Claim and Issue Preclusion Do Not Protect Tenants from Joint and Several Liability

March 21, 2016

The California Supreme Court recently clarified joint and several liability in multi-party contracts, finding jointly and severally liable parties may be sued in separate lawsuits. Read Ken Van Vleck’s article published by the American Bar Association, …

A Presumption In Favor of ‘California’ Employees

February 6, 2015

Technology workers from Bangalore, software instructors from Arizona and Colorado, truck drivers in San Diego, and cucumber harvesters in Gilroy, California… Cases involving workers as varied as these have helped form a body of wage-and-hour law that …

Homeowners’ Association Case May Signal Change in Unconscionability Analysis

December 13, 2012

In a case of first impression, the California Supreme Court ruled that, despite the apparent unconscionability of a developer negotiating an agreement “with itself,” the arbitration provision was nevertheless enforceable in Pinnacle Museum Tower Ass’n …

R.E.A.C.H. May 2012: Perpetual Lease Options

May 1, 2012

When does a lease grant a tenant the perpetual right to renew? The California Court of Appeal recently dealt with that issue in Ginsberg v. Gamson. It is a cautionary tale for those drafting leases, where the misplacement of a few words can lead to uni …

R.E.A.C.H. February 2012: Mechanic’s Lien Law Revisited

February 1, 2012

The California Mechanic’s Lien Laws have changed yet again in material ways. One of those changes is the new requirement that mechanic’s liens must be served upon the owner, with a statutory notice regarding the impact of mechanic’s liens.

Wage-and-Hour Challenges in Drug Sales

August 17, 2011

In the recent movie, “Love and Other Drugs,” the lead character Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal) gets a job as a pharmaceuti- cal sales representative (PSR). At a family dinner, Gyllenhaal’s messy, overweight, but very business-savvy brother, played by Josh Gad …

R.E.A.C.H. June 2011: Real Estate Broker Discipline

June 1, 2011

What level of proof is required before a real estate broker can be disciplined for his fraudulent conduct in acting as a broker? And what is the process for agent and broker discipline?

“Love and Other Drugs” in Real Life

April 18, 2011

In the recent movie “Love and Other Drugs,” the rakish, underachieving lead character Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal), gets a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative (PSR) on his way to a complicated romance with Maggie (Anne Hathaway). At a family dinner …

Landslide Liability Issues

April 11, 2011

With all of the recent rain in California, hillsides have been moving, houses slipping, and retaining walls failing. Who is liable for the damage?

IP Update

March 1, 2011

This IP Update highlights a case now pending before the United States Supreme Court concerning patent ownership rights as between inventors, private industry and the government in inventions developed using governmental grants. The outcome of the Court …

R.E.A.C.H. March 2011: Residential Sales – Debt Disclosure

March 1, 2011

Can a real estate sales person be held liable for the failure to inform potential buyers that the debt on a property exceeds the proposed sales price?

R.E.A.C.H. January 2011: Landslide Liability Issues

January 1, 2011

With all of the recent rain, hillsides have been moving, houses slipping, and retaining walls failing. Who is liable for the damage?

Season’s Greetings and Legal Challenges

November 24, 2010

As the holiday season approaches and employers eye their workloads and business days remaining in the year, many consider asking (or even requiring) some employees to work on a company-designated holiday.

R.E.A.C.H. October 2010: A Cautionary Tale for Landlords: Don’t Do Dumb Things

October 1, 2010

As one residential landlord recently discovered, it can be very costly to violate rent control ordinances, especially when there are unhappy tenants.

R.E.A.C.H. August 2010: Developer Cannot Enter Into Arbitration Agreement With Himself

August 1, 2010

The Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeal recently held that an arbitration agreement that was recorded as part of the initial CC&Rs in a condominium development was unenforceable. The agreement, recorded before any of the units were sold, was …

R.E.A.C.H. June 2010: Property Managers May Collect for Some Unlicensed Work

June 1, 2010

We have written many times about the impact of a contractor working without a license. But there is a similar law requiring that real estate agents be licensed as well. And while an unlicensed contractor may not collect for any work performed, the rule …

R.E.A.C.H. April 2010: Contractor Disgorgement Judgment May Be Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

April 1, 2010

We have written several times about the impact of California’s unlicensed contractor disgorgement law – Business and Professions Code section 7031(b). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, reviewing a bankruptcy matter, recently held that a judgment for d …

R.E.A.C.H. February 2010: Non-Refundable Escrow Deposits

February 1, 2010

When is a deposit to escrow in a residential real property transaction non-refundable? In early February, the Fourth Appellate District Court weighed in on this subject.

The Complications of Overtime Exemption Laws in a Service Economy

January 26, 2010

“Hello, I’m Ronald Reagan speaking for General Electric. At General Electric, you know, ‘progress is our most important product.’ But, all progress must have a starting point.

R.E.A.C.H. January 2010: Presumed Notice of Title Conditions

January 1, 2010

The Sixth Appellate District Court recently held that a home purchaser’s receipt of his deed constitutes “actual notice” of the conditions of title to the property even if the buyer does not read the deed. That actual notice starts the statute of limit …

R.E.A.C.H. October 2009: Contractors Must Disgorge All Money Received for Unlicensed Work

October 1, 2009

The law regarding unlicensed contractors has undergone significant change recently. This month we report on a recent appellate decision holding that an unlicensed contractor must disgorge all money received for the unlicensed work, without offset for c …

Sotomayor and Roger Traynor: The Job Interviews

September 24, 2009

All the focus on the speeches and writings of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor before her confirmation got me thinking. What would we see if we scrutinized the speeches and writings of the California Supreme Court’s former Chief Justice, Roger Tra …

R.E.A.C.H. September 2009: New Case Law on Equitable Easements

September 1, 2009

The law of equitable easements has changed, and the impact may be substantial.

R.E.A.C.H. July 2009: Loss of Broker’s License for $100 Misdemeanor Conviction

July 1, 2009

A real estate brokers’ license may be suspended or revoked by the Department of Real Estate based upon the broker’s conviction of a crime that is “substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which …

R.E.A.C.H. June 2009: Loss of Contractor’s License by Worker’s Compensation Fraud

June 1, 2009

California’s Insurance Commissioner recently identified worker’s compensation fraud as a pervasive problem in the construction industry. But the risks of worker’s compensation fraud have increased substantially, and the practice may be curtailed signif …

R.E.A.C.H. May 2009: No Lis Pendens in Arbitration

May 1, 2009

The court of appeal has held that an arbitration is not an “action” that will support the recording of a lis pendens on title to real property.

R.E.A.C.H. March 2009: Unlicensed Contractors Work for Free

March 1, 2009

The California Supreme Court decided a case with far‐reaching implications in the construction industry, holding that a contractor unlicensed for even a small portion of a large job cannot get paid for any part of that job. The decision may have nation …

R.E.A.C.H. February 2009: Enforceable Option Agreements

February 1, 2009

THIS ISSUE: In September 2007, we reported on a court of appeal decision holding that an option purchase agreement in a residential lease was unenforceable because it was too uncertain. Recently, however, the California Supreme Court has reversed that …

R.E.A.C.H. January 2009: Property Owner Protection from Tenant Mechanic’s Liens

January 1, 2009

THIS ISSUE: Commercial property tenant improvements can be costly. In an economic environment where tenants may be financially uncertain, can property owners protect themselves from mechanic’s liens relating to those tenant improvements?

R.E.A.C.H. December 2008: Exclusive Use Easements

December 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: Typically, courts do not interpret an easement as an “exclusive use” right in land, since such a use would preclude all others – including the owner of the land – from using it. But one recent case held that the clear language of a granted …

R.E.A.C.H. November 2008: Guarantor Risks After Foreclosure

November 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: The California Court of Appeal recently held that some guarantors may be liable for a loan deficiency judgment after a foreclosure sale on real property, while others may not.1 The decision follows long California precedent, but may be ripe …

R.E.A.C.H. October 2008: Easements Extinguished by Merger

October 1, 2008

reach_1008 THIS ISSUE: One person’s ownership of two parcels of land will extinguish easements benefitting either of the parcels through the process of “merger.” But what happens when the parcels are owned by multiple parties?

R.E.A.C.H. September 2008: Protecting Arbitration Rights in Lien Proceedings

September 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: How can parties to a construction contract guard against the inadvertent loss of contractual rights to arbitration in lien enforcement proceedings?

R.E.A.C.H. August 2008: Disguised Option Agreements

August 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: When does an option to purchase real property become an enforceable contract of sale? Can an option agreement be unilaterally cancelled?

R.E.A.C.H. July 2008: Mandatory Mediation Enforcement

July 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: Most residential purchase agreements contain a mandatory mediation agreement. California courts have upheld this provision, and the resulting waiver of the right to recover attorney fees for breach.

R.E.A.C.H. June 2008: California Solar Rights Act

June 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: Seeking to promote the use of solar energy in California, the Legislature passed the California Solar Rights Act in 1978. This Act has recently received a lot of public attention, both in court and out.

R.E.A.C.H. May 2008: When Do Real Estate Agents Become Contractors?

May 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: Often in the sale of real property, money is held back in the transaction to be used to complete certain repairs to the home. If the real estate agent takes charge of organizing the repairs and paying the contractors, does the agent become …

R.E.A.C.H. April 2008: Progress Payment Penalty Statutes

April 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: The California Court of Appeal has held that the “final payment” owed to a contractor is not a “progress payment,” the improper withholding of which would entitle a contractor to progress payment penalties. How does this impact contractors …

R.E.A.C.H. March 2008: Recovering Attorney Fees

March 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: Most real estate purchase agreements contain some form of prevailing party attorney fees provision. Understanding how those provisions work, and the pitfalls associated with them can enhance a litigation negotiation position significantly.

R.E.A.C.H. February 2008: Equity Home Sales Bond Requirements

February 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: Home Equity Sales involve a number of statutory require‐ ments. But a recent court decision has potentially eliminated the bond requirement we discussed in the June 2007 R.E.A.C.H. issue.

R.E.A.C.H. January 2008: Unenforceable Granted Easements

January 1, 2008

THIS ISSUE: When are valid granted easements unenforceable?

R.E.A.C.H. December 2007: Construction Defect Symptoms

December 1, 2007

THIS ISSUE: Finding and understanding the symptoms of residential construction defects.

R.E.A.C.H. November 2007: Commercial Tenancies in Changing Market Conditions

November 1, 2007

THIS ISSUE: Defending or terminating Commercial Tenancies in times of changing market conditions.