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Upcoming Events
Save the Date
Court News
Recent Cases


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

Jana G. Garrotto
Lewitt Hackman

Stefanie S. Cutler
Ruttenberg Cutler Broomer, LLP

Jessica G. Gordon

Julie Birkel
Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee Officers:

Debbie Keesey, Chair
Susan Barlevav Devermont, Vice-Chair
Sarah Broomer, Secretary & Treasurer
Jana G. Garrotto, Immediate Past Chair


Upcoming Events

Limited CAC Training

Date: August 21

Location: Webinar

This is a required program for all prospective and currently acting Court Appointed Counsel in the Los Angeles Probate Court who wish to help in limited conservatorships.  

This promises to be a lively seminar, providing a solid foundation for new CACs and some interesting topics for the more seasoned counselors.  
This program will include:

a)  P.C. 2351.5 Powers/The Philosophy and Nuts and Bolts of Limited Conservatorships
b)  CAC Reports and Judicial Insights
c)  Bet Tzedek’s Role in Limited Conservatorships
d)  The Cultural Diversity of Limited Conservatorships
Steven Beltran, Esq.
Yolande Erickson, Esq.
Marissa Garcia, Esq.
Bertha Sanchez Hayden, Esq.
Rebecca Loo, Esq.
Matthew Riley, Esq.
Hon. Jonathan Rosenbloom
Gavin Wasserman, Esq.

3.5 total CLE credits
2.5 (Trusts and Estates Specialization)
1.0 (Recognition and Elimination of Bias)

Registration: More information to be announced.

Save the Date

September Symposium, Part I

Date: September 13

Location: Webinar

Registration: More information to be announced.


September Symposium, Part II

Date: September 20

Location: Webinar

Registration: More information to be announced.


Breslin Notice: Consequences for the Non-Participant Beneficiary

Date: September 29, 12:30 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Speakers: Hon. Glen M. Reiser (Ret.) JAMS and Mark Lester, Esq.
Moderator: Susan Barlevav Devermont Esq.

Registration: More information to be announced.


Aviva K. Bobb Advanced CAC Training

Date: October 2

Location: Webinar

Registration: More information to be announced.


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


Court News

See below for changes to the Probate Division Courtroom Calendar effective January 2, 2022:

Due to the General Order of the Presiding Judge (2021-GEN-023-00) which in part rescinds social distancing requirements in the courthouse, the Probate Division will amend the courtroom calendar sessions for Probate matters.

Effective January 2, 2022, the Probate Clerk’s Office will schedule hearings at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m.. The 8:30 a.m. calendar session will continue to be used for scheduling initial petitions and OSC’s, Guardianship Petitions will be scheduled at 10:30 AM, and Conservatorship Petitions will be scheduled at 11:00 AM.

Courtrooms will also have sessions available at 9:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m.  The 9:30 a.m. calendar will be available to judicial officers as a calendaring tool for matters which are contested, take more time to resolve, and for motions.  Afternoon sessions will be reserved for evidentiary hearings, including trials. Judicial Officers will continue to have discretion to add settings to their department calendars as needed to maximize case management and overall efficiency in the courtrooms.

While these changes do not take effect until January 2022, Petitions filed with the Clerk’s Office in the coming months assigned a hearing date after January 2 will adhere to this scheduling criteria. This information is intended to provide advance information of the upcoming change planned at this time. Please note that given the unprecedented pandemic that we are experiencing, this information is subject to change based on unforeseen circumstances. The Probate Division will remain compliant with any further General Orders issued by the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of CA, County of Los Angeles that may cause further adjustment to probate calendars.

While the calendar sessions will be changing, modifications made to the ex parte procedure at the start of the pandemic will remain in place.  Specifically, the Court will continue to resolve noticed ex parte applications without the attendance of counsel or litigants at Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Rulings will continue to be made based solely upon timely filings, pursuant to the adopted Local Rules for filing of ex parte applications.

Recent Cases

Civil Procedure

Invoices are admissible to support a plaintiff’s testimony that certain amounts were paid and provide a prima facie showing that the amounts were reasonable. Judicial notice of attorney-prepared documents in a court file is an available means to provide some evidence of the legal work that was performed.

Mai v. HKT Cal - filed July 12, 2021, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 3039
Full text click here >

A trial court may not grant deposition time in excess of the 14-hour cap set forth in Code of Civil Procedure §2025.295(b)(2).

Cahill Construction v. Superior Court (Richards) - filed July 19, 2021, First District, Div. Five
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4040
Full text click here >

Litigation is not under serious consideration—and thereby protected activity under the anti-SLAPP statute—if the ligation is merely a possibility.

People ex rel. Allstate Insurance v. Rubin - filed June 28, 2021, publication ordered July 12, 2021, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 3048
Full text click here >

When a litigant asked the jury for $200,000 on his claim, and the jury awarded only $6,450, the trial judge has discretion to decide the victory is pyrrhic and nobody won.

Harris v. Rojas - filed July 20, 2021, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4044
Full text click here >

Code of Civil Procedure §1288.2’s deadline on a response to a petition to confirm an arbitration award when the response requests that the award be vacated is jurisdictional.

Law Finance Group v. Key - filed July 30, 2021, Second District, Div. Two
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4286
Full text click here >

A motion for an order to show cause re contempt does not form a basis for a malicious prosecution action.

Kim v. R Consulting & Sales - filed July 30, 2021, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4291
Full text click here >

A party who seeks a continuance under Code of Civil Procedure §437c(h) must show why the discovery necessary to oppose the motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication could not have been completed sooner, and accordingly requires the court to grant the continuance.

Braganza v. Albertson’s - filed July 29, 2021, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4299
Full text click here >


A duty to disclose may arise from a confidential relationship; it is the duty of one in whom the confidence is reposed to make a full disclosure of all material facts within his knowledge relating to the transaction in question and any concealment of a material fact is a fraud; a confidential relationship can exist even though there is no fiduciary relationship. A promise to do something necessarily implies an intention to perform; hence, when a promise is made without such an intention, it is fraud. Code of Civil Procedure §657 empowers the trial court to grant a new trial only when after independently evaluating the evidence the court concludes the jury’s verdict is clearly wrong; the court cannot grant a new trial simply because it would have found differently than the jury. There is nothing about statutory penalties that indicates a 0.75-to-one ratio of punitive to compensatory damages is excessive.

Huy Fong Foods v. Underwood Ranches - filed July 27, 2021, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4164
Full text click here >

Family Law

A person seeking to become a third parent must not only show that it would be detrimental to the child to have only two parents, the putative third parent must meet the preliminary hurdle of establishing that he qualifies as a presumed parent.

M.M. v. D.V. - filed July 19, 2021, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4025
Full text click here >

Professional Responsibility

It is improper for counsel to assert or imply facts not in evidence that counsel knows could be refuted by evidence the court has excluded; it is also improper to argue facts not in the record, and to continue to argue those facts after the court has instructed counsel to stop; either of these improper arguments might have been sufficiently prejudicial to warrant a new trial, and cumulatively they were prejudicial where it was reasonably probable that the improper arguments unfairly influenced the jury’s evaluation of the evidence.

Jackson v. Park - filed July 27, 2021, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4194
Full text click here

Real Property

In a quiet title action the plaintiff is not entitled to entry of judgment as a matter of course, but must affirmatively prove its case in an evidentiary hearing at which the trial court must hear all the evidence offered concerning title, including evidence that may be presented at the hearing by a defaulting defendant; a defaulting defendant in a quiet title action is not barred from participating in the evidentiary hearing but may appear at said hearing and present evidence relating to title. The mandatory relief provision of Code of Civil Procedure §473 is unambiguous, and it plainly requires that attorney fault be the cause-in-fact of the default (i.e., the failure to respond), and not merely of the ensuing judgment.

Bailey v. Citibank - filed July 6, 2021, Fifth District
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 2978
Full text click here >

In a partition action, a judgment creditor who was deemed the priority lien holder loses that status if it does not renew its judgment.

Starcevic v. Pentech Financial Services (Roski) - filed July 7, 2021, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 2988
Full text click here >

In a Code of Civil Procedure §1161a unlawful detainer action, the court must determine whether the purchaser duly perfected title, but his is a limited inquiry focusing on how the trustee’s sale is conducted; issues of title outside this narrow scope need not be raised and are not precluded in subsequent lawsuits.

Struiksma v. Ocwen Loan Serving - filed July 14, 2021, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 3085
Full text click here >

A trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the plaintiffs to a suit were the prevailing party under Civil Code §5975(c) where the plaintiffs’ main objective in filing suit was to require a homeowners’ association to comply with recorded covenants, conditions, and restrictions of their planned community and was successful in obtaining that result, even though the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their action.

Champir v. Fairbanks Ranch Association - filed June 22, 2021, publication ordered July 15, 2021, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 3089
Full text click here >

The rights reserved by the descendants of the grantors of a deed operate as easements on the property. A reservation of the right to use the surface of a property for cultivation and pasturage purposes allowed for the planting of grass and ornamental landscaping. A reservation of the right to construct, maintain, use, repair, replace, and renew, roads and streets over and across the property unambiguously allowed for the construction of roads and streets, but not use of the property as a parking lot; a parking lot is not necessary to the enjoyment of a road.

Pear v. City and County of San Francisco - filed July 28, 2021, Sixth District
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 4273
Full text click here >


A plaintiff did not assert a viable common law invasion of privacy claim based on a neighbor’s placement of cameras on the neighbor’s property to document the impact of parties that the plaintiff would throw, where only a small portion of the plaintiff’s backyard could be seen in the video footage, the plaintiff and party guests could barely be seen, and the content of their conversations could not be discerned.

Mezger v. Bick - filed July 1, 2021, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 2906
Full text click here >


A public guardian’s petition asserting that 43 hours were spent on visits, without specifying with whom the visits were, or the purpose of the visits, 30 hours on court matters and 1 hour of court time was sufficient to support a finding that the services were reasonable. The court improperly delegated to the public guardian discretion to defer collection if necessary to avoid imposing a hardship on the conservatee.

Public Guardian of Contra Costa County v. A.B. - filed July 7, 2021, First District, Div. Four
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 3027
Full text click here >


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