Jones v. Wachovia Bank – Limitation on Property Owner’s Ability to Testify Regarding Value

The decision in Jones v. Wachovia Bank (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 935 reminds us that all opinion testimony must be supported by reasonable foundation.  The underlying complaint was based on an allegation “the bank breached an agreement to postpone the trustee sale and, by reason of that breach, plaintiffs lost their equity in the property.” The …

Almanor Lakeside Villas Owners Ass’n v. Carson – $100,000 in Attorney’s Fees Awarded to Homeowners Association that Recovered $6,600 in Fines

Let me be up front – this author does not particularly care for homeowners’ associations.  In my opinion, they have too much power, which is often wielded with a heavy hand. Now comes the decision in Almanor Lakeside Villas Owners Ass’n v. Carson (April 19, 2016) __ Cal.Rptr.3d __, which only reinforces this view.  Here …

Salazar v. Matejcek – Treble Damages for Removal of Trees Under California Law

Civil Code section 3346 authorizes an award of treble damages for “wrongful injuries to timber, trees, or underwood upon the land of another, or removal thereof.”  The defendant in the recent case of Salazar v. Matejcek (Mar. 10, 2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 63 learned that this statute can support very substantial damages. The dispute concerned “a …

Ferguson v. Yaspan – Statute of Limitations Not Applicable to Defense Based on Rescission

In a lawsuit based on a contract, one party can seek relief based on the theory of rescission.  Rescission can be considered an equitable judicial remedy.  Under California Civil Code section 1689, rescission supports “extinction” of the obligation. Rescission can be pled as a basis for affirmative relief, or it can asserted as defense to …

Orcilla v. Big Sur, Inc. – Unconscionability in Loan Modification Supports Claim for Wrongful Foreclosure

The recent decision in Orcilla v. Big Sur, Inc. (Feb. 11, 2016) __ Cal. App.4th __ continues the litigation fallout from the second depression (referred to in other parts of the country as the Great Recession).  In Orcilla v. Big Sur, the lender completed a nonjudicial foreclosure on the plaintiff’s residence.  The borrower sued to …

Lawsuits in England in the 17th Century – As Bad as Today

The “High Commission” was a court specially established by the Crown in 1535 after the founding of the Church of England.  As the head of state was also the head of the church, heresy became, in effect, an act of treason, giving the Crown a special interest in ecclesiastical matters. The jurisdiction of the High …

Bankruptcy Filings Decrease Again in 2015

The federal bankruptcy courts publish detailed statistics on bankruptcy filings. California has four federal judicial districts, with Fresno located in the Eastern District. The 2011-2015 bankruptcy filings for the Eastern District of California continue to show a substantial decline, as shown in this table: Truly, the overall decline from 2011 to 2015 is astonishing, and …

Lord Mansfield and Sommersett’s Case

In 1927, Prof. William Holdsworth delivered four lectures on legal history to American audiences, which lectures were collected in Some Lessons from Our Legal History (The Macmillan Company 1928).  Holdsworth, a law professor at Oxford, held “the oldest University Chair in English law in the world,” a chair first held by William Blackstone in 1758. …

Interpretations of Legal History (The Macmillan Company 1923)

Roscoe Pound, dean of Harvard Law School, was an influential legal scholar with a large body of writings.  Some say he later contradicted himself; perhaps, but his earlier writings offer deep insight into the American legal system. (Pound was born in 1870, and was raised in Nebraska.  His chief academic training was as a botanist, …

Law School and Mental Health Issues

Prof. Andrew McClurg is the author of an excellent guide to the first year of law school.  Below are short excerpts relating to mental health issues that can affect law students. Self-Doubt Law school is the undisputed champion of causing talented people, people who have achieved at a high level their entire lives, to almost …