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VOLUME 15 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2020
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Save the Date
Special Announcements
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 Broomer, LLP

Jessica G. Gordon
Thompson Coburn 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


Save the Date

LACBA Trusts and Estates Lecture Series
Annual Trial Skills Lecture

Date: August 19, 2020, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Location: Webinar
Justice Maria E. Stratton
Judge Clifford L. Klein
Vivian L. Thoreen, Esq. (partner at Holland & Knight LLP)
James H. Turken, Esq. (partner at Greenspoon Marder LLP)

1 hour of MCLE

Online Registration Available Soon.


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


Special Announcements

Superior Court Kern County Mandatory Electronic filing in Probate Filings effective August 3, 2020. Click here for attachment.

Court News

Please see the link to the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Attorney Portal FAQs.

New quick reference guides for LACourtConnect remote appearances have now been posted here as well as in the attorney portal.

The Probate Division announces changes to Judicial Assignments click here.

Recent Cases
Civil Procedure

A trial court erred in holding a hearing without a court reporter where a party who had received a fee waiver had timely requested a court reporter; the court also erred in prohibiting a party from appearing telephonically for a hearing on an ex parte application where the court’s policy was to rule on all ex parte applications in chambers, without allowing anyone to be heard.

Davis v. Superior Court (Sathre) - filed June 15, 2020, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 2793
Full text click here >

Costs incurred in preparing models, blowups, and photocopies of exhibits not used at trial may be awarded under Code of Civil Procedure §1033.5.

Segal v. ASICS America Corporation - filed June 15, 2020, Second District, Div. Four
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 2849
Full text click here >

When appreciable sums are in play, the small cost of court reporting is not a good cost to avoid. A trial court properly denied a motion to set aside a default where the plaintiff put a proper proof of service form into evidence and the defendant did not submit evidence to show the document was invalid.

Pacifica First National, Inc. v. Abekasis - filed June 15, 2020, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 2853
Full text click here >

Code of Civil Procedure §473(b) requires a court to vacate a dismissal when the dismissal is caused by an attorney’s mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or neglect—whether or not excusable; it does not apply if the court finds the dismissal was not an act caused by the attorney’s mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or neglect.

Hernandez v. FCA US LLC - filed June 11, 2020, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 2763
Full text click here >


Where parties validly choose a state's law to govern their contractual rights and duties, that state's substantive law will govern the measure of recovery for a breach of contract.

Airs Aromatics, LLC v. CBL Data Recovery Tech, Inc. - filed June 19, 2020, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 2972
Full text click here >

Family Law

The time limit in Welfare and Institutions Code §5350(d)(2), is directory, not mandatory, because the Legislature has not expressly provided for dismissal of the conservatorship petition if a trial is not held within 10 days.

Conservatorship of Jose B. - filed June 18, 2020, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 2985
Full text click here >

Professional Responsibility

Contemporaneous time records are the best evidence of lawyers’ hourly work; they are not indispensable, but they eclipse other proofs.

Taylor v. County of Los Angeles (Traylor) - filed June 10, 2020, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 2750
Full text click here>

Professional Misconduct

In a legal malpractice action alleging an inadequate settlement, the applicable burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence.

Masellis v. Law Office of Leslie F. Jensen - filed June 19, 2020, Fifth District
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3010
Full text click here>

Real Property

Dinosaur fossils were not within the ordinary and natural meaning of minerals and so fossils found on a property belong to the owner of the surface estate.

Murray v. BEJ Minerals - filed June 17, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 16-35506
Full text click here >

Under 12 U.S.C. §4617(b)(12), a quiet title action is a contract claim that is subject to a statute of limitations of at least six years.

M & T Bank v. SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC - filed June 25, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 18-17395
Full text click here >

Tax Law

For non-electronic filings, a clerk’s office is inaccessible on the last day of a filing period only if the office cannot practicably be accessed for delivery of documents during a sufficient period of time up to and including the point at which the clerk’s office is scheduled to close. Since I.R.C. §6213(a)’s time limits are jurisdictional, equitable exceptions such as equitable tolling and waiver do not apply.

Organic Cannabis Foundation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue - filed June 18, 2020
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 17-72874
Full text click here >

The Revenue and Taxation Code imposes taxes on the entire amount of trust income derived from California sources, regardless of the residency of the trust’s fiduciaries.

Steuer v. Franchise Tax Board - filed June 29, 2020, First District, Div. Three
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3264
Full text click here >


A trust revocation procedure is not exclusive unless the trust document explicitly says that it is. Probate Code §15401 applies to the method of revoking a trust as well as the person who may revoke a trust.

Cundall v. Mitchell-Clyde - filed June 29, 2020, Second District, Div. Two
Cite as 2020 S.O.S. 3275
Full text click here >


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