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Upcoming Events
Save the Date
Court News
Did You Know?
Recent Cases


The Trusts and Estates eBulletin
is published monthly by the Trusts and Estates Section, coeditors:

Jana Gordon Garrotto
Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin LLP

Stefanie S. Cutler
Ruttenberg Cutler, LLP

Roseann DeRosa

Jessica G. Gordon
Thompson Coburn LLP

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee Officers:

Julia L. Birkel, Chair
Marc L. Sallus, Esq, Vice-Chair
Stefanie S. Cutler, Secretary & Treasurer
Matthew W. McMurtrey, Immediate Past Chair


Upcoming Events
Trusts & Estates Probate Department Reception

Date: May 9, 2018
Program: 5:30 p.m. -8:00 pm
Location: Omni Los Angeles Hotel, Los Angeles

Program Description: The Trusts and Estates Section cordially invites you to our annual Los Angeles Court Probate Department reception. There will be a cash bar and complimentary hors d'oeuvres for all guests. There is no registration fee for Trusts & Estates Section members, County Counsel and judges.

Click here for more information and to register


Part II: LPS Conservatorships & the Mental Health Court

Date: May 30, 2018
Program: 12:15 p.m.-1:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles

Program Description: Learn more about the LPS Conservatorship process and the nuances of the Mental Health Court. Note: This program is a continuation of a previous program held 02/06/18, but members are welcome to attend as a stand-alone program.

Click here for more information and to register

We'd like to thank The Sanborn Team for their sponsorship of our events.


Save the Date
A View from the Bench

Date: June 7, 2018
Program: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
Location: Omni Hotel
More information to come.

Mandatory Fundamental PVP Training

Date: June 23, 2018
Program: 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Location: Torrance Marriott
More information to come.

Court News

LASC New Probate Department Line-up

Click here for the LASC new Probate Department Line-up effective April 23, 2018.

Accommodations for Attorneys

While the Los Angeles Superior Court is not under a legal obligation to provide an accommodation at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse for attorneys to breastfeed or use a breast pump in a private setting, Judge Cowan has graciously agreed that the jury room in Dept. 3 may be used for this purpose upon request. Attorneys should contact the Dept. 3 judicial assistant in advance to confirm that the jury room is available for such use.

More Mosk Courthouse News

Department 3, the new trial and MSC courtroom, will be available to all other probate judges who wish to refer a matter to Department 3 for a trial or MSC. Once a matter is ready for trial, if an assignment is requested by the regular calendaring judge, it will be referred to Department 3 for a trial setting conference to schedule the trial. After the issue or issues are decided by an MSC or a hearing in Department 3, the matter will be returned to the original department for any further proceedings. Department 3 will be available for full day(s) of trial and has a jury box so that those matters which allow a jury can be tried there.

As noted in the new assignments table, Commissioner Penny will preside in Department 4 and will take over the cases currently assigned to Department 57. The matters currently assigned to Department 99, Commissioner Penny's former department, will remain there.

For back up when a judge is unavailable to handle his/her own calendar and ex partes, rather than having a roaming coverage judge, there will be a "buddy system" so that departments will be paired up for this purpose. The pairings are as follows: 3 & 4; 5 & 29; 9 & 11; 67 & 79; 99 & 2D.

The Probate Division has begun the process of hiring two new probate attorneys and two new probate examiners. With the additional courtrooms and probate staffing, the court expects to be able to reduce delays in the resolution of probate matters and devote more attention to case management. The cooperation of counsel in timely reviewing probate notes and avoiding unnecessary continuances is also an essential part of prompt resolution of pending matters.

In Elder Abuse matters, when restraining orders are requested and the elder or dependent is the subject of a conservatorship case, the hearing on a "permanent" request will be held in the Probate Division for those petitions filed at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Central LA.

Cases involving the Public Guardian and the Public Administrator will still be heard on Fridays but they will now be heard in all the probate departments, not just Department 5.

Did You Know?
Did you know...

that you can see photos from our March 16 event here.


Recent Cases

A dissolved law firm retains no property interest in legal matters handled on an hourly basis that are in progress--but not completed--at the time of dissolution. The firm has no more than an expectation that it may continue to work on such matters, and that expectation may be dashed at any time by a client's choice to remove its business. To the extent the law firm has a claim, its claim is limited to the work necessary for preserving legal matters so they can be transferred to new counsel of the client's choice, effectuating such a transfer, or collecting on work done pretransfer.

Heller Ehrman LLP v. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP - filed March 5, 2018
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 1071
Full text click here>

Civil Procedure

As the state agency responsible for Medicaid and Medi-Cal, the Department of Health Care Services has an obligation to be knowledgeable about the law it is charged with implementing. The DHCS acted without substantial justification in denying a Medi-Cal provider's application for approval of his relocated office as an "established place of business" when its conduct was in direct contravention of settled federal law, and the provider was therefore entitled to an award of attorney fees under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 1028.5.

Al-Shaikh v. State Department of Health Care Services - filed March 27, 2018, First District, Div. One
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 1468
Full text click here >

A defendant's statutory offer to compromise for payment of a "total sum" that was "exclusive of reasonable costs and attorney fees, if any" unambiguously provided that the settlement amount did not include attorney fees and costs.

Timed Out LLC v. 13359 Corporation - filed Feb. 27, 2018, publication ordered March 27, 2018, Second District, Div. One
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 1474
Full text click here >

The three-year statute of limitations for the conversion of personal property is triggered by the wrongful taking of the property. The time for a party to file a quiet title action for a car did not begin to run until it was impounded by the police.

Eleanor Licensing LLC v. Classic Recreations LLC - filed March 21, 2018, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 1358
Full text click here >

Family Law

Federal law completely pre-empts the states from treating waived military retirement pay as divisible community property. A military spouse's waiver of retirement pay can properly trigger a modification of the civilian spouse's support and a military spouse's disability benefits can be taken into account in awarding support to the civilian spouse. A state court cannot treat a military spouse's combat-related special compensation as community property, but a spousal support order would be enforceable against that compensation.

In re Marriage of Cassinelli - filed March 2, 2018, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 1118
Full text click here >

Welfare and Institutions Code Sec. 361.5(a)(1)(C) allows a juvenile court to limit a parent's services to six months for all minors removed from that parent's custody when one member of the sibling group was three years of age or under at the time of removal, but if the only minor who was under the age of three at the time of removal was placed in a separate foster home from his older siblings, then the juvenile court cannot apply Sec. 361.5(a)(1)(C) to terminate a parent's services as to the older siblings after only six months.

W.P. v. Superior Court (San Bernardino County Children and Family Services) - filed Feb. 6, 2018, publication ordered March 2, 2018, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 1067
Full text click here >

Substantial evidence did not support a finding that a mother was provided reasonable reunification services where the mother was waitlisted for a significant time on critical components of her case plan--individual therapy, in-home counseling, and parenting education--and was provided no assistance with in-home support services, anger management or housing.

T.J. v. Superior Court (San Francisco Human Services Agency) - filed March 29, 2018, First District, Div. Four
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 1566
Full text click here >

A trial judge erred in providing the jury with instructions regarding the possible consequences if a conservatorship were established for a mentally-ill individual but the error was harmless where counsel for both parties emphasized the correct issue for the jurors to address and the evidence overwhelmingly supported the jury's verdict.

Conservatorship of the Person and Estate of P.D. - filed March 29, 2018, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 1577
Full text click here >

Real Property

Once a tenant validly exercised the purchase option in its lease agreement, the lease was terminated and a contract for purchase and sale came into existence. When litigation between the tenant and the landlord causes a delay in the performance of that contract and the landlord is ordered to sell the property to the tenant, the trial court must consider the rent that the tenant continued to pay during the pendency of the litigation in order to place the parties in the positions in which they would have been at the time the sale and purchase contract should have been performed.

Petrolink v. Lantel Enterprises - filed March 15, 2018, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 1275
Full text click here >


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