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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

2021 View from the Bench

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

Location: Live Webinar

Description: Please join us for this special live program where the probate judges of the LA Superior Court will give the State of Probate Court and provide their view of current issues relating to probate practice.

The Arthur K. Marshall Award will also be presented to Carmen Alberio with introduction by Hon. Brenda Penny.

Registration: Click here to register

LACBA Trusts and Estates Section Lecture Series Webinar

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

Location: Lecture Series Webinar

Description: Judgment Enforcement Issues for Trust and Estate Practitioners

Speaker: Adam L. Streltzer

Registration: Click here to register

Save the Date

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


Where a plaintiff’s suit arose from the defendants’ alleged conduct in the course of enforcing the terms of a note and deed of trust, Civil Code §1717 was applicable.

Yoon v. Cam IX Trust - filed Jan. 29, 2021, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 483
Full text click here >

An arbitration clause was procedurally unconscionable where the defendant drafted the agreement language, the defendant gave the plaintiff no option other than to take it or leave it, the plaintiff did not understand the complicated and technical terms, and the agreement was presented on an electronic device, with a salesperson scrolling through to the parts that needed to be signed or initialed, without explaining anything about the arbitration clause; the arbitration clause was substantively unconscionable where it was clearly one-sided, allowing the defendant to take claims to court that the plaintiff could not.

Cabatit v. Sunnova Energy - filed Dec. 31, 2020, publication ordered Jan. 29, 2021, Third District
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 485
Full text click here >

A party cannot surprise another party and obtain unreasonably favorable terms in a contract simply by failing to provide the other party with a translation of the contract which the other party does not require; an individual’s preference to read a document in Spanish does not demonstrate that the reader was unable to understand the document in English. A simple failure to provide a party with a copy of the rules for arbitration does not constitute procedural unconscionability. An appellate arbitral review provision is not always enforceable as long as it does not contain a dollar threshold; where ambiguities created by the drafter have the potential to give it an even greater advantage than the mere provision for appellate arbitral review does, the provision is substantively unconscionable.

Alvarez v. Altamed Health Services Corporation - filed Feb. 4, 2021, Second District, Div. Eight
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 551
Full text click here >

A contract’s arbitration provision was valid and enforceable because it allowed public injunctive relief in arbitration and authorized the arbitrator to award all injunctive remedies available in an individual lawsuit under California law. Public injunctive relief under California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumers Legal Remedies Act is available in an individual lawsuit without a plaintiff acting as a private attorney general.

DiCarlo v. MoneyLion - filed Feb. 19, 2021
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 20-55058
Full text click here >

A written release under Civil Code §1541 does not require consideration. Civil Code §1668 is meant to prohibit contracts releasing liability for future torts, not to prohibit settlements of disputes relating to past conduct. A public entity may not be sued for breach of an implied contract. A claim for breach of the implied covenant necessarily requires the existence of a contractual relationship between the parties.

Daneshmand v. City of San Juan Capistrano - filed Jan. 20, 2021, publication ordered Feb. 16, 2021, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 698
Full text click here >


Probate Code §859 authorizes an award of double damages for the commission of elder financial abuse without a separate finding of bad faith.

Keading v. Keading - filed Feb. 18, 2021, First District, Div. Three
Cite as 2021 S.O.S. 753
Full text click here >


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