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Upcoming Events
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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
Thompson Coburn LLP

Julie Birkel
Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee Officers:

Jana G. Garrotto, Chair
Deborah Keesey, Vice-Chair
Susan Barlevav Devermont, Secretary & Treasurer
Stefanie S. Cutler, Immediate Past Chair


Upcoming Events

LACBA Trusts and Estates Section Lecture Series Webinars –
Dog and Pony Show: Legislative and Case Updates

Date: February 26, 2021, 12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Description: Dog and Pony Show; Legislation and Case Updates

Speakers: Marshal A. Oldman and Marc L. Sallus of Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg, Coleman, & Gold LLP

Registration: Click here for more information and to register

Save the Date

View from the Bench

Date: March 15, 2021, 12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m.

Location: Live Webinar

Registration: More information to be announced.

LACBA Trusts and Estates Section Lecture Series Webinars –

Date: March 22, 2021, 12:30 p.m.—1:30 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Description: Judgment Enforcement Issues for Trust and Estate Practitioners

Speaker: Adam L. Streltzer

Registration: More information to be announced.

Where's the 'Fun' in Dysfunctional Families? Interactive Case Studies

Date: April 22, 2021, 4:00 p.m.—5:30 p.m.

Location: Webinar

Description: Through three (3) interactive case studies, this panel demonstrates how Professional Fiduciaries can team up with an Aging Life Care Managertm and trusted counsel to develop solutions to tricky family situations. The team will address how best to “wow” and persuade the judge to implement their solutions. The case studies will be derived from the practices and experiences of the panel and made interactive through multiple choice questions posed using the polling features of Zoom. Come ready to interact and vote for your best solutions to some hair-raising, dysFUNctional situations!

Speakers: Hon. Mary Thornton-House (Ret.); Lauriann Wright, Esq.; Robert Earnest, CLPF; and Brenda Shorkend, ALCM

Registration: More information to be announced.


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


Recent Cases

Civil Procedure

It is not objectively reasonable for an attorney to miss a deadline to file a petition due to a failure to appreciate easily ascertainable legal principles; a party whose attorney has made such an error therefore is not entitled to equitable tolling.

Saint Francis Memorial Hospital v. State Department of Public Health - filed Jan. 13, 2021, First District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 173
Full text click here

A party must be personally served with a petition, temporary restraining order and notice of hearing in civil harassment restraining order cases; no alternative methods of service are permitted.

Searles v. Archangel - filed Jan. 22, 2021, Second District, Div. Seven Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 263
Full text click here

The dismissal of a cross-complaint can be a final adjudication of the rights of the parties to the cross-complaint even where one of those parties is still a party to the original action. A party is not barred from appealing a good faith settlement determination merely because it did not file a petition for writ of mandate under Code of Civil Procedure §877.6(e).

Atlas Construction Supply v. Swinerton Builders - filed Jan. 26, 2021, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 310
Full text click here >

A party receiving notice who fails to participate in court-ordered mediation is bound by the result.

Breslin v. Breslin - filed Jan. 26, 2021, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 315
Full text click here


The rule from Letizia v. Prudential Bache Securities remains good law; equitable estoppel precludes a party from claiming the benefits of a contract while simultaneously attempting to avoid the burdens that contract imposes.

Setty v. Shrinivas Sugandhalaya - filed Jan. 20, 2021
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 18-35573
Full text click here >

Family Law  

A stipulation that a husband and wife would be equally dividing the community property portion of the wife’s pension plan does not manifest an intent or agreement that husband would not receive a survivor benefit; the language shows an intent and agreement that the equal division of the community retirement plan would include all plan benefits. Family Code §271 mandates that sanctions be tethered to attorney fees and costs.

Marriage of Erndt & Terhorst - filed Jan. 11, 2021, First District, Div. Three
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 169
Full text click here

Real Property

A property owner can file an unlawful detainer action under Code of Civil Procedure §1161(3) based on a notice served by its predecessor in interest; the Legislature did not mandate that a notice under §1161(2), (3), or (4) identify the party to whom a tenant should surrender possession of the property.

Lee v. Kotyluk - filed Jan. 7, 2021, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 121
Full text click here

Under the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act, physically relocating personal property and transmitting or transporting sale proceeds out of state, then transmuting them into a different legal form, may constitute a direct or indirect mode of parting with assets or one’s interest in those assets.

Nagel v. Westen - filed Jan. 7, 2021, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 127
Full text click here


Where a plaintiff presents evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that the defendant intended for the plaintiff to rely on a false statement, nothing more was required for the plaintiff to prove the intent to induce reliance element of her fraud and deceit cause of action premised on negligent misrepresentation.

Borman v. Brown - filed Jan. 15, 2021, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 229
Full text click here


Revenue and Taxation Code §1611.6 clearly and unambiguously delineates when a court may award attorney fees to a property owner in a tax refund action; a property owner may recover fees if the court finds the county board failed to make requested findings or if the court remands the matter to the board with directions to make findings that fairly disclose the board’s determination on the point at issue, including a statement of the method or methods of valuation used in appraising the property.

Chinese Theaters v. County of Los Angeles - filed Dec. 8, 2020, publication ordered Jan. 4, 2021, Second District, Div. Three
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 63
Full text click here

Trusts and Estates

Where a family residence was transferred from the cotrustors of a family trust to their children, and one beneficiary purchased his siblings’ shares in the trust, the purchase was not a parent-child transfer exempt from reassessment for property tax purposes.

Bohnett v. County of Santa Barbara - filed Jan. 19, 2021, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 246
Full text click here


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