Category Archives: Changes in Law

Appellate Court Holds That Attorneys Fees Not Recoverable Even Though Credit Application Contained A “Prevailing Party Attorneys Fees” Clause

business contract transaction agreement signatures

Many businesses rely on a credit application for the terms and conditions of its sales to its customers. Often the credit application is the only document that the customer actually signs. Relying on invoices, purchase orders, bills of lading, delivery tickets and the like that are not signed by the customer in the ordinary course of business will not support an award of attorneys fees in the event of a collection action and judgment. This is true even though these documents may contain a prevailing party attorneys fees clause.  Because the credit application is usually signed by the customer, however, the creditor/seller often successfully relies on the prevailing party attorneys fees clause in the signed credit application for an award of attorneys fees in the event of collection litigation and judgment. Continue reading

Estate Planning and Trust Administration Made Easier

Estate Planning and Trust Administration

Have You Reviewed Your Trust Recently?

A common estate planning strategy prior to 2012 was to set up an “A-B” Trust distribution that created a Bypass Trust upon the death of the first spouse. The primary purpose of the Bypass Trust was to maximize a married couple’s total estate tax personal exemption. In 2012, though, the federal estate tax laws were substantially revised and, for most couples, simplified. Continue reading

Court Limits Scope Of Guarantor Waivers

Note to readers: This brief post covers only one key aspect of this important case. There are other ramifications for contractual relationships that could impact you. Check with us for more details if you have an interest, or any concerns.

In the recent court case of California Bank & Trust v. Del Ponti, the court set an important precedent that applies to disputes on commercial loans between property developers and lenders.  In effect, a commercial lender cannot enforce waivers in guarantee agreements which are unlawful or otherwise contravene public policy.  Guarantor waivers are limited to certain legal and statutory defenses specifically set forth in the agreements, but not equitable defenses.  Continue reading