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Author: Long & Levit

June 2, 2011

Clark v. Superior Court (Verisign) (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 37

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Download Publication The Fourth District affirms the trial court’s disqualification of counsel for reviewing and failing to immediately return attorney-client privileged documents. Grant Clark, represented by Higgs, Fletcher & Mack LLP (“Higgs”), sued VeriSign, Inc. for wrongful termination.  The trial court disqualified Higgs after it found the firm had received and excessively reviewed privileged documents.  […]

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May 25, 2011

Fair v. Bakhtiari (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1135

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The First District holds that an attorney engaging in ongoing serious ethical violations is not entitled to quantum meruit fee recovery. R. Thomas Fair began representing Karl E. Bakhtiari when he sought legal advice about real estate investments.  Fair and Bakhtiari went into business together and operated under an oral agreement.  For over a decade […]

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May 24, 2011

Orange County Water District v. The Arnold Engineering Company

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The Fourth District would not disqualify a law firm representing a public entity under a contingency fee agreement because the action was not brought on the public’s behalf, but in the entity’s own name to recover compensatory damages. The Orange County Water District incurred costs to investigate contamination in groundwater aquifers.  It retained Miller, Axline […]

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May 5, 2011

Lemmer v. Charney (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 99

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The Second District holds that a provision in a contingency fee agreement that mandated the case proceed to settlement or trial was void as against public policy. Don Lemmer represented Jeffrey Charney on an hourly basis in a lawsuit against Charney’s former employer Teleflora LLC.  After several months, the parties entered into a new contingency […]

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May 5, 2011

In Re Marriage Of Davenport (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1507

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The First District holds attorney conduct warrants substantial sanctions. Michael and Andrew Watters of O’Brien Watters & Davis LLP represented Jill Davenport in her dissolution.  Her former husband Ken Davenport was represented by multiple different law firms.  The proceedings were extensive, and generated nineteen volumes of court files, considered outrageous in a family law case. […]

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April 27, 2011

Gutierrez v. Giradi (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 925

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The Second District holds that the case-with-a-case proof of causation generally applicable to malpractice and breach of fiduciary duties claims is irrelevant to claims that an attorney misappropriated settlement funds. Luis Gutierrez was represented in a class action against his employer Lockheed Corporation by Thomas Girardi and his law firm.  Over a ten year period […]

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April 19, 2011

Callahan v. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 557

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The Second District holds that actual injury sufficient to trigger the statute of limitations did not occur at the time a partnership agreement was drafted, but sixteen years later, when the dissolution provision of the agreement was triggered or when plaintiffs began to incur legal fees in response to a third party’s attempt to dissolve […]

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April 6, 2011

Liberty National Enterprises, LP v. Chicago Title Insurance Co. (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 839

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The Second District holds that a delayed motion to disqualify filed after counsel had achieved partial success on the merits, and premised on unrelated prior representation, was properly denied. Liberty National Enterprises, L.P. (Liberty) retained Donald McDougal to sue its title insurer, Chicago Title Insurance Company (Chicago), for bad faith.  After two years of litigation […]

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March 22, 2011

Banning Ranch Conservancy v. Superior Court (City of Newport Beach) (2011) 193 Cal.App. 4th 903

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The Fourth District holds that a “framework” fee agreement designed to expedite future engagements did not create an open-ended disqualifying attorney-client relationship. Banning Ranch Conservancy (Conservancy) retained Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger (the Shute firm) to challenge the City of Newport Beach’s (City) plan to build a four-lane divided highway on its land.  The City filed […]

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March 22, 2011

Vafi v. McCloskey (2011) 193 Cal.App.4th 874 903

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The Second District holds that the statute of limitations for claims made by non-clients against attorneys acting in their professional capacity is governed by C.C.P. § 340.6 Sassan Vafi and Kathleen Keller filed counter suits against each other in connection with a trademark dispute.  Vafi lost his claims on the pleadings and Keller later dismissed […]

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