Paul Llewellyn will be a featured speaker at Pincus Professional Education’s Superior Court Boot Camp Conference being held in San Francisco on October 10, 2014. The full day seminar will cover the nuts and bolts of practicing in Superior Court with experienced practitioners and judges sharing their tips and advice.
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On September 2, 2014, Marc Lewis will moderate a seminar presented by the Litigation Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Federal Bar Association. The seminar will feature eight Magistrate Judges from the Northern District of California and will include topics such as debunking common myths associated with consenting to magistrate jurisdiction and the pros and cons of consenting.
A Lewis & Llewellyn team, led by Paul Llewellyn and Matt Dickman, recently won summary judgment for its client, a major consumer electronics manufacturer, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against AIG Insurance Company. The Court ruled that AIG was required to defend the firm’s client in a series of underlying class actions. Law 360 featured this victory as one of the country’s notable rulings.
Last month, The Daily Journal, California’s leading legal newspaper, featured a full-page article on Lewis & Llewellyn. The article, entitled “Leap of Faith”, highlighted the firm’s continued growth and recent successes, with a client list ranging from small tech companies to some of the country’s best known corporations.
A link to the article can be found here.
At Lewis & Llewellyn, we practice in state and federal courts throughout the country. Attorneys who practice in federal court in Southern California – specifically the Central District of California – should be aware of new local civil rules that took effect on June 1, 2014. The amended rules chiefly concern, among other things: (i) mandatory chambers copies for all pleadings filed electronically with the court; (ii) formatting for Supreme Court case citations in briefs, and (iii) additional sanctions on attorneys and parties for failure to follow local rules.
These seemingly picayune details can often determine whether a court grants or denies a critical motion.
In addition to our state and federal court trial practice, at Lewis & Llewellyn we routinely conduct alternative dispute resolution. Earlier this year, Lewis & Llewellyn defended a major San Francisco retailer in a bet-the-company commercial arbitration where the plaintiff was seeking substantial six figure damages. The Lewis & Llewellyn team, led by Marc Lewis and Ryan Erickson, secured a complete defense victory for the client. In addition, the plaintiff was ordered to pay our client’s attorneys’ fees.
Until recently, a litigant filing a motion in San Francisco Superior Court could simply notice the hearing for a date of his or her choosing, so long as it complied with the statutory minimum of 16 court days’ notice. However, an amendment to local rule 8.2 requires the moving party to obtain a hearing date and reservation number by sending an email in advance to the Court. After obtaining the hearing date, the moving party must file the motion within 24 hours. The Court is setting limits on the number of matters to be heard each day to better manage the calendar. In light of the new rule, the practitioner would be well advised to plan in advance and not leave the filing of motions to the last possible day.
Marc Lewis will be a featured speaker at Pincus Professional Education’s Federal Court Boot Camp Conference: How To Practice In Federal Court, being held in San Francisco on June 5, 2014. The full day seminar will cover the nuts and bolts of practicing in Federal Court with experienced practitioners and judges sharing their tips and advice.
Lewis & Llewellyn attorney Ryan Erickson was recently interviewed on the NBC evening news concerning a lawsuit the firm recently filed against the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District. The lawsuit arises out of horrific sexual abuse suffered by the firm’s client at the hands of a school janitor when she was just twelve years old.
Many California attorneys likely assume that you can use denials to requests for admission as admissible trial evidence. Plaintiff’s counsel in Gonsalvez v. Li, 2015 WL 164606 (Cal. Ct. App. Jan. 13, 2015) made the assumption, and it cost him a jury verdict of more that $1.2 million.
In a recent decision by the California Court of Appeal, the Court held that California’s discovery statutes do not permit use of a party’s denial or lack of admission in response to a request for admission as evidence at trial. Gonsalvez, 2015 WL 164606 at *7. In Gonsalvez, a BMW salesman, Kenneth Gonsalvez, sued defendant Ran Li after Li caused an accident during a BMW test drive, resulting in extensive injuries to Gonsalvez. At trial, plaintiff’s counsel questioned Li about his qualified denials to various requests for admission, including a request that he admit that he was “driving too fast for the conditions.” Plaintiff’s counsel, over defense counsel’s objections, again cited to Li’s qualified denials in his closing argument, and the jury returned a verdict of more than $1.2 million in Gonsalvez’s favor.
On appeal, Li’s counsel argued that the trial court erred in permitting plaintiff’s counsel to examine Li about his negative responses to Gonsalvez’s requests for admission. The Court agreed with Li’s counsel, vacating the judgment and remanding the case to the trial court. After noting a “surprising paucity of relevant authority” on the topic, the Court highlighted that the relevant discovery statues only explicitly “provide that admissions in response to RFA’s are binding on the party at trial.” Id at *5 (emphasis in original); see also Cal. Civ. Proc. Code section 2033.410. Based on this language, and an analysis of authority in other jurisdictions, the Court ultimately held that “denials of RFA’s are not admissible evidence in an ordinary case, i.e., a case where a party’s litigation conduct is not directly in issue.” Gonsalvez, 2015 WL 164606 at *7.
This case serves as an important reminder to litigators to flush out denials to requests for admission before trial. Whether through special interrogatories, depositions, or even meet and confer correspondence, litigators should be sure to get to the bottom of RFA denials before it is too late.