those other lawyers is barred by the statute of limitations.

13. A viable strategy for a lawyer defendant in a legal malpractice action is to wait for the malpractice case to conclude before suing the plaintiff’s other lawyers for indemnity.

14. Concurrent tortfeasors' claims for partial indemnity or contribution are barred if not filed in the main action brought by the plaintiff.

15. One risk of a lawyer defendant not joining cocounsel to the malpractice action on an indemnity cross-complaint is potential joint and several liability for 100 percent of the malpractice damages.

16. Proposition 51 protection against deep-pocket joint tortfeasor defendants generally does not apply in legal malpractice cases.

17. A lawyer defendant in a legal malpractice action is legally barred from pleading comparative fault defenses as to the plaintiff and cocounsel.

18. Holland v. Thacher is noteworthy because it suggests that a lawyer defendant could use a comparative fault defense to impute the negligence of the other nondefendant attorneys to the plaintiff to reduce the recovery of plaintiff based upon an agency theory.

19. A lawyer defendant who is found liable for a client's malpractice damages may file a second lawsuit for contribution or indemnity against any culpable cocounsel not joined in the original malpractice action.

20. In the 13 years since Musser, the appellate courts and legislature have done little to clarify the law governing attorney indemnification cross-complaints in legal malpractice cases.

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* 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 legal ethics credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of one hour.