Civil Action with Brian & Shant

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February 25, 2020  

BONUS CONTENT: Interview with Minh Nguyen at the 2019 CAOC Convention in San Francisco

The son of immigrant parents and the eldest of eight children, Minh is no stranger to hardship. Minh worked three jobs through college to fund his family’s mortgage and made his way to Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. Minh’s passion for advocacy comes through in his personal injury trial practice and his pro bono work from his past presidency of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities, low-income, affordable housing work at Linc Housing, community work at the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, and his upcoming presidency of CAALA in 2023. More information about Minh Nguyen and his practice can be found here:

February 20, 2020  

BONUS CONTENT: Interview with Greg Bentley at the 2019 CAOC Convention in San Francisco

From an early age, the son of an elementary school principle and school secretary, Greg understood his path to protect those who were unable to protect themselves. Greg’s practice in Newport Beach was one of the first practices to successfully take an e-cigarette matter to trial.  Greg discusses one of his most memorable cases as a plaintiffs’ attorney where he successfully advocated for an elderly woman who had tragically lost the use of her limbs and extremities due to an accident involving a city-operated vehicle.  Greg also pays great respect to William Shernoff, the great practitioner of insurance bad-faith.  More information about Greg Bentley and his team is available here:

February 13, 2020  

32. The Perils of Litigation Funding

Brian and Shant discuss various types of litigation funding available to lawyers and law firms, and the potential pitfalls of the borrowing money to fund cases. Though not a novel practice in the legal profession, reliance on loans can become problematic for the practitioner and for the plaintiffs’ bar as a whole.

Have questions for us? You can reach us at 213-217-5000, or visit our website at

February 11, 2020  

BONUS CONTENT: Interview with Craig Peters at the 2019 CAOC Convention in San Francisco

 Craig discusses how he approached his first trial just short of 30 days of becoming a practicing lawyer and how it helped develop his skill despite how difficult the challenge.  Craig uses his 13-year career as a Contra Costa County Public Defender as a foundation to approach his cases from a different perspective.  Craig’s unique perspective allows him to view even the most challenging matters with confidence and positivity.  More information about Craig and his practice can be found here:

February 7, 2020  

BONUS CONTENT: Interview with Ray Boucher at the 2019 CAOC Convention in San Francisco

The former president of the CAOC discusses his first case, fresh out of law school, representing Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union for farm workers charged with strike violence.  Ray comments on his experience working with Chavez and how impactful the qualities Chavez possessed were to the United Farm Workers movement.  More information on Ray Boucher and his consumer law firm, Boucher LLP, can be found here:

February 6, 2020  

31. Trail Immunity; Standard for Gross Negligence; The Discovery Rule and Fair Debt Collections Act; Single Employer Doctrine

Brian and Shant discuss the following cases:


Loeb v. County of San Diego: Plaintiff was in a county park campground and was injured on an uneven pathway.  The county argued Trail Immunity and the court focused on whether the pathway had a dual purpose.


Kim v. Laguna Seca Raceway: Plaintiff signed a release to ride his motorcycle at the raceway and was subsequently injured.  In a possible attempt to overcome the release, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment for gross negligence.  The court looked to whether professional racing standards can be used as a factor in attaching liability. 


Rotkiske v. Klem: Klem obtained a default judgment on a collection against Rotkiske who claims he didn’t learn about it until he attempts to refinance his home.  Rotkiske raised the Discovery Rule and whether it applies after the statute of limitation of one year expired on Rotkiske’s action.  


Mutasas v. Happy Valley Copy Center: An intern of a conference center belonging to the Community of Christ Church claims sexual harassment from the director of the conference center.  The court looks to the Single Employer Doctrine and the integrated enterprises test to determine whether employment relationship exists. 

February 4, 2020  

30. Difficult Clients; Fee Arbitration Between Lawyers & Clients; DocuSign; Reducing Punitive Damages

Brian and Shant discuss the following cases:


Hood v. Gonzalez: A nightmare client who had gone through five lawyers.  The client signed the settlement agreement but refused to sign the check then the court appointed an elisor to endorse the check in lieu of the client’s endorsement. 


Soni v. SimpleLayers, Inc.: An untimely request to arbitrate in a fee dispute leads to a $2.50 award.  The critical issue is whether the clock starts to run to make a demand from the moment the award is received or when the demand is dropped in the mail.


Fabian v. Renovate America: Solar panels were attached to the plaintiff’s home and a deed was taken out on the plaintiff’s home for payment.  In response to the plaintiff’s lawsuit, Renovate files a petition to compel arbitration grounded on the theory that the plaintiff signed the contract via DocuSign.  


ENA North Beach, Inc. v. 524 Union Street: A restaurant-tenant sued the landlord claiming misrepresentation in leasing the space.  Permits were allegedly included in the lease but were not obtained. The court ruled in favor of the tenant and punitive damages were awarded.  

January 24, 2020  

BONUS CONTENT: Interview with Steve Vartarzarian at the 2019 CAOC Convention in San Francisco

Steve discusses his journey and determination to make it through law school and find success in his practice. Steve goes into great detail about one of the most influential cases of his career and how it helped shape his future practice.  More information about Steve Vartarzarian and his team’s work can be found here:

January 23, 2020  

29. Attorney Fees in a Class Action; Waiver of a Jury Trial in an Agreement; Service on Government Entities; Interest Rates, Usury Laws, Referendums & How they Interact

Brian and Shant discuss the following cases:


Johnson v. MGM: Plaintiff argues that the District Court did not do an appropriate calculation to determine attorney fees and in response, the District Court lays out multiple factors to determine the appropriate percentage.  


Handoush v. Lease Finance Group: For Choice of Law to be enforceable, CA looks to whether the application of another state’s law would violate primary substantive rights.  Moreover, in CA parties cannot waive the right to a jury trial prior to the dispute, but in a state where the law is not an inviolate right then the parties can waive the right to a jury trial.  


Silbaugh v. Elaine Chow (DOT): When suing a government agency, the party pursuing the agency must name the head of that agency.  However, the plaintiff simply named her supervisor and not the head of the agency.  In the time it took to cure the defect, the Statute of Limitations had run baring the lawsuit.  The Relation Back Doctrine however allows an amendment relates back to the original filing if it relates back to the original conduct or occurrence.  


Wishneb v. Northern Mutual Life Insurance: Plaintiff charged with compounded interest after borrowing money from his life insurance policy arguing a violation of usury laws.  In 1918, California instituted usury laws with provisions laying out a blanket percentage in order to prevent over-charging due to compounded interest.  However, in 1934, California realized the system required adjustment giving the power back to the legislature.  


Have questions for us? You can reach us at 213-217-5000, or visit our website at

January 21, 2020  

BONUS CONTENT: Interview with Bill Shapiro at the 2019 CAOC Convention in San Francisco

An esteemed trial attorney in the state, Bill’s practice focuses on personal injury and product liability.  Bill recollects one of his more memorable first trials where he was defensed but ultimately won on appeal and settled the matter favorably.  Bill associates a lot of his success to that case and how it taught him how to persevere through a difficult trial.  Bill encourages young lawyers to find their way into the courtroom in legal profession where trial experience is steadily decreasing.  More information about Bill Shapiro can be found here: