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Coming Events
Save the Date
Did You Know?
Recent Cases
Legal Developments
The Trusts and Estates Bulletin is published monthly by the Trusts and Estates Section, coeditors:

Jana Gordon Garrotto
Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin LLP

Stefanie S. Cutler
Bloom & Ruttenberg

Richard A. Luftman
Richard A. Luftman, Attorney at Law

Roseann DeRosa
Law Office of Roseann DeRosa

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee:

William L. Winslow, Chair
Matthew W. McMurtrey, Vice-Chair
Julia L. Birkel, Secretary
Trudi Schindler, Immediate Past Chair

Denise T. Ambrosio
Aurora Basa
Susan Ellen Barlevav
Stefanie S. Cutler
Roseann DeRosa
Zachary Dresben
Yolande P. Erickson
Jana Gordon Garrotto
Sibylle Grebe
Duncan Hromadka
Stephen M. Lowe
Richard A. Luftman
Albert F. Mikulencak
Leigh Shipp Muniz
Mary L. O'Neill
John E. Rogers, Jr
Marc L. Sallus
Donald Scoggins

Ex Officio Members:
James R. Birnberg
Susan Jabkowski
Kira S. Masteller
Amy L. McEvoy
Jonathan L. Rosenbloom
Stuart David Zimring

Coming Event
March 10, 2016

Speaker: Howard Horwitz
Location: Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Please click here for registration
Save the Date
Trusts and Estates Reception
May 16, 2016

More information to be announced

Did You Know?

Did you know...if you are looking for an expedited trial date that you may request that your pending probate matter be set for trial in Department 99 with Commissioner Brenda Penny.

Did you know...that the LA Superior Court website has a Court Date Calculator?  To begin, click on a start date (default is the current date). Then, enter the number of Court days, past or future, to calculate and press the 'Calculate' button. To calculate "past" Court days, enter a minus sign before the number.
Check it out at

Recent Cases
Civil Procedure

Trial court did not abuse its discretion by sanctioning plaintiff for unreasonable failure to exchange expert witness declarations. Plaintiff's attorney's claim to have served a written objection to the timeliness of the demand did not preclude sanctions where there was no motion for protective order. Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 2034.300, which empowers the trial court to exclude the expert opinion of any witness offered by a party who has unreasonably failed to disclose expert witness information, applies to expert declarations in connection with summary judgment motions as well as to expert testimony at trial.

Perry v. Bakewell Hawthorne, LLC - filed February 3, 2016, Second District, Div. Two
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 659
Full text click here


There is no requirement that a motion for relief under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 473(b) be sworn to under penalty of perjury.

Austin v. Los Angeles Unified School District - filed January 25, 2016, publication ordered February 9, 2016, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 791
Full text click here


Trial court erred in ruling that plaintiff, which supplemented its interrogatory responses five months after serving them, was bound by the original responses. Defendant failed to show that it was prejudiced by the supplemental responses.

People ex rel. Government Employees Insurance Company v. Cruz - filed January 22, 2016, publication ordered February 17, 2016, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 933
Full text click here


Trial court did not err in setting aside default and default judgment against a trust deed service company that filed an unchallenged declaration of nonmonetary status, asserting that it had only been named as a defendant because of its status as a trustee but did not file an answer.

Bae v. T.D. Service Company - filed Feb. 25, 2016, Second District, Div. Four
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 1108
Full text click here


Trial court abused its discretion in basing a prevailing-party attorney fee award on a 70 percent across-the-board reduction in the number of hours claimed. Even assuming the trial court was correct in finding that well over 70 percent of the time entries underlying the fee request were flawed in one manner or another, there was no reasonable basis for concluding that the time entries the court found were flawed actually included 70 percent of the total time for which the prevailing parties sought compensation.

Mountjoy v. Bank of America, N.A. - filed February 29, 2016, Third District
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 1161
Full text click here

Family Law

Dependency court erred in applying Family Code Sec. 7612(c), which allows the court to find that a child has three parents "in an appropriate action," to a case in which mother's husband was conclusively presumed to be the child's father and the court's finding that the putative biological father was a parent under Sec. 7612(c) was inconsistent with its determination that he and the child lacked an existing parent-child relationship.

In re Donovan L. - filed Feb. 11, 2016, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 861
Full text click here 


Trial court did not abuse its equitable discretion in hearing supporting spouse's request for reduction of support, notwithstanding supported spouse's contention that failure to pay support for "several months" should have resulted in denial of the request under disentitlement doctrine. Ex-wife's drawing on her share of ex-husband's pension was a material change of circumstances supporting reduction in support. Trial court was not precluded from treating former husband's age--61--as a "normal" retirement age, but retirement does not automatically require reduction in support obligations. It was error to grant reduction without a statement of decision explaining court's weighing of the Family Code Sec. 4320 factors.

In re Marriage of Shimkus - filed February 18, 2016, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 972
Full text click here 

Healthcare Law

Substantial evidence, including specific instances of billing irregularities, supported Medical Board of California's finding of good cause to invade patients' right to privacy of their medical records. Alleged unlawful redisclosure of medical records by investigator for medical payments clearinghouse did not preclude use of such records by Medical Board in its investigation of alleged failures to properly care for certain patients. Trial court did not err in finding that compelling state interest in ensuring that the medical care provided by board-certified doctors conforms to the standard of outweighed patients' privacy interests.

Fett v. Medical Board of California - filed Feb. 3, 2016, publication ordered Feb. 26, 2016, Second District, Div. Two
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 1139
Full text click here

Real Property

Agreement titled Contract of Sale Residential Property--which permitted defendant to take possession of real property from plaintiff, conditioned upon payment of property taxes, insurance costs, homeowners dues, "probationary installment" payments in a fixed monthly amount over a five-year period, and a "down payment" consisting of additional amounts to be paid over than period until the total of all payments reached a specified amount--was properly characterized as both a lease and a contract of sale, but because possession was achieved through the lease terms of the agreement, unlawful detainer was properly used to regain possession upon default.

Taylor v. Nu Digital Marketing, Inc. - filed February 29, 2016, Third District
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 1185
Full text click here

Trusts and Estates

Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 377.42, which excepts from recovery against a decedent's successor "damages recoverable under Section 3294 of the Civil Code or other punitive or exemplary damages," does not bar an award of double damages in an action to recover property belonging to the estate as provided for by Probate Code Sec. 859.

Hill v. Superior Court (Staggers) - filed February 18, 2016, First District, Div. Two
Cite as 2016 S.O.S. 984
Full text click here

Legal Developments

Revenue Ruling 2016-08 removes certain restrictions on income earned in Cuba

The previously applicable restrictions denied a foreign tax credit for income taxes paid to Cuba and disallowed deferral on income earned in Cuba through a controlled foreign corporation. This ruling modifies Revenue Ruling 2005-3 with respect to countries subject to special rules under sections 901(j) and 952(a)(5).

Updated Guidance from IRS Concerning Basis Reporting

IRS Notice 2016-19 provides that statements required under section 6035, regarding the basis of property distributed from the estate of a decedent, need not be filed or furnished until March 31, 2016, rather than the previous February 29, 2016 deadline. The notice further recommends that executors and other persons who are required to file an estate tax return wait to prepare the statements required under section 6035 until the Treasury Department and IRS issue further guidance, which is said to be coming in the very near future.


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