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Musick Peeler’s Business Litigation Group represents clients in a wide variety of business and corporate litigation matters.

Aircraft Used as Unscheduled “Air Taxis” Held Fully Taxable in California

Several states have eliminated or severely restricted personal property taxes but California still imposes them on many assets, including aircraft. California’s Constitution requires local governments to collect these taxes which, along with fuel taxes and sales and use taxes, account for millions of dollars of tax revenue annually in California derived from the aviation industry.

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Hot Air Balloon Operator Is Not A Common Carrier Under California Law

In a case of first impression, Grotheer vs. Escape Adventures, Inc., the California Court of Appeal held that a hot air balloon tour operator is not a common carrier under California law and thus does not owe its passengers a heightened duty of care.   The appellate court opinion, issued on August 31, 2017, upheld summary judgment entered by the trial court in favor of the tour operator respecting a negligence claim asserted by a plaintiff injured during a ...

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Has The Erosion Of The Parol Evidence Rule In California Impaired Banks’ Ability To Enforce The Terms Of Their Loan Documents?

In contract disputes in California courts, the Parol Evidence Rule (codified in California Code of Civil Procedure section 1856) prohibits evidence of promises or representations that are contrary to the written terms of a contract that was intended to be a complete and final statement of the parties’ agreement.  For decades (since the 1935 case of Bank of America v. Pendergrass), financial institutions relied on athe Parol Evidence Rule to prohibit borrowers from making claims or defenses based on the lender’s alleged false promises or misrepresentations that contradict the terms of the loan documents.

In 2013 and the years that followed, the California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeaal issued several decisions that have eroded the Parol Evidence Rule’s strict prohibition against evidence of alleged false promises that contradict the terms of a written contract.

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Is The Flintco Case A Setback For General Contractors?

Nearly 60 years ago, the esteemed Justice Traynor of the California Supreme Court authored an opinion in a seminal case applying the doctrine of promissory estoppel to the competitive bidding process.  Drennan v. Star Paving Company, (1958) 51 Cal.2d 409.  At the time this case was decided, the competitive bidding process was far simpler than it is today.  

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Private Jury Trials Offer Litigants Distinct Advantages Over Public Jury Trials

Recently, the option of a private jury trial has been elected by litigants as the preferable means to gain control of trial proceedings.  The parties have the ability to select the judge, the bailiff, discovery limitations, rules of civil procedure and evidence, controlling law, length of trial, timing of trial commencement, orders of confidentiality, measures of security, and the finality of a decision.  Seeing that complex cases may take years to wind their way through trial and the appellate process at tremendous expense, the finality of decision holds a cost-benefit appeal for both sides.

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TCPA Update – Amendment Exempting Federal Debts Held Retroactive

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. §227, prohibits certain calls made using automated dialing systems, commonly called “robocalls.”  In December, 2015, Musick, Peeler & Garrett’s Business Litigation Notes reported on an amendment included in the 2015 Federal Budget Act that exempted from the TCPA calls made in connecation with “collection of a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States.”

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The Trend Away From Per Se Treatment In Antitrust Litigation

A company can inadvertently become involved in antitrust litigation under section 1 of the Sherman Act (or any state law equivalent), and therefore, it should be aware of the current landscape.  Most often, antitrust litigation under section 1 of the Sherman Act involves allegations that a certain company’s or companies’ conduct hinders competition in the given industry or marketplace.

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Supreme Court Resolves Important Class Action Issue (For The Moment)

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez is critical for businesses battling class action lawsuits.
1.   Class Plaintiff Settlement Offers

In recent years, creative defense counsel have attempted to defeat potentially expensive class action litigation by “picking off” lead class representatives, especially in situations where plaintiffs’ attorneys may not easily be able to locate another viable class representative.  

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