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Exciting Times

Exciting Times

What a difference a year makes. Last year my only aspirations were to oversee sweetening the paychecks of the Court’s hard working employees and to improve services, including moving towards a new case management system. We made progress on those goals and saw many other developments as well. One of the most gratifying events was […]

Civil Division Update

Civil Division Update

As most of you probably know, one of our Civil Division judges, Hon. George Spanos, retired earlier this year, and we were fortunate to have Hon. Charles “Steve” Treat join us. Before his appointment to the Bench, Judge Treat clerked on the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice William Brennan. He, thereafter, […]

A Year of Changes in Juvenile

A Year of Changes in Juvenile

The big news for the juvenile bench and its justice partners in 2017 is the move from the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse in Martinez to the Walnut Creek Courthouse. On August 14, 2017, the juvenile bench (other than Judge Fenstermacher) was officially relocated. Now, all child welfare cases brought under Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC), Section […]

Keeping the Court Safe and Orderly

Keeping the Court Safe and Orderly

Court Security staff are responsible for the safety and protection of the judges, attorneys, court employees, and the public. Security staff works in a variety of assignments that range from weapons screening, courtroom bailiffs, court attendants, inmate supervision, and escort duties.

Criminal Courts 2017

Criminal Courts 2017

During calendar year 2016, the District Attorney filed 2,610 felony cases and 7,773 misdemeanor cases, down slightly from last year’s count of 2,732 felonies and up from 1,021 misdemeanors.

Family Law Perspective

Family Law Perspective

With six of our seven bench officers having served in the Family Law Division in prior consecutive years, 2017 has been a year of continuity. We welcomed one additional Family Law judge in January, the Honorable Brian Haynes, whose courtroom is in Pittsburg. Judge Haynes plunged right in and quickly became adept at managing short-cause […]

Show Me the Money: When Can Trustees Use Trust Funds to Litigate?

Show Me the Money: When Can Trustees Use Trust Funds to Litigate?

Over the past 30 years, the use of revocable living trusts has rightly become the preferred estate planning vehicle for persons seeking to protect and pass on their estates.  With that growth has come a corresponding increase in trust-related litigation.  As a result, an increasing number of civil litigators are finding themselves directly or indirectly […]

Effective Use of Paralegals in Civil Litigation

Effective Use of Paralegals in Civil Litigation

As clients push for more services for less money, attorneys and firm management are faced with keeping a careful eye on the bottom line while still providing high-quality legal services. One of the most efficient ways to keep clients happy in this regard is to put paralegals to work. The days of paralegals performing the […]

Frivolous Lawsuits and Motions: What Do We Do with Them, and What Should We do with Them?

Frivolous Lawsuits and Motions: What Do We Do with Them, and What Should We do with Them?

Nearly everyone would likely agree that a truly frivolous lawsuit or court motion is a bad thing – except the person filing it. In other words, for most people frivolous tactics are a nightmare, while for a few they are a business model.

Echoes of History –  1942 – 1983 – 2017: From the Incarceration of Japanese Americans to the Travel Ban

Echoes of History – 1942 – 1983 – 2017: From the Incarceration of Japanese Americans to the Travel Ban

December 7, 1941.  The United States is suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.  A Day of Infamy.  Within two months, President Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066 which banishes 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast states, two-thirds of whom are American citizens.  They suffer […]

Empowering Civil Litigants:  CCCBA's Pro Per Civil Litigation Clinic

Empowering Civil Litigants: CCCBA’s Pro Per Civil Litigation Clinic

In the clinic, we try to help litigants understand things like the function of the pleadings, the reasons for and use of discovery procedures, preparing a case for trial, and much more. The clinics are held once a month at CCCBA’s main office.

CCP § 998 Offers Revisited

CCP § 998 Offers Revisited

If there is one overarching guideline in handling § 998 offers in your practice, it is to keep it simple. The more a § 998 offer includes, the more likely a court will find something wrong with it

Settlement Agreements: Avoiding a Real Property Tax Reassessment

Settlement Agreements: Avoiding a Real Property Tax Reassessment

In the abundance of caution, prior to taking action, the trustee should seek the court’s approval of the settlement agreement. Although a trustee can obtain written consent of all beneficiaries of the trust, court approval provides the best protection.

What's Your Priority?

What’s Your Priority?

The IRS can use the Federal Priority Statute much like an ace of spades to trump the priority of all creditors who have claims against estate assets.

The Spin on Corporate Spin Offs

The Spin on Corporate Spin Offs

A corporate spin-off may be a tax-free solution for Albert and Bertram. Celestial Builders would form a subsidiary corporation, Diablo Holdings, Inc. that would also elect S Corporation status.