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Judge Tells 'A Shakespearean Tragedy, to Be Sure'

With a cue from Shakespeare, Justice Eileen Moore told the tragic tale of a wine collector who lost $18 million on his investment.

"Poor," if not "unfortunate," David Doyle insured his collection for $19 million, only to learn that a dealer had sold him counterfeit wine. And in a deeper cut, the insurance did not cover the loss in Doyle v. Fireman's Fund Insurance.

"A Shakespearean tragedy, to be sure," Moore wrote for California's Fourth District Court of Appeal. Playwrights aside, the judge knows about tragedy.

Dissolved Firm Has 'Narrow Interest' in Fees From Exiting Partners

In a lawyerly-watched case, the California Supreme Court said dissolving law firms have no right to fees for unfinished hourly matters that partners take to new firms.

Heller Ehrman v. Davis Wright Tremaine is a significant bankruptcy case because it involved a dispute between a bankrupt law firm and its departing partners. A bankruptcy administrator made claims for fees against more than a dozen other law firms in the case.

The court decision may be more important to lawyers who leave their firms than to bankruptcy attorneys, however. The last thing most lawyers want to do is pay their old law firms.

Court: No Tigers in California Backyard

If you thought your neighbor's dog was annoying, you don't know Irena Hauser.

She is a tiger trainer, and she wanted to keep five tigers in her backyard. "No, thank you," said the neighbors -- 11,000 of them from miles around.

Hauser sued, as if that would change anybody's mind. In Hauser v. Ventura County Board of Supervisors, a California court said, "Tyger! Tyger!"

'Warning' Settlement for Chocolate Sold in California

You might want to double-check the label on your next chocolate bar.

You don't need to check for the calorie count; we already know that's bad. But there could be more bad news, under the terms of a chocolate industry settlement.

Chocolate producers have agreed to study and report on lead and cadmium in their products. It's a result of California's Proposition 65, which warns consumers about cancer-causing chemicals, and a lawsuit by an advocacy group.

Cambodian Facebook Feud Spills Into California Court

When it comes to Facebook posts, Cambodia's dictator makes North Korea's dictator look almost reasonable.

Kim Jong Un has lobbed missiles and threats at places like Japan, Guam, and the United States. But Hun Sen, Cambodia's prime minister, said he'll attack his own people with rocket launchers.

Sam Rainsy, a political rival in Cambodia, wants to remove the Facebook factor. He came to the United States to sue for it.

Supreme Court Vacancy Stirs Concerns

Gov. Jerry Brown has been called a "judicial trailblazer" because of his groundbreaking appointments, including the nation's first openly gay and lesbian judges.

And either Judge Jim Humes or Judge Therese Stewart, both of California's First District Court of Appeal, could become the first gay or lesbian justice on the California Supreme Court. There is a vacancy, and potential candidates are waiting.

But it has been almost 10 months since the opportunity presented itself, and the governor seems to be lost in the woods. At least, California is getting restless.

California Sues Major For-Profit College

Behind every lawsuit, there is a true story.

It may not be apparent in the complaint, but it drives the litigation. In People of the State of California v. Ashford University, the real story starts with the second defendant named in the caption: Bridgeport Education, Inc.

Bridgeport owns the private university, which rocketed to $120 million in profits annually in ten years. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra says the defendants defrauded students.

Court Slaps Back Cosby and His Lawyer

Former model Janice Dickinson won a significant round in her legal fight with Bill Cosby, and it was a long time coming.

Fifteen years ago, Dickson told her publishers that Cosby had drugged and raped her but they feared civil liability. Her memoir was published with a sanitized version -- and then this happened: dozens more women made accusations of sexual assault against the former comedian.

After Dickinson went public in 2014, Cosby's lawyer attacked her in the media, so she sued for defamation. Now a California appeals court has slapped Cosby and his lawyer.

Lead Paint Case Still Pending Decades Later

California home builders stopped using lead paint a half century ago, but a state appeals court said they still have to clean up the mess.

Lead poisoning is a health problem for residents of old houses and apartments, and litigation over the issue has been plodding through the courts for nearly two decades. Four years ago, a trial judge ordered the paint manufacturers to pay $1.15 billion to abate the problem.

In People v. Conagra Grocery Products Company, the Sixth District Court of Appeals said the trial court must recalculate the cost of abatement. But the case is far from over.

'Keystone Cops' Mistakenly Arrest Their Own Trainee

The Keystone Cops were fictional, incompetent policemen. Some San Francisco police may not be fans, but they did a fair re-enactment.

While patrolling the Golden Gate Park, four police officers arrested one of their own. They thought Bret Cornell, an off-duty police trainee, was running away from them.

As it turned out, he was just jogging.