Law Mentoring: Get Attorney Fees Without a Contract or a StatuteNov 07, 2023
I help California lawyers get excellent results in four ways:
- I serve as a mediator, arbitrator and referee with ADR Services, Inc. conducting hearings (Zoom and in-person) throughout California. I relentlessly pursue closure as a mediator. As an arbitrator and referee, I preside over relaxed and friendly hearings, carefully review all admitted evidence, and issue fair and impartial decisions. I handle business, employment, insurance (bad faith, coverage, UIM), probate, real property, and tort (elder abuse, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability, and wrongful death) cases.
- I provide Master Lawyer Mentoring™ to train lawyers to become excellent trial lawyers and help them prepare for trial, and train associates to quickly become excellent lawyers.
- I publish California Case Summaries™, preparing one-paragraph summaries, organized by legal topic, of every new civil case published in California each month, quarter and year giving subscribers a competitive advantage to get excellent results.
- In my Trial Alchemy™ podcast I interview outstanding plaintiff and defense civil trial lawyers, who are members of the American Board of Trial Lawyers, about what works, and what doesn't work in civil jury trials. This is a great way for less experienced lawyers to learn from trial masters to become excellent trial lawyers.
New CA Civil Procedure Case
Were plaintiffs entitled to an award of attorney fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.420 for proving the medical records were admissible as business records?
Last month, the Second District Court of Appeal addressed this issue. Below is my one-paragraph summary of this new decision:
Vargas v. Gallizzi (2023) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2023 WL 6781376: The Court of Appeal affirmed in part, and reversed in part, the trial court’s post-trial orders, following a jury trial in a personal injury case where the jury awarded plaintiffs $15,125 in damages. The trial court denied plaintiffs’ request for $350,000 in attorney fees and costs pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.420 based on defendant’s failure to admit requests for admission regarding the medical records, a timeline of treatment, and causation, and awarded defendant $28,547.66 in costs pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 998. The Court of Appeal disagreed, concluding that the trial court erred by denying plaintiffs’ motion for expenses pursuant to section 2033.420. Code of Civil Procedure, section 2033.420(a), provides expenses shall be awarded if the party requesting the admission “thereafter proves the genuineness of that document or the truth of that matter” and the statute contains no requirement the proof be made at trial. During a pretrial hearing the trial court ruled the medical records would be considered business records and plaintiffs therefore proved the matter. The trial court erred by finding plaintiffs were precluded from receiving cost-of-proof expenses because defendant, after the pre-trial ruling, had not disputed the medical records’ status as business records at trial. Having found plaintiffs proved the medical records were business records, section 2033.420 required expenses be awarded unless one of the exceptions was established. The Court of Appeal concluded that none were. Although plaintiffs' counsel had failed to establish the medical records were business records in a prior trial, defendant had no reasonably held good faith belief she could prevail on the merits of the business records issue. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s award of costs to defendant section 998. The case was remanded for the trial court to determine the amount to which plaintiffs were entitled for proving the medical records were business records. (C.A. 2nd, October 13, 2023.)
I help attorneys and their clients throughout California as a mediator, arbitrator and referee at ADR Services, Inc. I handle business, commercial, employment, insurance (bad faith, coverage, UIM), probate, real property, and tort (elder abuse, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability and wrongful death) cases. I've been a California civil trial lawyer since 1980 and a member of ABOTA since 1995. I've represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of civil cases including the areas listed above. To schedule a new matter, please contact one of my case manager at ADR services, Ins., Haward Cho, [email protected], (213) 683-1600, or Rachael Boughan, [email protected], (619) 233-1323,
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.
Mediator, Arbitrator & Referee
Master Lawyer Mentoring™
Podcaster: Trial Alchemy™
Publisher: California Case Summaries™
ABOTA Member Since 1995
Past President: San Diego County Bar Assn.
Past President: SD ABOTA Chapter
Phone: (619) 990-4312. Email: [email protected]
California Case Summaries
A fast and easy way for California civil attorneys to always know the new case law in their practice areas.
You get a one-paragraph summary readable in 2 minutes, organized by legal topic, of every new California civil case published during the year.