November 2016 Update
All cases, statutes, rules, and regulations have been updated to reflect relevant developments that occurred since last publication. Significant developments in each chapter are listed below. Note that the Judicial Council and California Legislature have been updating the rules and codes to integrate electronic service and filing, as well as use of other technologies, into basic procedures. All of those changes are noted where relevant in the text. See, e.g., §§2.34, 4.22.
Opening a Law Office. The chapter has been updated to reflect changes in technology and practical advice on integrating it into an effective and ethical practice. See §§1.25, 1.27, 1.43, 1.45. See §1.87 for updated State Bar Rules on fee arbitration. Note that a draft revision of the California Rules of Professional Conduct is available for review on the State Bar's website at http://ethics.calbar.ca.gov/Committees/RulesCommission2014/ProposedRules.aspx.
Alternative Dispute Resolution. The California Supreme Court held that both procedural and substantive unconscionability must exist before a contract or arbitration provision will be found unconscionable. See discussion of Sanchez v Valencia Holding Co. (2015) 61 C4th 899 in §2.53. The Rules of Court around the use of documentary evidence in arbitrations have been updated to provide for electronic delivery of documentary evidence; see §2.34. See §2.47 for updated ethics standards for neutrals involved in arbitration.
Preparing, Filing, and Serving Complaints and Answers. When a case has been reclassified from limited to unlimited (or the reverse), the caption must reflect the reclassification. See §3.23. Judicial Council forms for fee waivers are available online and may be filled out online; see §3.47.
Pretrial Discovery. The discussion of discovery motions to compel in chapter 4 has been completely rewritten, with new practice tips added. See §§4.73A–4.81. Deposition notices must include a statement disclosing contracts between a noticing party (or party financing the litigation) and the deposition officer; see §4.18B.
Law and Motion Practice. California Rules of Court 3.670(h) has been amended to add a provision to allow a party to appear by telephone without the notice required, on a showing of good cause or unforeseen circumstances. See §5.81 for discussion of the change. Renewed application for reconsideration of a motion for relief from default must comply with CCP §1008 requirements. See Even Zohar Constr. & Remodeling, Inc. v Bellaire Townhouses, LLC (2015) 61 C4th 830, cited in §5.96 and discussed in §5.102. California Rules of Ct 2.251 on electronic service has been amended to provide for electronic service by or on a court. See §5.92 for discussion.
Personal Injury. In the area of product liability, there have been a few recent cases on the topic of whether a manufacturer has a duty to warn when its product's use as intended in conjunction with another product results in a substantial increase of danger to the users. See Sherman v Hennessy (2015) 237 CA4th 1133, and other recent cases discussed in §7.108. A handful of recent cases have challenged the MICRA cap on noneconomic damages but to no avail. See §7.119 for discussion of Chan v Curran (2015) 237 CA4th 601 and other cases.
Uncontested Marital Dissolution. Note that a preliminary declaration of disclosure is not required when a petitioner serves a dissolution petition by publication and the respondent defaults. See discussion of Fam C §2104(f) in §8.16. Effective January 1, 2017, new Fam C §70 redefines date of separation and abrogates the decisions in Marriage of Davis (2015) 61 C4th 846 and Marriage of Norviel (2002) 102 CA4th 1152. See Legislation Alert in §8.26.
Employment. For a recent district court case analyzing whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor, see §9.3. Both federal and California law have been amended to provide for equal pay for substantially similar work (as opposed to €œequal€ work). See discussion in §9.17. See Alberts v Aurora Behavioral Health Care (2016) 241 CA4th 388, cited in §9.37A, analyzing employer policies and practices on rest and meal breaks.
Worker's Compensation. The California Supreme Court has granted review in King v CompPartners, Inc. (review granted April 13, 2016, S232197; superseded opinion at 243 CA4th 685), which held that a physician who provides utilization review (UR) services in a worker's compensation claim may owe the injured worker a duty of care that extends beyond the exclusivity of the Workers' Compensation Act. See §10.3 for a note discussing the case. For a recent case analyzing whether a slip and fall resulting in significant psychiatric disability was caused by €œsudden and extraordinary€ employment conditions, see §10.42. California legislation taking effect July 1, 2017, requires a Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule (MTUS) to include a drug formulary. See discussion of Lab C §5307.27(b)–(c) in §10.55. Independent Medical Review (IMR) time limits continue to be the subject of litigation. See Stevens v WCAB (2015) 241 CA4th 1074, and §10.96 for discussion.
Residential Landlord-Tenant Issues. A tenancy can be created by occupancy with consent; see Mosser Cos. v. SF Rent Stabilization & Arbitration Board (2015) 233 CA4th 505, discussed in §11.2. Limitations on recovery of attorney fees may be based on language in the rental agreement (511 S. Park View, Inc. v Tsantis (2015) 240 CA4th Supp 44) or by statute (Dorsey v Superior Court (2015) 241 CA4th 583). See §11.7 for discussion. A landlord who intends to apply pesticide to its property, whether with or without a licensed pesticide control operator, must provide notice to its tenants. See discussion of CC §1940.8.5 in §11.28. See §11.32 for new discussions of a tenant's right to use a clothesline, grow fruits and vegetables in containers, and install an electric vehicle charging station. The Unruh Civil Rights Act now provides protection against discrimination on the basis of citizenship, primary language, and immigration status. See §§11.37, 11.82 for discussion of CC §51(b).
Sale of Residence. The amount of taxes a buyer must withhold from a foreign seller's proceeds on the sale of a piece of real property has increased to 15 percent if the sale price exceeds $1 million; see §12.84. The Unruh Civil Rights Act now provides protection against discrimination on the basis of citizenship, primary language, and immigration status. See §12.91 for discussion of CC §51(b). Antideficiency protection under CCP §580b applies to short sales. See §12.100, discussing the recent case of Coker v JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA (2016) 62 C4th 667.
Personal Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy forms were substantially revised and renumbered in December 2015. All citations to them throughout the text have been updated.
Estate Planning and Drafting. Reporting requirements regarding the basis of property acquired from a decedent have been revised. See Note in §15.50 for discussion.
Debt Collection. The maximum amount of disposable earnings subject to a general earnings withholding order has been revised. See §16.97.