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Upcoming Events
Court News
Recent Cases


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

Jana G. Garrotto

Stefanie S. Cutler
Ruttenberg Cutler, LLP

Jessica G. Gordon
Thompson Coburn LLP

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee Officers:

Stefanie S. Cutler, Chair
Jana G. Garrotto, Vice-Chair
Deborah Keesey, Secretary & Treasurer
Marc L. Sallus, Immediate Past Chair


Upcoming Events
LACBA Trusts and Estates Lecture Series
(formerly known as ”Brown Bag”)
Impact of Anti-SLAPP Motions on Enforcement of No Contest Clause Presented by Marshal Oldman, Esq.

Date: August 12, 2019
Time: 12:15-1:15 p.m.
Location: Los Angeles Superior Court
Cost: Free

Click here for more information.

September Symposium

Date: September 13, 2019
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles

• The Honorable Daniel Juarez and Stephen M. Lowe of Freeman, Freeman & Smiley, LLP
How to Account for the Rights of Contingent Remainder Beneficiaries in the Event of Incapacity, featuring a discussion on the following cases: Evangelho, Giraldin, and Drake.

• Allan Cutrow and Andrew Spitser of Mitchel, Silberberg, & Knupp, LLP
Ethical issues surrounding attorneys’ representing trustees who actively participate with the trustee in committing breaches of fiduciary duty to the detriment of a trust, focusing on the Wolf v. Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp case.

• Elizabeth Glasgow of McDermott Will & Emery, LLP and Anna Soliman, Managing Director and Trust Counsel at Fiduciary Trust Company
Providing an in-depth discussion on the new Probate Code Decanting laws.

Click here for more information


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


Court News

Court announces New Process and Forms for Probate Referee Appointment in Probate and Mental Health Cases

Click here for more information

Mental Health Division Implements New Case Management System

Click here for more information

The Los Angeles Superior Court Presents the 2019 Judicial Diversity Summit for Attorneys Interested in Applying to the State Court Bench

Click here for more information

Recent Cases
Contract Law

The existence of mutual consent is determined by objective rather than subjective criteria, the test being what the outward manifestations of consent would lead a reasonable person to believe; when parties intend that an agreement be binding, the fact that a more formal agreement must be prepared and executed does not alter the validity of the agreement. A settlement agreement is unenforceable if the parties fail to agree on a material term or if a material term is not reasonably certain. Sanctions are warranted when a party’s arguments are not supported by a careful reading of the record or the law nor could these arguments be reasonably characterized as presenting unique issues or arguing for extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.

J.B.B. Investment Partners v. Fair - filed July 2, 2019, First District, Div. Two
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3172
Full text click here>

Civil Procedure

A new attorney’s filing of a declaration notifying the court of a change in counsel does not constitute a presentation of a complaint for purposes of Code of Civil Procedure §128.7; a sanctions order cannot be supported solely by evidence of conduct occurring after the motion is served, because a motion for sanctions under §128.7 must describe the specific conduct taken by the party to be sanctioned and allow a safe harbor period to withdraw or appropriately correct the sanctionable conduct.

Primo Hospitality Group, Inc. v. Haney - filed July 5, 2019, Second District, Div. Five
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3238
Full text click here >

When a court grants a partial new trial, the new trial order has the effect of vacating the entire judgment; when a defendant has been granted a new trial on the issue of punitive damages, there is no longer a final judgment to enforce, and the part of the judgment awarding compensatory damages is therefore not enforceable.

Newstart Real Estate Investment LLC v. Huang - filed July 3, 2019, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3243
Full text click here >

Counsel’s signature approving an agreement as to form and content for his clients’ signature does not preclude a finding that he also intended to be bound by the agreement as a matter of law.

Monster Energy Company v. Schechter - filed July 11, 2019 
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3287 
Full text click here >

A defendant’s right to a mandatory dismissal for lack of prosecution prevails over a plaintiff’s right to a voluntary dismissal.

Cole v. Hammond - filed July 24, 2019, Second District, Div. Four
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3569
Full text click here >

Contract Law

While a person who is authorized to act as the patient’s agent can bind the patient to an arbitration agreement, the existence of an agency relationship is a factual question for the trier of fact; the fact that a person believed he had authority to sign an agreement as the agent of another is not enough to establish an agency relationship; agency cannot be implied from a marriage relationship alone.

Valentine v. Plum Healthcare Group, LLC - filed July 2, 2019, publication ordered July 25, 2019, Third District
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3599
Full text click here >

Family Law

A juvenile court has authority to order visitation for a non-parent even though there are no statutes that directly authorize such an order; such an order falls within the scope of Welfare and Institutions Code §362(a).

In re J.P. - filed July 26, 2019, Sixth District
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3609
Full text click here >

Government Law

California Rules of Court, rule 10.613, applies to every local rule adopted by trial courts, making no distinction based on the source of authority for the rule; a local rule that prevents a family law litigant from presenting relevant evidence that a court is statutorily obligated to receive and consider is invalid. The goal of expediting dependency proceedings cannot justify a denial of an opportunity to present relevant evidence. Precluding live testimony as a sanction for violating a local rule is improper without prior notice to, and an opportunity to be heard by, the party against whom the penalty is sought to be imposed. The exclusion of all of a party’s evidence as a sanction for her attorney’s failure to file a joint pretrial statement is a disproportionate sanction.

In re Harley - filed July 15, 2019, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3388
Full text click here >

Real Property

A business owner’s goodwill for a business operated on property taken by eminent domain is compensable separate and apart from the parties’ interests in the property taken; there is also a distinction between property taken by eminent domain and the goodwill held by the operation of a business located on property taken by eminent domain. The doctrine of collateral estoppel precludes relitigation of issues argued and decided in prior proceedings, regardless of whether the parties to the current litigation were adverse in the prior action.

Thee Aguila v. Century Law Group - filed July 2, 2019, Second District, Div. One
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3229
Full text click here >


The Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act does not preclude claims brought by an irrevocable trust beneficiary—who has no control over the trustee—alleging imprudent investments by that trustee.

Banks v. Northern Trust Corporation - filed July 5, 2019
Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 17-56025
Full text click here >


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