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Thomas Kinkade's Estate Battle Moves to Appeals Court

The fight over deceased artist Thomas Kinkade’s multi-million dollar estate will soon make its way up to the California Court of Appeals.

On July 24, attorneys for Thomas Kinkade’s estate filed an appeal with California’s Sixth District Court of Appeal, reports Patch.

Cal Court Recognizes Tortious Interference with Inheritance

California’s Fourth Appellate District recognized the tort of intentional interference with an expected inheritance (IIEI) last week, joining the majority of other states in recognizing the tort of IIEI as a valid cause of action.

In addition to expanding California’s tort causes of action to include IIEI, the court outlined the components of an IIEI claim.

Cal Supreme Court to Consider Testator Intent in Holographic Will

The California Supreme Court is set to decide whether deeds speak louder than words when it comes to testator intent.

This week, the state’s highest court voted to review an intestacy ruling to decide whether a decedent’s clear intent in his holographic will should overcome shortcomings in the language of the document.

Calling Juror 13: Judge Can Strike Trial Verdict in Palimony Case

The problem with maintaining a harem of female companions over the course of 30 years is that, eventually, you may grow attached to one of your companions.

Anyone who's seen Pretty Woman knows that one minute you're making a business arrangement, and the next, you're overcoming a fear of heights to climb a fire escape and proclaim your undying love.

These things happen.

Jacques Gaston Murray, a wealthy, 91-year-old business man, married three times. After his last divorce, he swore to never become emotionally involved in a relationship again. Murray is our Richard Gere/Edward Lewis character in this case.

Holographic Rogue Wills OK, California Court of Appeals Says

The California Court of Appeals presided over a unique probate case earlier this year. Ever heard of a rogue will? No, it’s not Sarah Palin’s will.

Rouge is certainly an apropos term especially in this case, because here, the will was quite inaccurate and the personalities involved were pretty preposterous.

A rogue will is that random, unknown little will that sneaks up on the presumptive heirs and catches them off guard. In many instances such will could be simple holographic wills. The case before the California Court of Appeals was known as Estate of Stoker and it’s the first California Appellate case to apply the “harmless error rule” that was passed by the State of California in 2008, writes the Wall Street Journal.

California Court of Appeal Rules Against Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Beware, California lawyers! Malpractice lawsuits just became a bit easier.

In April, the California appellate court case of Callahan v. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher found against Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in a result that should raise red flags for all California attorneys, particularly those who draft documents for client consumption. According to Thomson Reuters News & Insight, the 2nd District California Court of Appeal held that the law firm's clients had a malpractice claim against the firm, based on a faulty family limited partnership-- over a decade after the documents had been drafted.

The key issue at appeal was the statute of limitations on such a claim. The statute of limitations on the malpractice suit, states the court in its opinion, began to run after injury was sustained as opposed to when the allegedly faulty documents were drafted. The injury occurred in 2004, nearly sixteen years after the documents had been drafted.

Conservatorship of the Estate of McQueen, A126825

Exclusion of evidence from consideration under the collateral source doctrine

Conservatorship of the Estate of McQueen, A126825, concerned a conservator's suit on behalf of a mentally and physically disabled elder, against several of the elder's family members and the family's legal representative, claiming that the defendants violated the terms of a trust set up for the elder by her father when they sold the family residence, in which the elder held a life estate, without her consent or knowledge and then misappropriated the entirety of the sales proceeds for their own use.

Viterbi v. Wasserman, D055209, concerned a challenge to the trial court's grant of nonsuit as to the securities fraud claims in plaintiffs' suit against their former employee for securities fraud related claim, who worked as an analyst on plaintiffs' biotech investments.  In affirming, the court held that, because privity of contract is necessary to maintain an action for rescission under sections 22504 and 22504.1, a purchaser of securities may not maintain such a claim against someone other than the direct seller, as rescission requires the contracting parties to be placed in the position they were in prior to contracting, and a non-seller, who did not receive any money from the purchaser, cannot return that money to the purchaser.

Speilman v. Ex'Pression Ctr. for New Media, A122357, concerned plaintiffs' suit against defendant-private postsecondary educational institution, which offers courses in sound arts, digital visual medial, and Web design and development, for violation of Education Code former sections 94312, 94832, and 94875, as well as various other causes of action, claiming that defendant made certain misrepresentations to them, including that it would soon be nationally accredited, that they would graduate from the school with degrees from a nationally accredited institution, that their degrees and credits would be transferable to other accredited institutions.

Decisions in Criminal, Trust, Labor and anti-SLAPP Matters

People v. Lieng, A125373, concerned a challenge to defendants' respective convictions for cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.  In affirming, the court held that the trial court was correct in finding the area of the defendant's property searched on two occasions falls outside the curtilage of that property, and the court did not err in denying defendants' motion to suppress on that ground.  Further, the use of the night vision goggles by an officer on defendant's property did not constitute a "search" in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  Lastly, the court held that the trial court properly denied the motion to quash the warrant as the search of the defendant's property was not an illegal warrantless search, and the trial court properly denied defendants' motion to traverse.