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Case Summaries

Corporation & Enterprise Law

[04/12] Applied Medical Corporation v. Thomas
In a corporate governance action, arising from plaintiff corporation's suit over the exercise of its right to repurchase shares of its stock, given to defendant under a stock incentive plan for outside directors on its board, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant is: 1) reversed because plaintiff's conversion claim could be based on either ownership or the right to possession at the time of conversion; and 2) affirmed because plaintiff's fraud claims were not timely under either the discovery rule or relation back doctrine, and thus barred by the statute of limitations.

[04/06] Stein v. AXIS Ins. Co.
In an action against two insurance companies, brought by a plaintiff-insured who was denied coverage under a D&O policy because he was convicted of securities fraud, the trial court's judgment sustaining defendants' demurrer and dismissing the complaint is: 1) affirmed in part where the AXIS demurrer was properly sustained because AXIS was a stranger to the HCC policy and owed no duties connected with it; but 2) reversed in part where the HCC demurrer was improperly sustained because when a policy expressly provides coverage for litigation expenses on appeal, an exclusion requiring repayment to the insurer upon a 'final determination' of the insured's culpability applies only after the insured's direct appeals have been exhausted.

[03/28] Charney v. Standard General
In a suit brought by the former CEO of American Apparel whose employment was terminated following an investigation into allegations that he engaged in various types of misconduct, alleging several causes of action rooted in plaintiff's claim that the press release announcing his termination contained false and defamatory information about him, the trial court's grant of defendant's order granting an anti-SLAPP motion, Code Civ. Proc. section 425.16, is affirmed where plainitiff did not satisfy his burden of showing there was a minimal chance his claims would succeed at trial.

[03/24] Tract No. 7260 Assn. v. Parker
In an action brought by a member of a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation to inspect the corporation's membership list, and other books and records, the trial court's denial of the plaintiff's petition for writ of mandate to compel inspection, on grounds that the member sought the inspection for an improper purpose, unrelated to his interest as a member of the corporation, and findings that the corporation did not timely challenge the request for the membership list as required by statute, and therefore ordered the list disclosed, is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) substantial evidence supports the trial court?s finding that the member sought the information for an improper purpose; and 2) the corporation's challenge to disclosing the membership list was not barred by statute.

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Probate Trusts

[04/20] Bresler v. Wilmington Trust Co.
In a breach of contract action brought by personal representatives of an estate, the district court's judgment that trustee-defendant breached an agreement to lend money for the acquisition, maintenance, and certain investments relating to life insurance policies obtained for plaintiffs, is affirmed over defendant's arguments that the district court erred in admitting testimony from the plaintiffs' expert witness, the jury verdict including the award of damages was not supported by the evidence, and additional terms of the district court's order also were not supported by the evidence.

[04/20] US v. Harris
In a case in which the beneficiary owes restitution ordered following his 1997 conviction, the district court's decision that a writ of continuing garnishment attaches to a beneficiary's interest in discretionary support trusts is affirmed where the beneficiary's interest in the trusts, which were established by his parents for his support, qualifies as 'property' under 28 U.S.C. sections 3002(12), 3205(a) and 18 U.S.C. section 3613(c).

[04/19] Tepper v. Wilkins
In a suit among siblings on behalf of plaintiff's 88-year-old mother, claiming plaintiff's siblings' actions individually and while serving as trustees of mother?s revocable living trust constituted financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult, the trial court's judgment, sustaining defendant's demurrer without leave to amend and dismissing plaintiff's elder abuse action on standing grounds, is affirmed where: 1) the cause of action for elder financial abuse belongs to mother as the real party in interest; and 2) the court did not err in sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend.

[04/04] US Small Business Admin. v. Bensal
In the SBA's action seeking to satisfy a default judgment assigned to it, arising after the default on a loan that SBA guaranteed between a private bank and defendant's company, the district court's judgment in favor of the SBA is affirmed where: 1) the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act (FDCPA)'s 'fraudulent transfer' provision allows the federal government to void a fraudulent transfer by a debtor owing a debt to the United States; 2) the FDCPA displaced California's disclaimer law, California Probate Code section 283; 3) defendant's disclaimer constituted a transfer of property under the FDCPA, and California disclaimer law did not operate to prevent the SBA from reaching defendant's trust share; and 4) defendant owed a 'debt' to the United States.

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