Significant Decisions


Appellate and Civil Procedure
Mechammil v. City of San Jacinto (9th Cir. 2016) 2016 WL 3619398
Reversing district court, finding that City’s special assessment and real property lien were improper mechanisms for collecting fines and penalties for municipal ordinance violations.

Wade v. Ports America Management (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 648
Resolving that labor arbitration has res judicata effect precluding employee’s cause of action for wrongful termination.

Association For Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. Baca (Nov. 13, 2013, B238141) 2013 WL 6000970
Holding settlement agreement that controlled Sheriff’s Department’s policy regarding administrative investigations of deputy sheriffs accused of criminal misconduct could not be terminated for lack of express provision defining its duration; reversing trial court decision in favor of Sheriff’s Department.

8451 Melrose Property, LLC v. Akhtarzad (July 30, 2013, B237052) 2013 WL 3947144
Reversal of $9 million judgment based on erroneous exclusion of parol evidence.

Blue Water Sunset, LLC v. Markowitz (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 477
Automatic disqualification of counsel who represents both the plaintiff limited liability company and defendant member.

Manco Contracting Co. v. Bezdikian (2008) 45 Cal.4th 192
California Supreme Court reversing summary judgment on basis of statute of limitations and establishing both when a foreign judgment becomes subject to recognition in California and the limitation period.

Mendiondo v. Centinela Hospital Medical Center, et al. (9th Cir. 2008) 521 F.3d 1097
Reversing a defense judgment and establishing the federal court pleading standard for wrongful termination under the False Claims Act and the California False Claim Act.

Baxter v. Peterson (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 673
Reversing punitive damages award because appellate record lacked evidence of defendant’s financial condition, which would not be retried on remand.

Davcon v. Roberts & Morgan (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 1355
Ruling that a peremptory challenge was effective immediately and there was no additional time added for deciding a JNOV motion.

Reed v. Superior Court (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 448
Ruling that an appeal from a a pretrial order denying a motion to disqualify opposing counsel for a conflict of interest does not automatically stay all trial proceedings.

Great Western Casinos, Inc. v. Morongo Band of Mission Indians (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 1407
Indian Tribe did not waive sovereign immunity from suit by agreeing to limited arbitration provision.

Kolani v. Gluska (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 402
Reversing adverse judgment and establishing that party may, for the first time on appeal, make showing for leave to amend.


Gastelum v. Remax International, Inc. (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 1016
Appeal dismissed on the basis that order lifting a litigation stay, after arbitrator dismissed the arbitral proceeding, is not an appealable order.

Ahdout v. Hekmatjah (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 21
Reversing arbitration award, ruling that arbitration awards that enforce contracts which violate the Contractors’ State License Law are subject to judicial review.

Currency Corporation v. Wertheim, LLC (May 20, 2011, B222851) 2011 WL 1902580
Reversing order confirming arbitration award; arbitration award cannot be confirmed over objection absent a judicial finding that a valid arbitration agreement exists.


In re Flashcom, Inc. (9th Cir. BAP 2014) 2014 WL 4923073
Affirming that bankruptcy trustee improperly relied on an unenforceable penalty provision and that bankruptcy court had inherent authority to modify a court-approved settlement agreement.

In re Telluride Income Growth LP (10th Cir. BAP 2007) 364 B.R. 407
Motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9023 to alter or amend the bankruptcy court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Constitutional Law

People v. Hajjaj (2010) 50 Cal.4th 1184
California Supreme Court reversing conviction for violation of the constitutional right to a speedy trial.

Tillison v. City of San Diego (9th Cir. 2005) 406 F.3d 1126
Addressing preemptive effect of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act.

Construction Law

Ahdout v. Hekmatjah (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 21
Reversing arbitration award, ruling that arbitration awards that enforce contracts which violate the Contractors’ State License Law are subject to judicial review.

Pacific Caisson & Shoring, Inc. v. Bernards Bros. Inc. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 681
Interpreting “duly licensed contractor” under the Contractors’ State License Law.

Titan Electric Corp. v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist., et al. (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 188
General contractor on public works project right to substitute subcontractor under Public Contract Code section 4107.

Glieberman v. Superior Court (Nov. 15, 2004, F045422) 2004 WL 2601205
Granting petition for writ of mandate directing the trial court to grant motion to expunge lis pendens.


Personal Court Reporters, Inc. v. Rand-Lewis (Aug. 1, 2017, B269507) 2017 WL 3261737
Affirming personal liability of trial attorney who retained services of court reporter but refused to make the required payments.

Racza v. J.K. Residential Services, Inc. (Jan. 12, 2017, B261079, B262807) 2017 WL 120901
Affirming trial court’s finding that defendant waived its contractual right to arbitrate.

Santiago, Rodnunsky & Jones v. Spahl (Jan. 14, 2015, B254488) 2015 WL 176235
Affirming summary judgment in action for breach of written settlement agreement resolving attorneys’ fee dispute.

Employment and Agency

Lafleur v. Woodbridge Structured Funding, LLC (Oct. 9, 2015, B258832) 2015 WL 5918199
Affirming pregnancy discrimination judgment and award of attorneys’ fees.

Frawley v. Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Apr. 19, 2016, B254562) 2016 WL 1601801
Affirming $552,676 judgment in favor of senior MTA supervisor in FEHA retaliation action.

Gordon v. City of Los Angeles (Feb. 11, 2016, B256995) 2016 WL 542397
Reversing summary judgment against LAPD Sergeant in FEHA retaliation action.

Creswell v. Superior Court (Jun. 8, 2015, B264522)
Alternative writ granted directing the trial court to vacate summary adjudication of plaintiff City of Montebello Firefighter’s cause of action for racial harassment; at trial, plaintiff prevailed on this cause of action and obtained a $950,000 judgment.

Camarillo v. County of Los Angeles (Jan. 13, 2015, B252161) 2015 WL 154412
Reversing summary judgment against LASD Sergeant in FEHA discrimination and retaliation action.

Kelly v. Ports America Management Corp. (Jan. 28, 2014, B242004) 2014 WL 176235
Reversing summary judgment against former marine clerk in action brought for FEHA and CFRA disability discrimination and wrongful termination.

Miller v. City of Los Angeles (Oct. 14, 2014, B2455514) 2014 WL 5141656
Affirming $1.3 million judgment in favor of LAFD Battalion Chief in Labor Code section 1102.5 (Whistleblower) retaliation action.

Torres v. City of Los Angeles (Aug. 27, 2014, B248114) 2014 WL 4235967
Affirming $2.8 million judgment in favor of former LAPD Sergeant in FEHA retaliation action.

Taylor v. City of Burbank (May 22, 2014, B242502) 2014 WL 2153762
Affirming $1.3 million judgment in favor of former Deputy Chief of the Burbank Police Department in FEHA and Labor Code section 1102.5 (Whistleblower) retaliation action.

Bakotich v. City of Los Angeles (Dec. 16, 2013, B239418) 2013 WL 6630910
Affirming $2.46 million judgment in favor of three LAPD Detectives in FEHA gender discrimination and retaliation action.

Blackstone v. City of Los Angeles (Apr. 29, 2013, B 234664) 2013 WL 1790676
Affirming $736,312 judgment in favor of LAPD bomb squad officer in FEHA retaliation action.

Burton v. City of Los Angeles (Feb. 18, 2010, B208451) 2010 WL 550157
Affirming $1.6 million judgment in favor of LAFD Captains in FEHA race discrimination action.

Lima v. City of Los Angeles (Mar. 26, 2009, B202209) 2009 WL 782991
Affirming $3.75 million judgment in favor of LAFD Captain in FEHA retaliation action.

McDonald v. Antelope Valley Comm. College (2008) 45 Cal.4th 88
California Supreme Court affirming that the FEHA statute of limitations may be equitably tolled; judicial exhaustion of internal grievance procedure is not required.

McGinest v. GTE Service Corp. (9th Cir. 2004) 360 F.3d 1103
Reversing summary judgment for employer, finding that employee had demonstrated issues of material fact regarding the existence of a racially hostile workplace, discrimination, and inadequacy of remedial measures.

Meyer v. Holley (2003) 537 U.S. 280 [123 S. Ct. 824, 154 L. Ed. 2d 753]
United States Supreme Court unanimous decision in favor of firm’s client establishing the criteria for direct and vicarious liability for discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

Rosenman v. Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil, & Shapiro (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 859
Striking award of attorneys’ fees against unsuccessful plaintiff in pregnancy discrimination action; a successful defendant is entitled to attorneys’ fees under the FEHA only in a case in which the plaintiff’s action was frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation, and a trial court must make findings to support its award of attorneys’ fees.

Family Law

Slotkin v. Slotkin (Aug. 17, 2016, B262045) 2016 WL 4385069
Dismissing appeal from a nonappealable order which reserved for trial a request for modification of interim spousal support.

Marriage of Csupo (March 27, 2013, B227959) 2013 WL 1021716
Affirming the trial court’s authority to terminate attorneys’ fees payments by the husband to the wife’s attorney after the wife’s attorneys substituted out of the case.

Marriage of Equils (Jun. 23, 2008, B198750) 2008 WL 2486688
Affirming award of sanctions in favor of the Firm’s client under Family Code section 271.

Marriage of Maytag (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 1711
Interpreting Family Code section 3591 as extending to private agreements for spousal support.


Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 98
Holding that common law remedies co-exist with the statutory remedies created by the Right to Repair Act. Subrogation rights preserved.

General Casualty Insurance v. W.C.A.B. (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 345 (depub. after denial of review)
Statute setting forth liability between insurers of general and special employers did not extinguish employers’ joint and several liability for workers’ compensation.

Woodliff v. California Insurance Guarantee Association (2003)110 Cal.App.4th 1690
Holding that California Insurance Guarantee Association is required to pay the claim of an insured of an insolvent insurer even though the claim was based upon a judgment the insured obtained against the insurer prior to insolvency.

Professional Negligence

Place v. Bernstein (Jul. 18, 2013, B236424) 2013 WL 3777256
Reversing summary judgment against plaintiff in medical negligence action based on erroneous exclusion of expert’s testimony.

Hanson v. Grode (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 601
Reversing summary judgment and establishing the standard for when an expert’s declaration creates a disputed issues of material fact.

Pleasant v. Celli (1993) 18 Cal.App.4th 841
Interpreting statute of limitations in action for legal malpractice and recoverability of non-economic damages

SLAPP Litigation

Daniel v. Wayans (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 367, review granted May 10, 2017, S240704
Whether writer-performer’s race-based harassment subject to anti-SLAPP protection.

Association For Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Los Angeles (Oct. 10, 2016, B260584) 2016 WL 6072336
Anti-SLAPP order reversed because Sheriff’s Deputy’s cause of action, based on the County’s alleged unlawful access to his medical records, did not arise out of statutorily protected activity.

Roth v. Finestone (Feb. 16, 2016, B258822) 2016 WL 638657
Affirming order denying untimely anti-SLAPP motion.

Hebert v. Getty Images (US), Inc. (Feb. 8, 2016, B255762) 2016 WL 473280
Affirming order denying anti-SLAPP motion in defamation action brought by celebrity photographer on the basis that the disparaging remarks were not made in connection with a public issue or matter of public interest.

Association For Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. Los Angeles Times Communications
(2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 808
Privacy action against Los Angeles Times — based on reporter’s obtaining and publishing a deputy sheriff’s confidential background file — subject to anti-SLAPP motion.

U.S. Bancorp Equipment Finances, Inc. v. McFetters (Nov. 3, 2010, G041929) 2010 WL 4337185
On firm’s cross-appeal, reversing order denying special motion to strike cause of action for unfair competition and affirming order granting motion to strike remaining nine causes of action.

Torts and Civil Rights

Fetters v. County of Los Angeles (2016) 243 Cal.App.4th 825
Barring civil rights suit for excessive force based on prior brandishing plea in juvenile court.

Moradzadeh v. Casiano-Bel Air Homeowners Ass’n (June 18, 2015, B252067) 2015 WL 3814357
Reversing summary judgment against homeowner on statute of limitations grounds and finding homeowners association had affirmative duty under CC&Rs to repair failing hillside slope.

Kim v. Pacifica Chemical, Inc. (Feb. 6, 2014, B244692) 2014 WL 470334
Reversing summary judgment in products liability/wrongful death action based on erroneous exclusion of expert declaration.

Bender v. County of Los Angeles (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 968
Affirming that Bane Act was violated when an arrest without probable cause is accompanied by beating and pepper spraying of unresisting arrestee.

Avila v. Continental (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1237
Reversing summary judgment on basis that medical form submitted by employee gave employer potential notice of California Family Rights Act request for leave.

McNairy v. C.K. Realty (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 1500
Affirming verdict for tenants in action for breach of warranty of habitability and reversing to award additional damages.

Huff v. Wilkins (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 732
Negligence action brought by driver injured in an ATV accident with a minor not barred by the doctrine of primary assumption of risk.

Espino v. White Consolidated Industries (Jan. 12, 2005, B164479) 2005 WL 2152343
Affirming grant of partial new trial on behalf of two children who were severely burned in an accident involving a freestanding gas range manufactured by defendants.

Claxton v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 327
Reversing nonsuit for defendants in premises liability action, establishing that appropriate test in determining foreseeability is prior similar incidents, not prior identical incidents.

Farnham v. City of Los Angeles (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 1097
Government has immunity from liability for an injury suffered on a trail used to obtain access to a recreational or scenic area, even if the trail is a paved bike path and part of the streets and highway system.

Probate and Estate Law

Nifong v. Nozzi (July 17, 2017, B266982) 2017 WL 2729820
Relying on a settled statement, Court of Appeal reversed probate court’s finding of an oral trust and eliminated attorneys’ fees award. Remanded matter for limited damages.

Gorlick v. Arouty (Sept. 6, 2016, B266867) 2016 WL 4613351
Affirming existence and validity of a trust under the Probate Code even if settlor did not sign the trust’s last page.

Estate of Greer (Feb. 9, 2016, E060888) 2016 WL 520275
Probate proceeding, affirming judgment following trial in favor of trustee accused by sibling of misappropriating assets from their mother’s estate.

Estate of Duke (2015) 61 Cal.4th 871
California Supreme Court reversing century old precedent, holding that an unambiguous will may be reformed to conform to the testator’s intent if clear and convincing evidence establishes that the will contains a mistake in the testator’s expression at the time the will was drafted and establishes the testator’s actual intent.

In re Papaz Family Trust (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 1200
Reversing trial court, holding that the definition of “issue” in a trust instrument unambiguously included biological grandson born out of wedlock.

Estate of Odian (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 152
Affirming trial court’s finding that elderly testator’s paid live-in companion had exercised undue influence to make herself the sole beneficiary of testator’s trusts, wills, and annuities.

Assistance at Trial Court Level

Meraz v. Candelario Valle (2017) (San Bernardino Superior Court Case No. CIVDS1507800)
Prepared and filed JNOV, which the trial court granted in part.

Nehorayan v. Nehorayan (2016) (LASC Case No. BC584273)
Prepared and filed an anti-SLAPP motion for defense counsel; plaintiff conceded merit of motion and defendant’s entitlement to an award of attorneys’ fees.

Missaghi v. Coast Royale, LLC (2015) (LASC Case No. BC459839)
Breach of contract to settle private loan transaction; brought in by trial counsel to prepare and argue Motion for Judgment; motion granted and judgment entered.

Silva v. DBI Sala, Inc. (2013) (Riverside Superior Case No. INC078101)
Prepared and filed plaintiff’s opposition to motion for summary judgment in work-related injury; summary judgement denied and workers’ compensation affirmative defense stricken.