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Case Summaries

Bankruptcy Law

[10/16] In re Cherrett
In a bankruptcy action, the court held that the bankruptcy court's order denying a motion to dismiss debtor's Chapter 7 petition under 11 U.S.C. section 707(b) constitutes a final, appealable order and that the bankruptcy court did not err in finding debtor's housing loan from his employer to be a non-consumer debt.

[10/02] In Re Walldesign
Affirming the district court's order reversing the bankruptcy order that would have let a committee of unsecured creditors could recover fraudulently transferred funds solely from a corporate cheat because the appellate court agreed with the district court that the committee could also recover funds from the parties to whom the cheat made payments from the corporate account because the 'good guys' involved in these dealings were still in a better position than unsuspecting creditors to guard against corporate fraud.

[09/28] In Re J and S Properties LLC
Affirming the district court's support for a US Bankruptcy Court decision that qualified immunity applies to discretionary actions taken by a trustee to preserve a bankruptcy estate's assets.

[09/28] Higgins v. The Superior Court of San Diego County
Issuing an order to show cause and grant a petition for writ challenging the trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss on account of the failure by the case initiator to serve them with a summons and complaint within three years of the commencement of the action because the nondebtor party's service of process was not subject to a an automatic stay upon filing of the bankruptcy petition.

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Family Law

[10/06] In Re The Marriage of Minerva and Cesar Kalinawan
Reversing a trial court order dismissing the appellant's request for a finding of nullity of marriage because the court erred in granting the wife's in limine motion based on the conclusion that the husband was estopped from challenging the validity of the wife's divorce from her previous husband because he hadn't been a party to the prior divorce and as such the doctrine of quasi-estoppel did not apply.

[10/06] Christensen v. Lightbourne
Reversing the judgment of the trial court that the California Department of Social Services' policy of counting child support payment as nonexempt income for the purpose of determining qualification for CalWORKs cash aid was invalid because no statute or regulation required the exemption of the husband's garnished child support from the income of the applicant's family and, therefore, the Department properly treated these amounts as income.

[10/02] Jennifer S. v. San Francisco Human Services Agency
Denying petitions for extraordinary relief in the case of a pair of parents of a child whose reunification with their infant daughter was denied because the court felt that they hadn't made enough effort to address their long-standing substance abuse problems, the issue that had resulted in the termination of reunification services and parental rights of the child's sibling who had previously been taken from them because the record sufficiently supported the juvenile court's determinations.

[09/27] In Re Kevin J. and Cathy Berman
Affirming the trial court's ruling that a retiree seeking to modify his spousal support order had transferred his business in bad faith to avoid support obligations and ruling that the business could continue to be imputed to him for spousal support purposes.

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Contracts

[09/26] Sargon Enterprises, Inc. v. Browne George Ross LLP
Reversing in part the trial court's confirmation of an arbitrator determination that a legal malpractice claim had been barred by an earlier release of claims entered into by the parties and that the filing of a malpractice action in superior court resulted in a breach of contract because the arbitrator erred in finding that an arbitration agreement included a promise to forego litigation because the plaintiff had a statutory right under the California Arbitration Act to seek a preliminary determination of arbitrability from a court.

[09/25] Mission Beverage Company v. Pabst Brewing Company, LLC
Affirming the trial court's denial of a beer brewer's motion to strike a complaint filed by a distributor who alleged breach of contract in the termination of their distribution agreement because the cancellation of a contract that is expected to be followed by negotiation and possibly arbitration doesn't qualify as protected activity under the anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) statute and the ousted distributor's suit did not lack minimal merit on account of its termination and compensation clauses.

[09/25] Mission Beverage Company v. Pabst Brewing Company, LLC
Affirming the trial court's denial of a beer brewer's motion to strike a complaint filed by a distributor who alleged breach of contract in the termination of their distribution agreement because the cancellation of a contract that is expected to be followed by negotiation and possibly arbitration doesn't qualify as protected activity under the anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) statute and the ousted distributor's suit did not lack minimal merit on account of its termination and compensation clauses.

[09/15] Dowling v. Pension Plan for Salaried Employees of Union Pacific Corporation and Affiliates
Affirming the decision of a retirement plan administrator, affirmed by the district court, interpreting an ambiguous retirement plan who provided the plaintiff with a lower monthly retirement payment than was expected because the ambiguousness of the document granted the administrator the discretion to interpret its terms and the existence of a conflict of interest did not result in a heightened standard of review.

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Tax Law

[10/10] JetSuite, Inc. v. County of Los Angeles
Affirming the trial court's denial of a writ petition by an air taxi service seeking to avoid tax liability in Los Angeles because it claimed to be based out of Utah despite spending more than 60 percent of their time in Los Angeles because there was substantial evidence supporting the finding that the company failed to prove that any other state had acquired tax situs over the jets.

[09/27] Luz Solar Partners Ltd. III v. San Bernadino County
Affirming the decision of the Assessment Appeals Board of San Bernadino County relating to the assessed value of real property improved with solar energy generating systems for tax purposes.

[09/26] Hyatt v. Yee
Affirming a district court ruling that the Tax Injunction Act prevents it from enjoining, suspending, or restraining the assessment, levy, or collection of a tax under State law where a plain, speedy, and efficient remedy may be had in state court.

[09/20] US v. Brooks
Modifying orders relating to the conviction of a man for multiple counts of securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and tax offenses because the convict's death resulted in the abatement of the counts of conviction, forfeiture, fine, special assessment , and restitution for offenses contested at trail, but the forfeiture of a bail bond did not abate, nor did the convictions and order of restitution imposed on tax counts.

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