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Recent Blog Posts

Voluntary Dismissals’ Impact on Attorney’s Fee Provisions in California Contracts

Many contracts provide that in the event of a lawsuit the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover its reasonable attorney’s fees.  One would naturally think that the defendant is the prevailing party when a lawsuit has been dismissed.  This common-sense assumption can lead to unfortunate errors in legal strategy, however. Section 1717(b)(2) of the […]

What to Do When an Employee Becomes a Competitor

A Guide for Businesses Large and Small. Immediate First Steps When key personnel leave to start or to join a competing business, there is often a scramble to save clients and to focus on damage control.  The company should also immediately undertake two measures to preserve its legal rights. First, the company should take steps […]

Update: The Right to Cumis Counsel

A recurring issue in business litigation concerns when an insured may choose its own counsel in a dispute tendered to its insurer.  A recent California case clarifies the current criteria governing this issue.  St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company v. McMillin Homes Construction, Inc., 2016 WL 5464553, (S.D. Cal. Sept. 29, 2016). Under standard general liability […]

Enforcing Arbitration Clauses

Last month, my colleague, Alan Steinbrecher, discussed the risks of electing to litigate despite the existence of a binding arbitration provision.  This month, I will explore two recent California court decisions that demonstrate the different views courts take of the enforceability of such provisions. In the first case, the Ninth Circuit held that a motion […]

Beware Waiting to Compel Arbitration

Some defendants, when facing a lawsuit filed in federal court, may elect to litigate in that court even though a binding arbitration provision is available to them. The reasons for doing so may be unimpeachable, such as availability of certain types of relief or the potential for precedential decisions. A strategy to delay making that […]