Friday, December 22, 2017

Lippman v. City of Oakland, A141865

Writ of mandate:

"A traditional writ of mandate under Code of Civil Procedure section 1085 is a method for compelling a public entity to perform a legal and usually ministerial duty." (American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees v. Metropolitan Water District (2005) 126 Cal.App.4th 247, 261.)
“In reviewing a trial court’s judgment on a petition for writ of ordinary mandate, . . . we exercise our independent judgment on legal issues, such as the interpretation of statutory . . . provisions.” (Kreeft v. City of Oakland (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 46, 53.)

In interpreting a statute, “we begin as always with the fundamental premise that the objective of statutory interpretation is to ascertain and effectuate legislative intent."  To discover that intent we first look to the words of the statute, giving them their usual and ordinary meaning. Where the words of the statute are clear, we may not add to or alter them to accomplish a purpose that does not appear on the face of the statute or from its legislative history. (Trope v. Katz (1995) 11 Cal.4th 274, 280.)

(Cal. Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Four, filed Dec. 22, 2017, Cert. for Pub. Jan. 22, 2018, Lippman v. City of Oakland, A141865).

La base légale du writ of mandate.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Misrepresentation (California law): Duty of care: Warning: Product warning: Failure to warn: Strict liability: Negligence: Sophisticated user & intermediary defenses: Tort:

Under our state’s law, there is no per se requirement in negligent misrepresentation actions that the misrepresentation be made by the product
manufacturer. Consider Hanberry v. Hearst Corp. (1969) 276 Cal.App.2d 680, where the plaintiff alleged that defective shoes caused her injuries. (Id. at p. 682.) The Court of Appeal allowed the negligent misrepresentation claims to go forward against a nonmanufacturer — the publisher of Good Housekeeping magazine, which had given the shoes its renowned seal of approval. (Id. at p. 683.) This seal appeared not only in the pages of its own magazine, but was used by the shoe manufacturer in its advertising as well as on the product and its packaging. (Ibid.) The court acknowledged that the defendant publisher was neither the seller nor the manufacturer of the shoes, but nonetheless recognized a duty of care because of the allegations that the publisher “held itself out as a disinterested third party which had examined the shoes, found them satisfactory, and gave its endorsement”; and the plaintiff reasonably relied on the endorsement and “purchased the shoes because of it.” (Id. at pp. 686, 683.) As to the plaintiff’s claim under strict liability, however, the court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal — declining to extend strict liability “to a general endorser who makes no representation it has examined or tested each item marketed.” (Id. at p. 688; see also Conte, 168 Cal.App.4th at pp. 101-102 [similarly distinguishing between strict liability and negligent misrepresentation theories].)

Novartis suggests that we recently conflated strict liability and negligence in Webb v. Special Electric Co., Inc. (2016) 63 Cal.4th 167 when we observed that "there is little functional difference between the two theories in the failure to warn context." (Id. at p. 187.) Not so. Webb’s observation was merely that the sophisticated user and sophisticated intermediary defenses applied to both theories of liability. (Ibid.) We did not categorically alter our longstanding recognition that “California law recognizes the differences between negligence and strict liability causes of action.” (Johnson v. American Standard , Inc. (2008) 43 Cal. 4th 56, 71; see Saller v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., Inc. (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 1220, 1239 ["Negligence and strict products liability are separate and distinct bases for liability that do not automatically collapse into each other because the plaintiff might allege both when a product warning contributes to her injury"].)

We likewise discount decisions from those jurisdictions that differ from California by categorically excluding from liability certain defendants (see, e.g., Huck v. Wyeth, Inc., 850 N.W.2d at p. 371 (plur. opn. of Waterman, J.) [“the tort of negligent misrepresentation does not apply to sellers of products but rather is limited to those in the business or profession of supplying information for the guidance of others”]) or certain injuries (see, e.g., Flynn v. American Home Products Corp. (Minn.Ct.App. 2001) 627 N.W.2d 342, 351 [“the Minnesota Supreme Court has recognized negligent misrepresentation involving damages only for pecuniary loss, and has expressly declined to recognize the tort of negligent misrepresentation involving the risk of physical harm”]) from the tort of negligent misrepresentation. And we find unhelpful the views of those jurisdictions that (federal courts predict) will recharacterize under their product liability act or similar rule all claims against a product manufacturer, no matter the theory, as product liability actions, which can be asserted only against the manufacturer of the product. (See, e.g., Germain, 756 F.3d at pp. 941-954 [construing the laws of Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia]; Phelps v. Wyeth, Inc. (D.Or. 2012) 857 F.Supp.2d 1114, 1121 [Oregon law]; Stanley v. Wyeth, Inc. (La.Ct.App. 2008) 991 So.2d 31, 33-34 [noting the “numerous cases where the negligent misrepresentation claims were . . . preempted by . . . a state’s enactment of products liability law”].)

We find that brand-name drug manufacturers have a duty to use ordinary care in warning about the safety risks of their drugs, regardless of whether the injured party (in reliance on the brand-name manufacturer’s warning) was dispensed the brand-name or generic version of the drug. We also conclude that a brand-name manufacturer’s sale of the rights to a drug does not, as a matter of law, terminate its liability for injuries foreseeably and proximately caused by deficiencies present in the warning label prior to the sale.

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

Responsabilité civile et contractuelle (droit californien), déclaration inexacte ("misrepresentation") :

En droit californien, une action en dommages-intérêts fondée sur une déclaration inexacte peut être déposée contre d'autres défendeurs que le seul fabricant du produit. Par exemple, dans une procédure où le demandeur soutenait que des chaussures lui avaient causé un préjudice corporel, la cour a accepté comme défendeur un magazine très connu qui avait fait l'éloge de ces chaussures dans l'un de ses articles. La cour a reconnu que le magazine n'était ni le fabricant ni le vendeur des chaussures, mais qu'il était tout de même tenu par un devoir de diligence du fait qu'il s'était présenté comme une tierce partie désintéressée qui avait examiné les chaussures, les avait jugées satisfaisantes, et en avait fait ainsi la promotion. En outre, le demandeur s'était raisonnablement fié à dite promotion, et, du fait de celle-ci, avait acheté les chaussures. Une telle action reste une action en responsabilité pour faute, et non une action en responsabilité causale : le magazine n'a pas suggéré qu'il avait examiné ou testé chacune des chaussures mises sur le marché.

La responsabilité pour faute ("negligence") doit toujours être distinguée des cas de responsabilité objective ("strict liability"), même si un demandeur qui agit en responsabilité du fait des produits invoque ces deux notions juridiques.

La Cour rejette par ailleurs la jurisprudence d'autres états qui exclut catégoriquement la responsabilité pour déclaration inexacte de certains défendeurs (est citée comme exemple une décision d'un autre état qui exclut le vendeur des défendeurs possibles dans le cadre d'une action en responsabilité pour faute du fait d'une déclaration inexacte, et qui ne retient comme défendeurs possibles que ceux dont le métier en lui-même consiste à donner des informations) ou qui limites dite responsabilité à certains types de dommages (par exemple la jurisprudence de certains autres états qui limite au dommage matériel la responsabilité pour déclaration inexacte, et la prohibe s'agissant du préjudice corporel).

Dans la présente espèce, la Cour juge que le fabricant d'un produit pharmaceutique doit aviser des risques de ses produits. Il peut être recherché à cet égard en responsabilité même par un demandeur à qui le générique a été prescrit. Ce devoir d'avis des risques se prolonge même si le fabricant cède ses droits sur le produit.

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Off-label use: Physicians:

Physicians may, in their professional judgment, prescribe a drug for a purpose other than that for which it has been approved by the FDA. (Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Leg. Com. (2001) 531 U.S. 341, 351, fn. 5 [“‘Off-label use is widespread in the medical community’”].)

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

La prescription "off-label" d'un produit pharmaceutique est admise.

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Diversity jurisdiction:

(…) Federal court under diversity jurisdiction. Federal courts sitting in diversity are “extremely cautious” about recognizing innovative theories under state law (Combs v. Int’l Ins. Co. (6th Cir. 2004) 354 F.3d 568, 578) and are bound to “apply the applicable state law as it now exists.” (Foster, 29 F.3d at p. 171; see generally Gluck, Intersystemic Statutory Interpretation: Methodology as “Law” and the Erie Doctrine (2011) 120 Yale L.J. 1898, 1939 [federal courts “pick the narrowest possible answer, usually the one that does the least to change the status quo, regardless of its predictions of what the state court would do”].)

Secondary sources: Gluck, Intersystemic Statutory Interpretation: Methodology as “Law” and the Erie Doctrine (2011) 120 Yale L.J. 1898, 1939.

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

Quand elles statuent en diversité, les cours fédérales veilleront à appliquer le droit des états dans sa teneur objective, sans chercher à créer de nouvelles théories juridiques.

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Duty of care: Negligence: Tort:

Duty is indeed the cornerstone of every negligence claim. In California, the general rule governing duty is codified in Civil Code section 1714, subdivision (a): “Everyone is responsible . . . for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person . . . .” Thus, “each person has a duty to use ordinary care and ‘is liable for injuries caused by his failure to exercise reasonable care in the circumstances . . . .’” (Parsons v. Crown Disposal Co. (1997) 15 Cal.4th 456, 472.) Whether a party has a duty of care in a particular case is a question of law for the court, which we review independently on appeal. (Kesner v. Superior Court (2016) 1 Cal.5th 1132, 1142 (Kesner).)

The conclusion that a duty exists in a particular case “‘is not sacrosanct in itself, but only an expression of the sum total of those considerations of policy which lead the law to say that the particular plaintiff is entitled to protection.’” (Dillon v. Legg (1968) 68 Cal.2d 728, 734, quoting Prosser, Law of Torts (3d ed. 1964) pp. 332-333.) We invoke the concept of duty to limit “‘the otherwise potentially infinite liability which would follow from every negligent act,’” yet we do so only where public policy clearly supports (or a statutory provision establishes) an exception to the general rule of Civil Code section 1714. (Kesner, supra, 1 Cal.5th at p. 1143.) When considering whether to depart from the general rule, we balance a number of considerations, including “the foreseeability of harm to the plaintiff, the degree of certainty that the plaintiff suffered injury, the closeness of the connection between the defendant’s conduct and the injury suffered, the moral blame attached to the defendant’s conduct, the policy of preventing future harm, the extent of the burden to the defendant and consequences to the community of imposing a duty to exercise care with resulting liability for breach, and the availability, cost, and prevalence of insurance for the risk involved.” (Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108, 113 (Rowland).)

In the context of prescription drugs, a manufacturer’s duty is to warn physicians about the risks known or reasonably known to the manufacturer. (Carlin v. Superior Court (1996) 13 Cal.4th 1104, 1112 (Carlin); see generally Finn v. G.D. Searle & Co. (1984) 35 Cal.3d 691, 699-700.) The manufacturer has no duty to warn of risks that are “merely speculative or conjectural, or so remote and insignificant as to be negligible.” (Carlin, at p. 1116.) If the manufacturer provides an adequate warning to the prescribing physician, the manufacturer need not communicate a warning directly to the patient who uses the drug. (Ibid.)

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

Le devoir de diligence est une des conditions centrales de l'obligation de réparer un dommage en responsabilité civile. La Californie l'a codifié à la Section 1714(a) de son Code civil. Le critère est l'exercice d'un devoir de diligence raisonnable compte tenu des circonstances. Déterminer si une partie est tenue par un devoir de diligence dans une situation particulière est une question de droit, que la Cour Suprême de l'état revoit de manière indépendante. Pour résoudre cette question de droit, dite Cour examine les notions de la prévisibilité du dommage causé, de la preuve du dommage, du lien de causalité entre l'acte et le dommage, du reproche moral attaché à l'acte, de la prévention d'un dommage futur, du fardeau qu'une responsabilité ferait porter à l'auteur, des conséquences pour l'ensemble de la communauté qui découleraient d'un jugement reconnaissant une responsabilité, ainsi que de la disponibilité et du coût d'une assurance couvrant le risque examiné.

Dans le domaine des produits pharmaceutiques, le devoir du fabricant est d'avertir la communauté médicale des risques connus ou qui doivent raisonnablement être connus. Si l'avertissement est donné aux médecins, il n'a pas à être donné directement aux patients.

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Foreseeability (California law), Negligence, Tort:

California law places greater weight on the element of foreseeability in the duty analysis than does Maryland law. Indeed, this state treats foreseeability as “the most important factor” (Kesner, 1 Cal.5th at p. 1145), and we do not narrowly circumscribe the kinds of relationships that must exist between the plaintiff and the defendant as a predicate to imposing a duty on the defendant to prevent injuries arising from its own conduct. (Id. at p. 1163; see Randi W., 14 Cal.4th at p. 1077 [one who negligently provides false information to another can owe a duty of care to a third person “who did not receive the information and who has no special relationship with the provider”].)

We therefore do not find persuasive those out-of-state cases discounting the role of foreseeability (see, e.g., Huck v. Wyeth, Inc., 850 N.W.2d at p. 376 (plur. opn. of Waterman, J.) [“‘foreseeability should not enter into the duty calculus’”]) or requiring the existence of a specific type of relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant (see, e.g., Moretti v. Wyeth, Inc. (9th Cir. 2014) 579 Fed. Appx. 563, 564 [construing negligent misrepresentation, under Nevada law, to “‘require, at a minimum, some form of relationship between the parties’”]; Schrock v. Wyeth, Inc. (10th Cir. 2013) 727 F.3d 1273, 1282 [“Oklahoma courts have also required a relationship between the defendant company and the product at issue for other theories of liability, including negligence”]).

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

Prévisibilité du dommage en responsabilité civile et contractuelle (droit californien) :

Face à la question de savoir si un défendeur répond envers un lésé, le droit californien accorde une importance essentielle à la notion de prévisibilité. Si le défendeur pouvait prévoir qu'un tiers quelconque, dont l'existence pouvait même lui être inconnue, risquait d'être lésé, ce défendeur pourrait être condamné à répondre (l'espèce concerne en particulier l'application de la théorie de la "misrepresentation" dans le contexte pharmaceutique).

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Labeling: Drug labeling: Warning: Failure to warn: Medical devices: Pre-emption:

If the policy of preventing harm has special relevance to any particular endeavor, surely prescription drug labeling is one. (Sindell v. Abbott Laboratories, 26 Cal.3d at p. 611.) A substantial body of state law serves to protect California consumers from the dangers posed by false, misleading, and inadequate labeling of prescription medications. (See, e.g., Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 4070-4078.) The United States Supreme Court, too, has recognized the pivotal role of state tort actions “as a complementary form of drug regulation” with respect to drug labeling. (Wyeth, 555 U.S. at p. 578; see id. at p. 579 [“State tort suits uncover unknown drug hazards and provide incentives for drug manufacturers to disclose safety risks promptly. They also serve a distinct compensatory function that may motivate injured persons to come forward with information. Failure-to-warn actions, in particular, lend force to the FDCA’s premise that manufacturers, not the FDA, bear primary responsibility for their drug labeling at all times”]; accord, Stevens v. Parke, Davis & Co., 9 Cal.3d at p. 65 [recognizing that federal warning-label regulations alone may be insufficient to protect patient safety].)

(…) Cases involving a challenge to the adequacy of a medical device label. Federal law preempts state tort actions based on deficient warnings for medical devices. (Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc. (2008) 552 U.S. 312, 329; cf. Wyeth, supra, 555 U.S. at p. 574 [“despite its 1976 enactment of an express pre-emption provision for medical devices, Congress has not enacted such a provision for prescription drugs”].)

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

Exigences en matière d'étiquetages et notices, ici de médicaments et de dispositifs médicaux

Le droit des états, ici californien, protège substantiellement les consommateurs de médicaments des dangers posés par des étiquetages et des notices faux, trompeurs ou inadéquats. La Cour Suprême fédérale a reconnu en la matière le rôle fondamental du droit de la RC des états, qualifié de réglementation complémentaire des médicaments s'agissant de l'étiquetage et des notices. Ces actions en RC peuvent permettre de découvrir des risques associés à la prise des médicaments, et incitent les fabricants à divulguer sans délai des risques nouvellement apparus.

Par le mécanisme de la préemption, seul le droit fédéral s'applique aux actions fondées sur un étiquetage ou une notice défectueuse remise avec un dispositif ou un équipement médical.

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Product liability: Tort: Warning: Product warning: Failure to warn:

(Cf. Groll v. Shell Oil Co. (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 444, 449 [manufacturer of bulk fuel owed no duty to the ultimate consumer where the manufacturer provided adequate warnings to the distributor, “who subsequently packages, labels and markets the product,” and the manufacturer thus “did not have the ability to prepare the warning”].)

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

Le producteur d'un carburant vendu en gros n'est redevable d'aucun devoir d'aviser des risques envers le consommateur final, lorsque le producteur a donné un avis adéquat au distributeur, auquel revient les tâches de conditionner et d'écouler le produit.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Premerger Notifications

From Bruce Hoffman, Acting Director, Bureau of Competition, FTC
December 20, 2017

When preparing an HSR filing for a proposed acquisition, some practitioners counsel their clients not to submit binding agreements or side letters negotiated between the merging parties that reflect the parties’ antitrust review obligations, risk-sharing commitments, and potential remedial measures. Some claim that these “side agreements” are ancillary to the main agreement, while others withhold such side agreements believing they are protected by a common interest privilege or as part of a joint defense agreement. Both positions are legally incorrect, and contrary to the requirements of HSR Rules.
The Instructions for Item 3(b) of the HSR Form clearly specify that filing parties must:
“Furnish copies of all documents that constitute the agreement(s) among the acquiring person(s) and the person(s) whose assets, voting securities or non-corporate interests are to be acquired,” [emphasis added].
(...) the parties may not exclude documents if they “contain … other agreements between the parties or other important items of the transaction” -- meaning any agreement entered by the parties or their representatives that bears on the terms of the transaction and is binding on the parties must be submitted as part of the HSR filing. This includes any agreement that alters the terms of the merger during the antitrust review process, regardless of where those commitments are written down. If there is an enforceable agreement that binds the parties to take actions related to antitrust clearance, it must be submitted as part of the HSR form.
Side agreements between merging parties are not covered by any privilege or protection (such as the attorney work product doctrine) and may not be withheld, even if the parties have signed a joint defense agreement. Whenever side agreements are part of the transaction negotiations, they are part of the agreement between the parties and responsive to Item 3(b). Of course, analyses, recommendations, and strategy explanations that are not binding or enforceable by the merging parties need not be turned over pursuant to Item 3(b). Nonetheless, these materials may still be responsive to Items 4(c) or (d) and, if privileged, as with other privileged 4(c) or 4(d) materials, should still be listed in the privilege log. Specifically, the privilege log must comply with the detailed requirements in the HSR Instructions, which indicate that parties must state the factual basis supporting the privilege claim in sufficient detail to enable staff to assess the validity of the claim.
In order for parties to comply with the requirements of the HSR Act and Rules, they must complete their HSR forms accurately and submit all required documents. Remember that certifying to the veracity of the HSR Form must be done in the presence of a notary or contain language found in 28 U.S.C. § 1746 relating to unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury. Failing to comply with the HSR Act can lead to significant penalties, such as restarting the HSR waiting period and civil penalties of over $40,000 per day a party is in violation of the Act.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Kurwa v. Kislinger, S234617

Civil procedure: Appellate review: One final judgment rule: Final judgment: Interlocutory review: Dismissal: Prejudice: Notice of appeal:

To avoid piecemeal appeals, the “one final judgment” rule ordinarily limits appellate review to trial court judgments that finally dispose of all issues. (Kurwa I, 57 Cal.4th at p. 1101.) The parties in this case attempted to circumvent the rule to obtain what was, in effect, interlocutory review of a trial court’s partial order of dismissal by agreeing to dismiss the remainder of their claims without prejudice and waiving the statutes of limitations. We held in Kurwa I that this attempt was unavailing. We concluded that the trial court’s judgment dismissing the remaining claims without prejudice was not a final disposition of those claims, but instead held them “in abeyance for possible future litigation.” (Id. at p. 1100.)

In the wake of our decision in Kurwa I, Kurwa has made two attempts to secure a final and appealable judgment. He first asked the trial court to vacate its order of dismissal and the underlying stipulation. Failing that, he sought to dismiss his defamation claim with prejudice, which would finally dispose of the claim. Kurwa is, however, powerless to require Kislinger to do the same with respect to the defamation claim raised in the cross-complaint, and Kislinger has no incentive to assist Kurwa in his efforts to appeal an order that had been entered in Kislinger’s favor. Kislinger argues (and the Court of Appeal agreed) that unless and until Kislinger also chooses to dismiss his defamation claim, there can be no final and appealable judgment.

Kurwa’s appeal fails for a more basic reason: There is still no trial court judgment from which Kurwa could appeal. The 2010 order was not a final judgment because it disposed of less than all of the causes of action. (Sullivan v. Delta Air Lines, Inc. (1997) 15 Cal.4th 288, 304 ["A judgment is final “when it terminates the litigation between the parties on the merits of the case and leaves nothing to be done but to enforce by execution what has been determined." Finality in this sense not only makes a judicial determination a judgment, it also makes that judgment appealable.”]; U.S. Financial v. Sullivan (1974) 37 Cal.App.3d 5, 11 [it is improper for the trial court to enter a judgment of dismissal if some causes of action remain pending].)

Kurwa’s dismissal with prejudice of his defamation claims was entered on the docket by the court clerk, without the trial court’s involvement. It did not result in the entry of a new trial court judgment that finally disposed of all claims (or at least all of the losing party’s claims) in the action. Nor could Kurwa’s dismissal have retroactively altered the character of the trial court’s 2010 judgment. And even if Kurwa’s dismissal with prejudice could have retroactively altered the character of the trial court’s 2010 judgment, the Court of Appeal is correct that the time for appealing that judgment has long since expired. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.104(a)(1) [a notice of appeal from a superior court judgment must be filed within 60 days of the notice of entry of judgment or 180 days after judgment, whichever is earlier].)

There is, as we see it, no way for Kurwa to proceed with his appeal unless and until the trial court takes action to render a judgment that is actually final and appealable. Of course, Kurwa has previously asked the trial court to do just that, and the trial court refused, professing lack of jurisdiction to vacate its earlier order dismissing the defamation claims without prejudice. We agree with Kurwa that the trial court was mistaken.

It stands to reason that if the trial court has not entered a judgment that is final and appealable, it retains the power to render one. This was the unstated assumption underlying our disposition in Kurwa I, supra, 57 Cal.4th at page 1107, in which we directed the Court of Appeal to dismiss plaintiff’s appeal as premature, without ever suggesting that plaintiff might have lost the right to appeal altogether. The confusion in this case appears to arise from the fact that the trial court has already dismissed the claims in question once, albeit without prejudice. Kislinger argues that this means that the trial court can no longer act in the case, even to issue a judgment finally disposing of the defamation claim Kurwa has now dismissed with prejudice. For this unlikely proposition, Kislinger relies on Harris v. Billings (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 1396 (Harris), but Harris lends no support. (…) Regardless of whether Harris was correctly decided—a question we do not decide here—it is distinguishable.

(…) We therefore now make explicit what was implicit in our earlier decision: Because the trial court did not render a judgment that was final and appealable, it retains power to act in the case. That power includes the authority to vacate the defective 2010 judgment and the parties’ underlying stipulation. Once the parties and the court have disposed of the remaining defamation counts—either by dismissing them with prejudice (as Kurwa already has for the cause of action in his complaint) or pursuing them to judgment—the trial court can, and should, issue a final judgment from which Kurwa can appeal.

(Cal.S.C., Dec. 18, 2017, Kurwa v. Kislinger, S234617).

Un appel n'est possible que contre un jugement final.

Pour éviter des appels fractionnés, la règle du jugement final ne permet d'appeler, au niveau de la première instance, que des jugements qui disposent de l'ensemble des conclusions (de toutes les parties, y compris les conclusions reconventionnelles). Dans la présente affaire, les parties ont tenté de contourner dite règle en manipulant diverses institutions procédurales : ainsi de l'abandon par une des parties (Kurwa) de certaines de ses prétentions, obtenant ainsi un jugement de première instance constatant et consacrant dit abandon, tout en réservant la possibilité pour la partie de faire valoir ultérieurement ces prétentions abandonnées. Un tel jugement, qui laissait la possibilité d'une nouvelle procédure, n'était pas un jugement final. Il n'était de la sorte pas susceptible d'appel. Puis Kurwa a encore tenté notamment d'abandonner ses prétentions (sans possibilité de les renouveler) afin d'obtenir un jugement final, mais comme son adversaire n'en faisait pas de même s'agissant de ses propres prétentions, la tentative a échoué : dit abandon a été enregistré sur le rôle par le greffier, sans implication du Tribunal. Aucun jugement final ne résultait de cet enregistrement. Cet abandon n'a en outre pas pour effet de modifier le jugement antérieur précité (qui laissait donc la possibilité d'une nouvelle procédure).

Cependant, dans tous les cas, la cour de première instance se doit de rendre un jugement final, qui pourra être entrepris par voie d'appel. Que Kurwa ait renoncé à ses prétentions sans possibilité de les renouveler n'empêche nullement dite cour de juger de manière finale.

Kurwa v. Kislinger, S234617

Mistake of law: Rescission of a contract:

(…) Cf. Civ. Code, §§ 1550, 1575–1578; Harris v. Rudin, Richman & Appel (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 1332, 1338–1339 (the parties’ lack of knowledge that a crucial statute had been amended could constitute a mistake of law that would justify rescinding a settlement agreement).

(Cal.S.C., Dec. 18, 2017, Kurwa v. Kislinger, S234617).

Méconnaître une modification législative peut constituer une erreur de droit permettant la rescision d'un contrat.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Western Union’s money transfer system

The FTC is alerting consumers who lost money to scammers who told them to pay via Western Union’s money transfer system between January 1, 2004, and January 19, 2017, that they can now file a claim to get their money back.  Refunds may be claimed by going to before February 12.  The refund program follows a settlement with the Western Union Company, which in January 2017 agreed to pay $586 million to resolve charges brought by the FTC and the U. S. Department of Justice.  Non-U.S. consumers who lost money through fraud-induced wire transfers may also file claims for refunds.