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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
Gordon Trust Law

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


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Upcoming Events

More information on Coming Events Soon

Save the Date
2022 Trusts and Estates Lecture Series
Dog and Pony Show; Legislative and Case Updates

Date: February 11, 2022, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m

Speakers: Marshal A. Oldman, Esq. and Marc L. Sallus Esq. Of Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnbaum and Coleman LLP

Description: 1.0 CLE credits. FREE for all attendees!
The presenters will give an overview of the new legislation and caselaw in the area of Trust and Estates.

Registration: More information to be announced.


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


Recent Cases
Civil Procedure

Leaving a copy of a summons and complaint with the employee of a business where the intended recipient maintained a private mailbox does not comply with the statute permitting substituted service at one’s dwelling house or usual place of abode.

Kremerman v. White - filed Oct. 15, 2021, publication ordered Nov. 8, 2021, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 6082
Full text click here >

A plaintiff made a plausible, nonfrivolous argument that the relevant statute of limitations does not bar his quiet title claim where he supported his claim that he purchased the property via grant deed without restriction, he obtained possession of the property with notice of a third-party’s latent claim to coverage rights through the recorded agreements, and the recorded documents could constitute only an inchoate threat to his superior title that did not disturb his possession.

Kumar v. Ramsey - filed Nov. 29, 2021, Third District
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 6349
Full text click here >

Constitutional Law

There is no authority that a statement by a judge to litigants in the course of litigation is an enforceable contract; even assuming a judge had assured litigants that video recordings of the trial proceedings would remain sealed in perpetuity, the litigants failed to plausibly allege a concrete and particularized injury from the unsealing of the recordings 10 years later where only one witness stated he had experienced harassment because of his involvement in the trial, there was no evidence he now fears an injury if the recordings are released, he was not a party to the dispute over the release of the recordings, there was no evidence a party was acting on his behalf, and parts of the recordings have been available to the general public for a decade.

Perry v. Hollingsworth - filed Nov. 18, 2021
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 20-16375
Full text click here>


A plaintiff is entitled to recover nominal damages for the breach of a contract, despite inability to show that actual damage was inflicted upon him; nominal damages may be properly awarded for the violation of a contractual right because failure to perform a contractual duty is, in itself, a legal wrong that is fully distinct from the actual damages.

Elation Systems v. Fenn Bridge - filed Nov. 22, 2021, First District, Div. Three
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 6300
Full text click here >


The language of Probate Code §1828(a)(6) requires a trial court to personally advise a proposed conservatee of his jury trial right when the proposed conservatee is able to and willing to attend the hearing; a failure to provide such an advisory, standing alone, does not warrant automatic reversal. Absent circumstances suggesting the proposed conservatee’s counsel lacked actual authority, counsel disregarded his client’s wishes, or that the proposed conservatee was actually unaware of his right to a trial by jury, counsel may waive on behalf of the proposed conservatee his right to have the matter of establishment or reestablishment of the conservatorship decided by jury trial. A superior court may properly find a waiver of presence and trial rights when informed by the attorney that the proposed conservatee does not want to attend the hearing to establish the conservatorship and does not oppose the conservatorship.

Conservatorship of C.O. - filed Nov. 18, 2021, Sixth District
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 6292
Full text click here >

Professional Misconduct

The allegedly deficient performance of an attorney does not expose him to liability for malpractice where the underlying suit on which he worked lacked merit and the alleged malpractice did not cause the client to lose that case.

Letgolts v. David H. Pierce & Associates - filed Nov. 2, 2021, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 6090
Full text click here >


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