[UPDATED THROUGH MARCH 23, 2016]
Does the Interim Adverse Judgment Rule Apply to Bar Malicious Prosecution after an Ultimate Finding of Bad Faith? After the Court of Appeal affirmed an order granting a special motion to strike, the Court granted review of the following issues: (1) Does the denial of former employees’ motion for summary judgment in an action for misappropriation of trade secrets conclusively establish that their former employer had probable cause to bring the action and thus preclude the employees’ subsequent action for malicious prosecution, even if the trial court in the prior action later found that it had been brought in bad faith? (2) Is the former employees’ malicious prosecution action against the employer’s former attorneys barred by the one-year statute of limitations in Code of Civil Procedure section 304.6? Parrish v. Latham & Watkins, S228277, (opinion below B244841, and after rehearing, formerly 238 Cal.App.4th 81). Review was granted 10/14/95.
Are Redacted Attorney Invoices Still Privileged? After the Court of Appeal granted a petition for peremptory writ of mandate, the Court granted review on the following issue: Are invoices for legal services sent to the County of Los Angeles by outside counsel within the scope of the attorney-client privilege and exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, even with all references to attorney opinions, advice and similar information redacted? Los Angeles County Bd. of Supervisors v. Superior Court, S226645, (opinion below B257230, formerly 235 Cal.App.4th 1154). Review was granted 7/8/15. Update 3/23/16: Review granted in Marina Coast Water Dist. v. Public Utilities Com., S230728 (original proceeding). Briefing deferred pending resolution of Los Angeles County Bd. of Supervisors.
Does Raising an Affirmative Defense Trigger the Attorney Fees Provision of Contract or Civil Code § 1717? After the Court of Appeal reversed an order denying attorney fees the Court granted review on the following issues: (1) Does the assertion of an agreement as an affirmative defense implicate the attorney fee provision in that agreement? (2) Does the term “action” or “proceeding” in Civil Code section 1717 and in attorney fee provisions encompass the assertion of an affirmative defense? Mountain Air Enterprises, LLC v. Sundowner Towers, LLC, S223536 (opinion below A138306, formerly 231 Cal.App.4th 805). Review was granted on 3/18/15.
Does Inadvertent Disclosure Through a Public Records Request Waive Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Protections? What is the Consequence to the Attorney who Refuses to Return Them? After the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court order, the Court granted review of the following issues: (1) Does inadvertent disclosure of attorney work product and privileged documents in response to a Public Records Act request waive those privileges and protections? (2) Should the attorney who received the documents be disqualified because she examined them and refused to return them? Ardon v. City of Los Angeles, S223876 (opinion below B252476, formerly 232 Cal.App.4th 175). Review was granted 3/11/15. Update 10/14/15: Review was granted in Newark Unified School Dist. v. Superior Court, S229112 (opinion below A142963, formerly 239 Cal.App.4th 33), after the Court of Appeal granted a petition for a peremptory writ of mandate. Briefing was deferred pending resolution of Ardon. Update 3/17/16: Opinion issued. The unanimous Court reversed the lower court orders and held that an inadvertent disclosure did not constitute a waiver under Gov. Code § 6254.5, and that a governmental entity’s inadvertent release of privileged documents under the Public Records Act does not waive the privilege. Since there were no lower court rulings on disqualification, that issue was remanded for further proceedings.
Can a Court Base Class Action Attorney Fees on a Common Fund Percentage? After the Court of Appeal affirmed a civil judgment, the Court granted review on the following issue: Does Serrano v. Priest (1977) 20 Cal.3d 25 permit a trial court to anchor its calculation of a reasonable attorney’s fees award in a class action on a percentage of the common fund recovered? Lafitte v. Robert Half Internat., Inc., S222996 (opinion below B249253, formerly 231 Cal.App.4th 860). Review was granted 2/25/15.
When Are Brandt Attorney Fees Considered Part of the Judgment?
After the Court of Appeal modified and affirmed the judgment in a civil action, the Court granted review on the following issue: Is an award of attorney fees under Brandt v. Superior Court (1985) 37 Cal.3d 813 properly included as compensatory damages for purposes of calculating the ratio between punitive and compensatory damages where the fees are awarded by the jury, but excluded from compensatory damages when they are awarded by the trial court after the jury has rendered its verdict? Nickerson v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co., S213873 (opinion below B234271, formerly 219 Cal.App.4th 188). Review granted on 12/11/13. Update 1/15/14: The Court limited briefing to the following issue: Is an award of attorney fees under Brandt v. Superior Court (1985) 37 Cal.3d 813 properly included as compensatory damages where the fees are awarded by the jury, but excluded from compensatory damages when they are awarded by the trial court after the jury has rendered its verdict? Update 3/2/16: Oral argument scheduled for 4/7/16. The briefs are here.
Can the Court Award Attorney Fees After Striking the Complaint for Lack of Jurisdiction? After the Court of Appeal reversed an order awarding attorney fees in a civil action, the Court granted review on the following issue: If the trial court grants a special motion to strike under CCP § 425.16 on the ground that the plaintiff has no probability of prevailing on the merits because the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the underlying dispute, does the court have the authority to award the prevailing party the attorney fees mandated by § 425.16(c)? Barry v. State Bar of California, S214058 (opinion below B242054, formerly 218 Cal.App.4th 1435). Review granted on 11/27/13.