Articles Posted in Supreme Court of California

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Under California law, a dissolved law firm has no property interest in legal matters handled on an hourly basis and therefore no property interest in the profits generated by the law firm’s former partners’ work on hourly fee matters pending at the time of the firm’s dissolution. The district court held that the law firm in this case did not have a property interest in the hourly fee matters pending at dissolution. The law firm appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which asked the Supreme Court to provide guidance. The Supreme Court held that, under California partnership law, a dissolved law firm does not have a property interest in legal matters handled on an hourly basis, or in the profits generated by former partners who continue to work not the hourly fee matters after they are transferred to the partners’ new firms. View "Heller Ehrman LLP v. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP" on Justia Law

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The interim adverse judgment rule applies when a trial court had initially denied summary judgment on the basis that a lawsuit had sufficient potential merit to proceed to trial but concluded after trial that the suit had been brought in bad faith because the claim lacked evidentiary support. In the underlying case, Plaintiffs were sued for misappropriation of trade secrets. Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. The trial court subsequently granted judgment in favor of Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs later brought a malicious prosecution against the opposing parties’ lawyers in the trade secrets case. Defendants filed an anti-SLAPP motion, arguing that Plaintiffs could not establish a probability of success because the order denying summary judgment in the underlying trade secrets action established probable cause to prosecute that action. The trial court granted the motion to strike, concluding that the action was untimely. The court of appeal concluded that the action was timely but that the interim adverse judgment rule applied, thus barring the malicious prosecution suit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the denial of summary judgment in the trade secrets action established probable cause to bring that action, and therefore, Plaintiffs could not establish a probability of success on their malicious prosecution claim. View "Parrish v. Latham & Watkins" on Justia Law