By

Mark Roth
Until recently, inverse condemnation remained a relatively arcane area of California law. A spate of wildfires, spawning litigation by homeowners and their subrogating insurers, has breathed new life into this liability theory. Inverse condemnation is an eminent domain action initiated by the property owner, rather than the government. Essentially, it is unintended eminent domain-i.e., the...
The Right to Repair Act has reared its ugly head again. In Elliott Homes, Inc. v. Superior Court (Hicks) 2016 DJAR 11930, the Third Appellate District issued a writ of mandate ordering a stay of pending litigation until plaintiffs satisfied the pre-litigation procedures mandated by the Right to Repair Act. Plaintiffs brought a construction defect...
The California Supreme Court recently addressed whether a party that voluntarily dismisses an action, in exchange for a settlement payment, is entitled to recovery of costs as “the prevailing party.” In deSaulles v Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula 2016 DJDAR 2364, the Supreme Court resoundingly answered that question in the affirmative. The deSaulles case...
Confronted with a bevy of wildfire and flood claims, public and private utilities frequently contend that the instrumentality responsible for causing damage does not constitute a “public use” required for an inverse condemnation claim. The California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, in the City of Pasadena v Superior Court recently addressed whether a tree...
California Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6 was enacted in 1981 to provide a summary procedure to enforce settlements. That statute provides that a settlement may be enforced by motion either when an agreement is signed by all parties outside the presence of the court or when the settlement terms are placed on the record...
 The California Supreme Court, in Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (2014) DJDAR 8787, recently held that an architect which serves as principal architect on a project owes a duty of care to future homeowners in the design of a residential building. Such architects owe that duty of care even when they do not actually...
Christmas has come early for the California subrogation community! A recent decision from the Court of Appeals has held that the 2002 “Right to Repair Act” (aka SB 800) does not apply to cases in which a property owner has suffered actual damages. In a well-reasoned opinion, the court in Liberty Mutual Insurance Company v....
  In the throes of the dog days of Summer, a recent California decision has placed a chilling effect on voluntary dismissals. In Loong v Superior Court, 2013 DJAR 9593, the Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, held that a voluntary dismissal of an action constitutes conclusion of an action. Such a dismissal, therefore, provides...
A California court has given new meaning to the judicial maxim “on a clear day you can foresee forever!”  In Collins v Navistar 2013 DJAR 4169, the Court of Appeals, Third Appellate District, held that a manufacturer could be held strictly liable for damages allegedly caused by a defectively designed truck windshield.  In Collins, it...
Just days after ending a disappointing football season, USC scored a major legal victory in the California Supreme Court.  In Sargon Enterprises v. University of Southern California, 2012 DJAR 15846, a Court of Appeals ruling permitting expert testimony on potential lost profits was reversed.  This case is significant as it brings California law on the...
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