New Case Involves Specific Jurisdiction on Out-of-State Company

In January, I wrote about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman, limiting the exercise of general jurisdiction over a foreign company being sued in California when the claims presented did not occur in the state nor did the foreign company have substantial contacts with the state. It did not take long for the Daimler decision to make an impact here in California. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of San Francisco, (Court of Appeal Number A140035)(Opinion filed July 30, 2014), was a case where a non-resident pharmaceutical company was being sued by both resident...

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Silicon Valley Business Neighbors Fight Over Easement

Disputes between neighbors can often get heated and become fraught with emotion. Although the most common neighbor disputes involve residential properties, a conflict between a medical device company and a law firm in Silicon Valley shows how adjacent commercial property owners can also become entangled in contentious quarrels. Hoffman v. 162 North Wolfe LLC, (Sixth Appellate District Case Number H038643)(Opinion Filed July 15, 2014) Jonathon Owens and Thomas Haverstock were two patent attorneys in Sunnyvale. Their law firm, Haverstock & Owens, was a tenant in the building they owned at...

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Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing in Gay Jury Selection Case

On June 24, 2014, the Ninth Circuit denied a sua sponte call for a rehearing en banc by an active judge of the court, in SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Labs., Case Number 11-17357, (9th Cir. 2014) (opinion filed January 21, 2014). I previously wrote about this decision, concerning the application of heightened scrutiny to a peremptory strike of a juror who was perceived to be gay, in an antitrust lawsuit involving two pharmaceutical companies, here. In the January 21, 2014 decision, the Ninth Circuit held that during jury selection, equal protection prohibits peremptory strikes based on...

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California Supreme Declines to Impose AED Duty

On June 23, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Verdugo v. Target Corp., 704 F.3d 1044 (2012) and answered the Ninth Circuit’s certified question: “In what circumstances, if ever, does the common law duty of a commercial property owner to provide emergency first aid to invitees require the availability of an Automatic External Defibrillator (‘AED’) for cases of sudden cardiac arrest?” The Court concluded that past California decisions do not support a common law duty where businesses are obligated to acquire and maintain AEDs on their premises and therefore...

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Mistakes Re Future Little Defense to Breach of Contract

No one can predict the future. Instead, when entering into business agreements, the contracting parties assume that the current state of events will remain unchanged many years down the line. But the future is uncertain and a change in circumstances can often lead one party to forgo the entire value of the contract. A recent case from the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District shows how making critical assumptions can render performance financially untenable if those assumptions do not hold up. In these situations, the law provides little recourse for the aggrieved...

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Real Estate Brokers and Dual Agency

In California, a real estate broker is allowed to represent both the buyer and the seller in a residential real estate transaction so long as the required disclosures are made and the broker obtains the written consent of both the seller and the buyer. In this dual agency situation, the broker has a fiduciary duty to both the seller and the buyer and must exercise reasonable skill and care and disclose all facts that are known and may materially affect the value or desirability of the property. The dual agency situation is most straightforward when a single broker acts on behalf of both the...

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