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Commercial Law

[06/26] Crupar-Weinmann v. Paris Baguette America, Inc.
Dismissal of a class-action suit alleging a willful violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) is affirmed because subsequent legislation clarified that receipts with credit card expiration dates do not raise a material risk of identity theft and no specific harm was alleged.

[06/21] Stadnick v. Vivint Solar, Inc.
In a securities class action complaint, the plaintiff wanted the court to apply a 1st Circuit test for financial disclosures and argued they were misled by the company, but the Court of Appeals declined to adopt the 1st Circuit test and concluded the shareholders were not misled, affirming the district court's decision.

[06/21] Monster, LLC v. Beats Electronics, LLC
In a petition for writ of mandate in an underlying tort action in which Monster alleged that Beats Electronics engaged in fraud to deprive them of interest in the company, and the headphone manufacturer filed cross-claims for breach of contract and argued that the court, rather than a jury, could determine the amount of damages, the petition is granted where defendant is entitled to a jury trial on the issue of attorney's fees.

[06/21] The Park at Cross Creek v. City of Malibu
In an action by a real estate developer seeking to strike down a voter initiative designed to limit developments, the trial court's decision is affirmed where the measure at issue exceeded the initiative power and was illegal.

[06/20] SJJC Aviation Services v. City of San Jose
In a case involving an airport lease and operating agreement, brought by a company alleging that the city had a flawed bidding process, the trial court's denial of plaintiff's leave to amend its petition and complaint is affirmed.

[06/14] Retail Digital Network LLC v. Prieto
In an action challenging, on First Amendment grounds, California Business and Professions Code section 25503(f)-(h), which prohibits alcohol manufacturers and wholesalers from providing anything of value to retailers in exchange for advertising their alcohol products, the district court's summary judgment in favor of the Acting Director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is affirmed by an en banc court where: 1) thirty years ago, in Actmedia, Inc. v. Stroh, 830 F.2d 957 (9th Cir. 1986), this Circuit rejected a First Amendment challenge to the same California and Professions Code provision; and 2) the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc., 564 U.S. 552 (2011) did not modify the Central Hudson test that been applied in Actmedia.

[06/08] Williams v. American Honda Finance
In a putative class action brought by a borrower-plaintiff against an auto loan financier that repossessed plaintiff's car after she defaulted on the loan and sent her two notices in connection with its efforts to sell the car and collect any deficiency owed on the loan--a pre-sale notice and a post-sale notice--alleging that each of the two notices violated the Uniform Commercial Code and Massachusetts consumer protection laws, three questions are certified to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court pursuant to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rule 1:03.

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Corporation & Enterprise Law

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Probate Trusts

[06/01] Raymond Loubier Irrevocable Trust v. Noella Loubier
In an inheritance dispute pertaining to the assets of the deceased, as conveyed to various revocable and irrevocable trusts in the deceased's name and that of his wife, the district court's dismissal of the complaint based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction is vacated and remanded where, because the plaintiff trusts are traditional common law fiduciary agreements, and, further, because they are not separate juridical entities under the relevant state law of Florida, the citizenship of their trustees controls a diversity determination.

[05/09] Higgins v. Higgins
In a trust case in which a wife agreed to hold funds in trust for her husband's elderly stepmother, and after her husband's death, the wife changed the form of the accounts and used the funds for her own purpose, the trial court's judgment in favor of wife-defendant under Code of Civil Procedure section 631.8 is reversed where, despite the form of the bank accounts, when clear and convincing evidence shows funds were transferred to an account owner to hold in an irrevocable trust for a third party beneficiary and the trustee repudiates the trust, a constructive trust may be imposed on the funds for the beneficiary's estate to prevent unjust enrichment.

[05/08] US v. Cardaci
In an action involving the Government's attempts to collect unpaid taxes assessed against a homeowner, seeking a judicial sale of the home, the district court's judgment, that a forced sale would be inequitable and order that the homeowner make monthly rent payments to the Government instead, is: 1) affirmed as to the district court?s authority to consider whether the property should be subject to a forced sale; but 2) vacated and remanded for recalculation of the ownership interests in the property and reconsideration of the equitable factors weighing for and against a sale.

[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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[06/06] Pruter v. Local 210's Pension Tr. Fund
In an action seeking damages for fraud, breach of contract and violation of an employee benefit plan, the district court's dismissal of the claims is: 1) affirmed in part where plaintiffs' state law claims arise under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) and are thus preempted; but 2) vacated in part as to dismissal of the RLA claims, as those claims bear a close resemblance to claims brought pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Securities Act (ERISA), and it is appropriate to borrow and apply ERISA's three?year statute of limitations rather than the six?month limitations period the district court borrowed from Section 10(b) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

[05/30] BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell
In a suit brought in Montana state court under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. section 51 et seq., which makes railroads liable in money damages to their employees for on-the-job injuries, the Montana Supreme Court's decision that Montana courts could exercise general personal jurisdiction over the railroad defendant, because the railroad 'did business' in the State within the meaning of 45 U.S.C. section 56, is reversed where section 56 does not address personal jurisdiction over railroads.

[05/24] Guarantee Fork Lift v. Capacity of Texas
In a statutory claim for the termination of a vehicle franchise without good cause in violation of Vehicle Code sections 11713.3, 3060, 3061 and 3066, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant is reversed where the court erred in ruling that because plaintiff was not a 'licensee' under section 11726, it lacked standing to bring a private cause of action based on the alleged violation.

[05/03] Hickcox-Huffman v. US Airways, Inc.
In a putative class action alleging claims against an airline defendant for refunds passengers paid as baggage fees, the district court's Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) dismissal, based on preemption by the Airline Deregulation Act, is reversed where: 1) plaintiff passenger pleaded breach of contract; and 2) plaintiff sufficiently alleged that the airline promised under the terms of transportation to deliver her bag when she landed.

[05/01] McDonough v. City of Portland
In a suit challenging the system by which the City of Portland distributes permits for taxis to pick up passengers at the Portland International Jetport, alleging the City unconstitutionally denied plaintiff the opportunity to apply for a permit on the basis of his race and national origin, the district court's grant of summary judgment is affirmed where plaintiff did not have standing to bring his constitutional challenge.

[04/14] Wortman v. All Nipon Airways
In a suit alleging that defendant airlines colluded to fix the prices of certain passenger tickets and fuel surcharges on flights between the United States and Asia, in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, the district court?s partial denial of defendants' motions for summary judgment is affirmed where the filed rate doctrine did not preclude a suit for antitrust damages challenging defendants' unfiled fares, fuel surcharges, or special 'discount' fares.

[04/13] Sumrall v. Modern Alloys, Inc.
In an injury and tort action arising from plaintiff employee's collision with a motorcycle while commuting to defendant employer's yard and claim of respondeat superior liability, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant is reversed where it's a material, triable issue of fact whether plaintiff's drive from his home to the yard was part of his commute or a business errand performed on the way to the jobsite.

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