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VOLUME 12 | NUMBER 5 | MAY 2017
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Upcoming Events
Save the Date
Did You Know?
Court News
In Memoriam
Recent Cases


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

Roseann DeRosa

Jessica Ghirardo Gordon
Thompson Coburn LLP

Trusts and Estates Executive Committee Officers:

Matthew W. McMurtrey, Chair
Julia L. Birkel, Vice-Chair
Marc L. Sallus, Esq, Secretary & Treasurer
William L. Winslow, Immediate Past Chair


Susan Ellen Barlevav
Aurora Leigh Perez Basa
Steven P. Beltran
Roseann DeRosa
Zachary Dresben
Jana Gordon Garrotto
Sibylle Grebe
Duncan Hromadka
Deborah Keesey
Patricia A. Lobello-Lamb
Stephen M. Lowe
Richard A. Luftman
Mary L. O'Neill
John E. Rogers, Jr.
Donald L. Scoggins
Lisa Greta Wick

Barristers Liaison
Jessica Ghirardo Gordon

County Counsel Liaison
William C. Sias

Public Interest Liaison
Yolande P. Erickson

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

Upcoming Events
Trusts and Estates Section Reception

Date: May 15, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Location: Omni Hotel Downtown
Program Description:
The Trusts and Estates Section cordially invites you to our annual Los Angeles Court Probate Department Reception. This evening reception is attended by probate attorneys, judicial officers, and members of the Trusts & Estates Section. There will be a cash bar and complimentary hors d'oeuvres for all guests. There is no registration fee for Trusts & Estates Section members, Counsel and judges. RSVP is required in order to attend.

Click here for more information

Save the Date
View from the Bench
Date: June 8, 2017
Time: 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Location: Omni Hotel Downtown
More info TBA

Mandatory PVP Training
Date: June 17, 2017
More info TBA

Did You Know?
Did you know...
Did you know… that you can pay for efilings with eChecks or by credit cards? Note that you can only pay via credit card with Visa, MasterCard or Discover (not AMEX).
Court News
efiling Reminder
This is a reminder that effective June 5, 2017, attorneys are required to e-file. Also effective June 5, 2017, the ex parte procedures will change. Please see the Court’s Notices for further details. Click the following links for the Court Order and Notice regarding efiling.

Probate Ex Parte Update
Please click here for Court Order regarding Ex parte Applications in Probate.
In Memoriam

It is with sadness that we inform you that Judge Thomas Stoever died on April 12. He was the Supervising Probate Judge, sitting in Department 11, from 2001 until he retired from the bench in 2005.

Our thoughts and condolences go to his family, friends and colleagues.

Recent Cases
Civil Procedure

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that defendants, who obtained a dismissal from a California court on the ground that the agreement at issue contained a forum selection clause specifying the courts of another jurisdiction, were not prevailing parties for purposes of Civil Code Sec. 1717. Considering that the action had already been refiled in the chosen jurisdiction and the parties' substantive disputes remained unresolved, the court could reasonably conclude neither party had yet achieved its litigation objectives to an extent warranting an award of attorney fees., LLC v. - filed Apr. 6, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 1808
Full text click here >

A trial court ruling denying a request for a jury trial in a civil action is subject to review prior to trial by a petition for an extraordinary writ. There is no right to a jury trial in a health care facility whistleblower action for retaliatory termination brought pursuant to Health and Safety Code Sec. 1278.5(g), as amended in 2007.

Shaw v. Superior Court (THC-Orange County, Inc.) - filed April 10, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 1879
Full text click here

Self-represented litigant's participation in prior hearing before commissioner was not tantamount to a stipulation allowing commissioner to preside at future hearings as a judge pro tem, especially where there was nothing in the record to indicate that litigant was ever informed that the commissioner was not a judge.

In re Marriage of Djulus - filed April 14, 2017, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2020
Full text click here >

When a federal court exercises its inherent authority to sanction bad-faith conduct by ordering a litigant to pay the other side's legal fees, the award is limited to the fees the innocent party incurred solely because of the misconduct.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company v. Haeger - filed April 18, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 15-1406_db8e
Full text click here >

Family Law

Family Code Sec. 2556 confers upon trial court continuing jurisdiction to adjudicate omitted community property, whether the underlying judgment was obtained by contest or default. There is no requirement that a party seeking to adjudicate property rights under that section first move to set aside the default.

In re Marriage of Huntley - filed April 17, 2017, Third District
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2024
Full text click here>

Lack of notice to alleged father of dependent child of his right to seek presumed father status, resulting in termination of his parental rights, was not prejudicial. Presumed father status and preservation of parental rights were inconceivable given father's incarceration and lack of involvement in mother's pregnancy and child's life.

In re Isabella M. - filed Mar. 13, 2017, publication ordered Apr. 5, 2017, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 1788
Full text click here >

Juvenile court violated mother's due process rights by preventing her from testifying regarding minor's relationship with his sibling, and hence effectively negating any evidentiary basis she might have had for arguing the sibling relationship exception to termination of parental rights.

In re J.S. - filed April 5, 2017, publication ordered April 18, 2017, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2029
Full text click here >

Government Law

City did not abuse its discretion in denying property owners a demolition permit for a dwelling where resolution designating the dwelling as a historic resource contained sufficient findings to support the conclusion. The administrative record established that the city followed its mandatory guidelines, even though they were not specifically referred to in the resolution, and the findings were supported by sufficient evidence of the historic value of the property.

Young v. City of Coronado - filed Apr. 4, 2017, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 1752
Full text click here >

Individual Rights

Student was a prevailing party entitled to attorneys' fees under the Individuals With Disabilities in Education Act because student achieved the benefit sought, a decision as to which agency was responsible to provide a free appropriate public education. Student's victory was not trivial or merely technical.

Irvine Unified School District v. K.G. - filed April 13, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 14-56457
Full text click here >


When a policy expressly provides coverage for litigation expenses on appeal, an exclusion requiring repayment to the insurer upon a "final determination" of the insured's culpability applies only after the insured's direct appeals have been exhausted. Where plaintiff sued two insurers, claiming they had conspired to deprive him of coverage under one of the policies, the complaint failed to state a claim against the company that was a stranger to that policy and which had no duty to plaintiff because the limits of its policy had been exhausted.

Stein v. AXIS Insurance Company - filed March 8 2017, publication ordered April 6, 2017, Second District, Div. One
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 1893
Full text click here >

Real Property

A minor displaced by an Ellis Act eviction is not a 'tenant' under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, and therefore is not entitled to a relocation payment.

Carmack v. Reynolds - filed Mar. 23, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 1565
Full text click here >

Under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 1161b, which permits the "purchaser" of foreclosed-upon residential property, or the purchaser's "successor in interest" to evict tenants upon 90 days notice in order to "occupy the housing unit as a primary residence," plaintiffs--who acquired the property from a relative, who purchased it from bank intending for plaintiffs to live there--were entitled to the rights of a successor in interest.

Epps v. Lindsey; Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino - filed March 27, 2017
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 1966
Full text click here >


Ownership is not an essential element of a conversion claim. The claim may be based on plaintiff's right to possession at the time of the conversion.

Applied Medical Corporation v. Thomas - filed April 12, 2017, First District, Div. Five
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 1983
Full text click here >

When the basis for a claim of breach of fiduciary duty by plaintiff's attorney arises from the same facts and seeks the same relief as a negligence claim for malpractice, the claim for breach of fiduciary duty is duplicative and should be dismissed.

Broadway Victoria, LLC v. Norminton, Wiita, & Fuster - filed April 19, 2017, Second District, Div. Five
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2123
Full text click here >

Trusts and Estates

Elderly person's child--who was not her conservator, trustee of her estate, or her attorney-in-fact under a power of appointment--lacked standing to bring an elder abuse action on the mother's behalf.

Tepper v. Wilkins - filed April 19, 2017, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as 2017 S.O.S. 2129
Full text click here >


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