Category Archives: News

Finding Justice in the Grinding Gears of Litigation

The right judgment is not always the just result — a judgment often fails to account for the time and expense invested to obtain it. But sometimes, the grinding gears of litigation can be used to achieve some justice. In Leeman v. Adams Extract & Spice Co. (Cal. Ct. App. – May 21, 2015), plaintiff settled a Prop. 65 (toxic chemicals warning) case — cases typically driven by a cottage-industry of “sue and settle” lawyers. The settlement here was for a typically small amount of civil penalties, and a typically much larger amount of fees at $72,500, with hourly rates Read More

Brokers: Get Your Commission Agreements in Writing!

Last month’s decision in Westside Estate Agency, Inc. v. Randall (Cal. Ct. App. – Dec. 1, 2016) began its opinion saying: “We are all familiar with the phrase, “caveat emptor”: Buyer beware. This case deals with its less renowned cousin, “caveat sectorem”: Broker beware.” Section 1624 of the Civil Code says that a real estate broker can only be a broker for someone — e.g., get a commission — if there’s an agreement in writing.  The broker here didn’t get a signed agreement authorizing his status as a broker, but instead relied upon an alleged oral agreement. That’s not good Read More

Asset-Protection Update: QPRTs May Be Deemed Revocable!

In a recently affirmed decision TVA obtained for the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court held that a QPRT — generally irrevocable and commonly used in estate planning to hold personal residences — may nonetheless be revoked when the debtor retains an right to reacquire ownership of the residence. The case, In re: Robert Ferrante, involves a former savings-and-loan banker, Robert Ferrante, who owned a beautiful 5,500 square foot home on an exclusive island in the harbor of Newport Beach, California, with a 50-foot frontage overlooking the bay. In 1994, Robert transferred property into a QPRT — a Read More

TVA January Newsletter

  Legal News _January 2017 Introducing the TVA Newsletter! Since the time our firm started in 2010, Thomas Vogele & Associates has had the opportunity to represent several dozens of clients and work with many excellent colleagues, experts, and other professionals. Today, the team at TVA racks up several decades of combined litigation experience. Thank you for being a part of it! We are launching this newsletter to share with you some dispatches from the litigation front lines. Some stories will point out updates in the law that might affect your business. Others will highlight some best practices. And some Read More

TVA Wins Mandatory Injunction Against Shell Pipeline Company

TVA’s clients bought a 138-acre parcel across the street from Meadows Field airport, a property hoped to be the “window to the city” of Bakersfield. When undisclosed Shell and Chevron pipelines were found and they refused to relocate them, however, development ground to a halt. After several months of stalemate, this “window” property showed nothing but the power pipeline operators wield in Kern County. TVA sued the operators in federal court for the Eastern District of California in C & C Properties, Inc., et al., v. Shell Pipeline Co., et al. TVA immediately moved the court for a preliminary injunction Read More