California Litigation Attorney Blog

On January 27, 2017, a mere two days after signing sweeping immigration Executive Orders, President Trump signed yet another Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (the “Order”) which was implemented immediately and caused chaos at airports and outrage throughout this country and the world.

The Order, commonly-known as a “Muslim-ban,” suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, reduces the number of refugees to be admitted, bars indefinitely the admission of Syrian refugees, and bans the entry of individuals from the Muslim-majority countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian, and Yemen, for at least 90 days. As a result, anyone from these countries who sought – or were already approved for, immigrant visas to permanently reside in the U.S. or non-immigrant visas for temporary travel to the U.S. were denied entry. Incredibly, the Order was also made applicable to Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs), who have already been vetted by the government, who were returning home from business trips or vacation. Since then, the Administration has provided a number of “updates” including a couple of updates to clarify the Order is not applicable to LPRs. These updates have led to confusion and as of the writing of this blog continue to change.

Since the implementation of the Order, at least thirteen (13) lawsuits were filed against the new Administration, including a class action lawsuit, alleging Constitutional violations of procedural and substantive due process rights under the Fifth Amendment, as well as the right to readmission as LPRs; discrimination based on country of origin substantially motived by animus toward Muslims in violation of the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by giving preference to non-Muslims; and violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (AILA Doc. No. 17013101).

The lawsuits yielded immediate results in the form of stays and, on February 3, 2017, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle temporarily blocked the Order nationwide. The government quickly sought an emergency stay of Judge Robart’s order but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to immediately reinstate the ban. On February 7, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court heard oral arguments on the government’s motion, and a decision is expected later this week. Once a decision is issued by the Ninth Circuit Court, either side could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court but, as has been noted, it could prove difficult to find the required five votes given the Court has been missing its ninth justice for almost a year since Antonin Scalia’s death.

The last immigration case that reached the Justices was in 2016 when Texas and 25 other states sued the Obama Administration to prevent the implementation of deferred action for parents, which resulted in a 4-4 decision. (United States v Texas, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (2016)). The other issue is time. How and when the case will reach the U.S. Supreme Court is unknown. The “Muslim-ban” is for 90 days and the issue could be moot by the time a decision is reached by the Justices. Or, as we have seen with so many updates, the government could yet again change the Order.  

It would be wise for anyone affected by this Executive Order, especially those who intend to travel, to seek the immediate assistance of immigration counsel.

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La Orden, comúnmente conocida como “Prohibición Musulmana,” suspende por 120 días el Programa de Admisión a Refugiados de los Estados Unidos, reduce el número de refugiados que pueden ser admitidos, impide indefinidamente la admisión de refugiados del país de Siria y prohíbe la entrada de personas de países con mayoría de Musulmanes, Irán, Irak, Libia, Somalia, Sudán, Siria y Yemen, durante por lo menos 90 días. Como resultado, se les negó la entrada a cualquier persona de estos países que aplicaban – o ya estaban aprobados para, visas de inmigrante para residir permanentemente en los Estados Unidos o visas de no inmigrante para viajar temporalmente a los Estados Unidos. Increíblemente, la Orden también se hizo aplicable a los residentes legales permanentes, que ya han sido examinados por el gobierno, que estaban regresando a casa después de viajes de negocios o vacaciones. Desde entonces, la Administración ha proporcionado una serie de “actualizaciones,” incluyendo un par de actualizaciones para aclarar que la Orden no es aplicable a los residentes. Estas actualizaciones han llevado a la confusión y, desde que se escribió este blog, siguen cambiando.

Desde la implementación de la Orden se han presentado por lo menos trece (13) demandas contra la nueva Administración, incluyendo una demanda colectiva, alegando violaciones Constitucionales de los derechos procesales y sustantivos del debido proceso bajo la Quinta Enmienda, así como el derecho a readmisión como Residentes Permanentes; discriminación basada en el país de origen sustancialmente motivada por la animosidad hacia los musulmanes en violación del componente de Protección Igual de la Cláusula del Debido Proceso de la Quinta Enmienda; violaciones de la Cláusula de Establecimiento de la Primera Enmienda dando preferencia a los no musulmanes; y violaciones de la Ley de Procedimiento Administrativo y la Ley de Restauración de la Libertad Religiosa.

Las demandas dieron resultados inmediatos en forma de estancias y, el 3 de febrero del 2017, el Juez de la Corte de Distrito Estadounidense en Seattle, James Robart, bloqueó temporalmente la Orden en todo el país. El gobierno rápidamente buscó una suspensión de emergencia de la orden del Juez Robart pero el Tribunal de Apelaciones del Noveno Circuito se negó a restablecer inmediatamente la prohibición. El 7 de febrero del 2017, el Tribunal de Apelaciones del Noveno Circuito escuchó argumentos orales sobre la moción del gobierno, y se espera una decisión a finales de esta semana. Una vez que una decisión es emitida por el Tribunal de Apelaciones, cualquiera de las partes podría apelar a la Corte Suprema de los EE.UU. pero, como se ha señalado, podría resultar difícil encontrar los cinco votos requeridos dado que la Corte ha estado operando con ocho Jueces durante casi un año desde la muerte de Antonin Scalia.

El último caso de inmigración que llegó a los jueces fue en 2016 cuando Texas y otros 25 estados demandaron a la Administración Obama para impedir la implementación de acciones diferidas para los padres, la que resultó en una decisión de 4-4. (United States vs Texas, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (2016)). La otra cuestión es de tiempo. Se desconoce cómo y cuándo llegará el caso a la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos. La “prohibición de los musulmanes” termina dentro de 90 días y la cuestión podría ser sin discusión cuando los Jueces lleguen a tomas una decisión. O, como hemos visto con tantas actualizaciones, el gobierno podría cambiar nuevamente la Orden.

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Most construction agreements between general contractors and subcontractors contain indemnity provisions that obligate the subcontractor to defend and hold harmless the general contractor from any claim growing out of the subcontractor’s work.  (See e.g., Crawford v. Weather Shield Mfg., Inc. (2008) 44 Cal.4th 541, 547-48.)  Under these types of provisions, when any party makes a claim against the general contractor, the general contractor may tender its defense to the subcontractor in an effort to force the subcontractors to pick up the general contractor’s attorneys’ fees or pay a quick settlement to avoid the cost of litigation.  Simply refusing to pay may create a perverse incentive for the general contractor’s attorney to churn the file because the attorney represents the general contractor, but the attorney will ultimately seek those fees against the subcontractor who failed to pick up the defense obligations.   Many subcontractors incorrectly assume that their defense and indemnify obligations arise only after a finding of fault or at least, some finding of a connection between the subcontractor’s work and the claim against the general contractor.  In reality, the specific language of the indemnity provision controls.  The misconceptions may be attributable to the misunderstanding of Crawford.

In that case, the indemnity provision obligated the window installation subcontractor to indemnify the developer from all claims “growing out of the execution of [its] work” and to defend and indemnify the general from all actions “founded upon the claim of such damage.”  (44 Cal.4th at 547-48.)  Several homeowners filed suit against the developer alleging that the windows had been improperly designed, manufactured, and installed.  (Id. at 548.)  The developer filed a suit for indemnity against the subcontractor, which contended that the duty to defend and indemnify only arose after a court determined that the subcontractor performed negligently.  (Id. at 548-49.)  The Supreme Court held that the subcontractor’s duty to defend “arose when such claim was made” based on the interpretation of the specific indemnity provision at issue, which referenced any “claim” and contained a singular clause for defense and indemnity.  (Id. at 558.)

Although Crawford seems straightforward, the case is often cited for the proposition that the subcontractor’s obligations always arise when a claim is made, presumably because the Supreme Court held that the subcontractor had to defend the developer.  For example, the Court of Appeal characterized Crawford as “holding that a contractual indemnitor incurs a duty to defend the indemnitee as soon as the indemnitee tenders its defense to the indemnitor.”  (UDC-Universal Development v. CH2M Hill (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 10, 15.) However, the Court of Appeal’s interpretation went too far as the Supreme Court emphasized that its interpretation was based upon the particular provision at issue.  (Crawford, supra, 44 Cal.4th at 567.) Not every defense and indemnity provision is the same.  Consequently, subcontractors looking to avoid paying out defense costs prior to a finding of liability or based on any “claim” should evaluate the language used in their indemnity provisions and consider adding language distinguishing it from the provision in Crawford.

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On January 25, 2017, President Trump signed two Executive Orders, which impacted immigrants nationwide. No doubt you have heard about the building of a physical wall on the border with Mexico and back and forth argument on who will bear the cost. The impact of the Executive Orders, however, is much more serious than who gets to pay for the wall or than what has been reported on the news. In an attempt to avoid information overload, this blog will focus only on the more problematic aspects of each Order.

            The first Executive Order entitled “Border Security and immigration Enforcement” was signed on January 25, 2017 and it directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to allocate funds to construct a physical wall on the border with Mexico and detention facilities. In addition, the EO directs DHS to “empower [s]tate and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer” (EO, Sec. 10) under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In other words, state and local law enforcement will have the authority to investigate, apprehend, or detain aliens. These types of agreements under INA 287(g) were reduced significantly during the Obama administration because they were problematic and led to racial profiling and due process violations. Even more troubling is that, in conjunction with 287(g) agreements, the EO expands “expedited removal” to allow the removal of undocumented individual – including those with U.S. citizen spouses and children, without ever seeing an immigration judge. (AILA Doc. No. 17012505). Needless to say, the cost involved in building a wall is minimal next to the due process violations that are likely to occur when empowering state and local authorities to act as immigration officers, and when removing individuals without a court hearing.

            The second Executive Order entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” was also signed on January 25, 2017 and it increases Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resources by hiring additional officers. Troubling, however, is the new enforcement priorities which basically changes the definition of who is a “criminal” for immigration purposes. In essence, the EO makes every undocumented individual a priority for removal, including those who “have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved,” those who “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense,” and, broadly, those who “otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security” (EO, Sec. 5). Under the language of the EO, priorities could also include those who have been charged with minor offenses such as jaywalking as well as those who have overstayed their visas. The EO raises serious due process concerns. For instance, anyone charged with a crime – but not yet convicted, could be subject of removal prior to resolution of their state case. In addition, the definition of who “pose[s] a risk to public safety or national security” is left to the discretion of the arresting Federal, state, or local agent. (AILA Doc. No. 17012506).

            Needless to say, the implications of each Executive Order are many, and anyone who is impacted by the Orders should immediately seek the advice of competent counsel.

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El 25 de enero del 2017, el Presidente Trump firmó dos Órdenes Ejecutivas que afectaron a inmigrantes en todo el país. No hay duda de que usted ha oído hablar de la construcción de un muro en la frontera con México y  argumento sobre quién va a pagar el costo. El impacto de las Órdenes Ejecutivas, sin embargo, es mucho más serio de quien va a pagar por el muro o lo que se ha informado en las noticias. En un intento por evitar la sobrecarga de información, este blog se centrará sólo en los aspectos más problemáticos de cada orden.

            La primera Orden Ejecutiva firmada el 25 de enero del 2017 es titulada “Seguridad Fronteriza y Cumplimiento con la Ley de Inmigración,” y ordena al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS por sus siglas en inglés) a asignar fondos para construir un muro físico en la frontera con México y más centros de detención. Además, ordena a DHS que “autorice a las agencias estatales y locales a desempeñar las funciones de un oficial de inmigración” bajo la sección 287(g) de la Ley de Inmigración y Nacionalidad (INA por sus siglas en inglés). En otras palabras, las autoridades estatales y locales tendrán la autoridad para investigar o detener a los extranjeros. Estos tipos de acuerdos bajo INA 287(g) se redujeron significativamente durante la administración de Obama porque eran problemáticos y facilitaron la discriminación racial y violaciones de debido proceso legal. Aún más preocupante es que, en conjunto con los acuerdos 287(g), la Orden Ejecutiva amplía la “expulsión acelerada” para permitir la remoción de los Estados Unidos de personas indocumentadas -incluyendo aquellas con cónyuges e hijos ciudadanos, sin ver jamás a un juez de inmigración. No hace falta decir que el costo involucrado en la construcción de un muro es mínimo al lado de las anticipadas violaciones del debido proceso legal cuando se faculta a las autoridades estatales y locales para actuar como oficiales de inmigración, y de igual manera el remover a personas sin una audiencia judicial.

            La segunda Orden Ejecutiva también firmada el 25 de enero del 2017 es titulada “Fortalecer la Seguridad Pública en el Interior de los Estados Unidos,” y aumenta los recursos del Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas de Estados Unidos (ICE por sus siglas en inglés) al contratar oficiales adicionales. Sin embargo, lo más preocupante de esta Orden es que básicamente cambia la definición de quién es un “criminal” para fines de inmigración. La Orden hace que cada persona indocumentada sea prioridad para la remoción, incluyendo a aquellos personas que “han sido acusados de algún delito, donde no se ha resuelto esa acusación,” aquellos que “han cometido actos que constituyen un delito penal,” y, ampliamente, aquellos que “de otra manera representan un riesgo para la seguridad pública o la seguridad nacional”. Bajo el lenguaje de esta Orden, las prioridades también podrían incluir a aquellos que han sido acusados de delitos menores, tales como la imprudencia peatonal, así como aquellos que se han quedado en al país después del vencimiento de sus visas. La Orden plantea graves problemas de debido proceso legal. Por ejemplo, cualquier persona acusada de un delito – pero aún no condenado, podría ser objeto de la eliminación antes de la resolución de su caso estatal. Además, la definición de quién “plantea un riesgo para la seguridad pública o la seguridad nacional” se deja a la discreción del agente federal, estatal o local que lo arresta.

            Huelga decir que las implicaciones de cada Orden Ejecutiva son muchas, y cualquiera persona que sea afectado por las Órdenes debe inmediatamente buscar asesoría legal de un abogado con experiencia.

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Domestic violence occurs in all communities irrespective of ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds. Immigrant women and children, however, are particularly vulnerable since the U.S. citizen (USC) or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse is able to use immigration as yet another means of controlling the victim.

In 1994, Congress recognized the plight of abused immigrants and their children by enacting the Violence Against Women Act which amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to allow abused immigrant spouses and their children to obtain permanent residence by self-petitioning before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). “Self-petitioning” means to request status independently, without the involvement or knowledge of the abusive USC or LPR spouse. VAWA 1994 was subsequently amended by the Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act (VAWA 2000) and again by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005. It is important to note that, despite the name, relief under VAWA is available to abused spouses regardless of gender.

Currently, a self-petition under VAWA may be filed by (1) abused spouses of USCs or LPRs; (2) spouses of USCs or LPRs whose children have been abused by the USC or LPR spouse; (3) abused “intended spouses” of USCs or LPRs (an “intended spouse” is one who marries a USC or LPR in good faith but then learns that the marriage is not legitimate because the USC or LPR is still married to someone else (see INA §101(a)(50)); (4) abused children of USCs or LPRs; and (5) abused parents of USCs who qualify as immediate relatives (abusive USC must be at least 21 years old). (INA §201(a)(1)). In addition, other than the last category, applicants may include their children as derivative beneficiaries even if the children are not related to the abuser and even if the children have not been abused. (8 CFR §204.2(c)(4)).

The requirements for a self-petition vary slightly depending on whether the self-petitioner is a spouse, child, or parent. A spouse or “intended spouse” must show the following:

(1) Good Moral Character, generally for the last three years preceding the filing of the self-petition (8 CFR §204.2(c)(1)(vii)). Waivers may be available to those who meet eligibility requirements.

(2) Marriage to a USC or LPR. An abused spouse who has since divorce or whose spouse has died within the past two years may self-petition. (INA §§204(a)(1)(A)(iii)(II)(aa)(CC)(ccc), (A)(vi), (B)(ii)(II)(aa)(CC)(bbb)).

(3) Good faith marriage. A self-petitioning spouse must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the marriage or intended marriage was entered into in good faith.

(4) That during the marriage, the spouse was battered or subject of extreme cruelty committed by the USC or LPR spouse. (INA §204(a)(1)(A)(iii)(bb), (iv), (B)(ii)(I)(bb), (iii)). Abuse is defined as “any act or threatened act of violence, including any forceful detention, which results or threatens to result in physical or mental injury.” It includes psychological abuse, rape, incest, and forced prostitution. (8 CFR §§204.2(c)(1)(vi), (e)(2)(vi)).

(5) Residence, in the past or presently, with the USC or LPR spouse, and

(6) The abuse spouse’s current residence in the United States or, if living abroad, that the abusing spouse is an employee of the U.S. government, member of the uniformed services, or that the battery or extreme cruelty occurred in the United States. (INA §§201(a)(1)(A),(B)).

As you can see from this discussion, there are many nuances involved in the VAWA application process and every case requires a thorough analysis and assessment of the particular facts of each case.

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La violencia doméstica ocurre en todas las comunidades independientemente de su origen étnico o socioeconómico. Sin embargo, las mujeres y los niños inmigrantes son particularmente vulnerables ya que el cónyuge que es ciudadano estadounidense (Ciudadano) o residente legal permanente (Residente) puede utilizar la inmigración como otro medio de controlar a la víctima.

En 1994, el Congreso reconoció la situación difícil de los inmigrantes abusados y sus hijos mediante la promulgación de la Ley de Violencia contra las Mujeres (VAWA por sus siglas en Ingles) que enmendó la Ley de Nacionalidad e Inmigración (INA) para permitir que los cónyuges inmigrantes abusados y sus hijos obtengan residencia permanente por auto-petición al Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración. “Auto-petición” significa solicitar estado legal independientemente y sin la participación o conocimiento del cónyuge abusivo quien es el Ciudadano o Residente. VAWA 1994 fue posteriormente enmendada por la Ley de Protección a las Mujeres Inmigrantes Abusadas (VAWA 2000) y nuevamente por la Reautorización de la Ley de Violencia contra las Mujeres del 2005. Es importante tener en cuenta que a pesar del nombre, alivio bajo VAWA está disponible para los cónyuges abusados sin importar su género.

Actualmente, una auto-petición bajo VAWA puede ser presentada por (1) cónyuges abusados de Ciudadanos o Residentes; (2) cónyuges de Ciudadanos o Residentes cuyos hijos han sido abusados por el cónyuge Ciudadano o Residente; (3) “cónyuges intencionados” de Ciudadanos o Residentes (un “cónyuge intencionado” es uno que se casa de buena fe con un Ciudadano o Residente, pero luego aprende que el matrimonio no es legítimo porque el Ciudadano o Residente estaba casado con otra persona (INA §101 (a) (50)), (4) niños abusados de Ciudadanos o Residentes, y (5) padres de Ciudadanos quienes son abusados por el Ciudadano y quienes califican como familiares inmediatos (el Ciudadano abusivo debe tener por lo menos 21 años de edad). Además, con excepción de la última categoría, los solicitantes pueden incluir a sus hijos como beneficiarios derivados incluso si los niños no son hijos del abusador e incluso si los niños no han sido abusados (8 CFR § 1). 204.2 (c) (4)).

Los requisitos para una auto-petición varían ligeramente dependiendo de si el auto-peticionario es un cónyuge, hijo o padre. Un cónyuge o “cónyuge intencionado” debe mostrar lo siguiente:

(1) Buen carácter moral, generalmente durante los últimos tres años anteriores a la presentación de la auto-petición (8 CFR §204.2 (c) (1) (vii)). Puede haber renuncias (perdones) disponibles para aquellos que cumplan con los requisitos de elegibilidad.

(2) Matrimonio a un Ciudadano o Residente. Un cónyuge abusado que se ha divorciado o cuyo cónyuge ha muerto en los últimos dos años también puede someter una auto-petición. (INA §§204 (a) (1) (A) (iii) (II) (aa) (CC) (ccc), (A) (vi), (B) (ii) (II) (aa) CC) (bbb)).

(3) Matrimonio de buena fe. Un cónyuge que somete una auto-petición debe demostrar por una preponderancia de la evidencia de que el matrimonio o el matrimonio intencionado fue celebrado de buena fe.

(4) Que durante el matrimonio, el cónyuge fue golpeado o sujeto a crueldad extrema cometida por el cónyuge Ciudadano o Residente. (INA §204 (a) (1) (A) (iii) (bb), (iv), (B) (ii) (I) (bb), (iii)). Abuso se define como “cualquier acto o acto amenazado de violencia, incluyendo detención forzada, que resulte o amenace como resultar en daño físico o mental.” Incluye abuso psicológico, violación, incesto y prostitución forzada. (8 CFR §§204.2 (c) (1) (vi), (e) (2) (vi)).

(5) Residencia, en el pasado o en el presente, con el cónyuge de Ciudadano o Residente, y

(6) La residencia actual en los Estados Unidos del cónyuge abusado o, si vive en el extranjero, que el cónyuge abusador es un empleado del gobierno de los Estados Unidos, miembro de los servicios uniformados, o que el abuso o crueldad extrema ocurrió en los Estados Unidos. (INA §§201 (a) (1) (A), (B)).

Como se puede ver en esta discusión, hay muchos matices involucrados en el proceso de solicitud de VAWA y cada caso requiere un análisis exhaustivo y una evaluación de los hechos.

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Landlord Tenant LeaseUnlawful detainer law is filled with pitfalls for the unwary. For example, if the landlord realizes after the unlawful detainer complaint has been filed that its three day notice is invalid, can it simply serve a new three day notice, then amend its complaint?

In California, the answer is that the landlord must dismiss the unlawful detainer case and file a new case.

“A cause of action for unlawful detainer does not arise until the three days required for proper notice have expired without the tenant having paid the rent during that time.” Lamanna v. Vognar (1993) 17 Cal.App. 4th Supp. 4, 6, 22 Cal.Rptr. 2d 501, 502 (citing Downing v. Cutting Packing Co. (1920) 183 Cal. 91, 95-96; finding that unlawful detainer complaint was invalid based on early filing due to failure to account for legal holiday).

The remedy as Rutter explains is that: “A prematurely filed UD complaint is a noncurable defect, requiring filing of a new lawsuit, and thus could also be raised by a preanswer CCP § 430.10(e) demurrer . . . .” Cal. Prac. Guide Landlord-Tenant Ch. 8-D, 8:344.

Rutter cites Lamanna as follows: “Unlawful detainer filed prematurely: Although properly served, a statutory notice to terminate does not ‘ripen’ into an unlawful detainer action unless and until the statutory notice period (three or 30/60 days) has fully run (without a cure, if applicable). A UD filed before then is premature and will be dismissed on proper motion or defense.” Cal. Prac. Guide Landlord-Tenant Ch. 8-D, 8:343.

This means that: “When a demurrer is granted for a defect in required notice to terminate, the complaint cannot be cured by amendment. Instead, the landlord must file a new complaint, after giving the tenant new notice. . . . This simply applies the general rule that a demurrer should be sustained without leave to amend ‘where the facts are not in dispute and the nature of the claim is clear, but no liability exists under substantive law.'” Cal. Prac. Guide Landlord-Tenant Ch. 8-C, 8:238 (quoting Lawrence v. Bank of America (1985) 163 Cal.App. 3d 431, 436).

Generally, a plaintiff “may be allowed, on motion, to make a supplemental complaint . . . alleging facts material to the case occurring after the former complaint.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 464.) “Matters which occur after the filing of a complaint may not be alleged by amendment to the complaint, but must be brought into the action by means of a supplemental complaint.” Hebert v. Los Angeles Raiders, Ltd. (1991) 23 Cal.App.4th 414, 426.

However, there is no reason to file a motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint because “a supplemental complaint cannot aid an original complaint which was filed before a cause of action had arisen.” Radar v. Rogers (1957) 49 Cal. 2d 243, 247–48. In other words, “a supplemental complaint may not be filed where the cause of action is not complete when the suit is commenced.” Grant v. Sun Indem. Co. of New York (1938) 11 Cal.2d 438, 440.

Tenants have rights, including the right to a three day notice that proceeds the filing of a lawsuit. Landlords and tenants should be aware of their rights. Hiring proper counsel is the first step to ensuring the desired result.

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Effective December 23, 2016, there will be an increase in fees for applications and petitions filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Some examples of the fee increase are:

An Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) is increasing from $985.00 to $1,140.00.

An Application to Replace a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90) is increasing from $365.00 to $455.00.

An Application for a Travel Document (Form I-131/I-131A) is increasing from $360.00 to $575.00.

An Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) is increasing from $595.00 to $640.00.

An Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539) is increasing from $290.00 to $370.00.

A Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) is increasing from $420.00 to $535.00.

A Petition for Alien Fiance(e) (Form I-129F) is increasing from $340.00 to $535.00.

A Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751) is increasing from $505.00 to $595.00.

An Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) is increasing from $580.00 to $700.00.

A separate biometrics fee of $85.00 may also be required such as with the Application to Register Permanent Residence, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, and the Application for Naturalization, to name a few.

Any application and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016 must include the new fees or USCIS will reject the submission.


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If you have been married less than two (2) years by the time you get to the interview on your permanent residency application, and assuming you meet all other requirements, you and your foreign-born children will be granted conditional residency for a period of two years. At the end of the two years, you will need to file a separate application to remove the conditions and obtain permanent residency.

In essence, filing for the removal of conditions on your residency requires that you prove to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that your marriage was not entered into simply to evade immigration laws. You are eligible to remove the conditions on your residency if you (1) are still married to the same U.S. citizen, (2) are a child who cannot be included in your parents’ application, (3) are a widow or widower who entered into the marriage in good faith, (4) entered into the marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment, or (5) you entered into a marriage in good faith, but you or your child  were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S. citizen spouse.

You and your spouse must apply together to remove the conditions on your residency within the 90-day period before the expiration of your residency card. If you are late in filing your application, your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and USCIS will begin removal proceedings against you. If you are unable to apply together with your spouse, you may apply to waive the joint filing requirement, which requires additional evidence, such as a showing of extreme hardship, depending on the reason for not filing together.

To apply to remove the conditions together with your spouse, you must use Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, and provide documentation proving that your marriage was entered into in good faith. Evidence of a good faith marriage includes, but is not limited to, birth certificates of children born of the marriage, property deeds showing joint ownership, life insurance showing each other as the beneficiary, joint tax returns, joint bank account statements, driver’s license or correspondence showing the same address, and pictures of the couple, with family, with friends, etc.

Lastly, although the majority of applications are not scheduled for an interview, you may be scheduled for an interview if there are questions regarding your eligibility.

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Christopher_JohnsonBusiness transactions or investments often require the formation of an entity. Individuals are tempted to use on-line legal services to obtain the formation at a low price. Are there any benefits to these individuals if they consider meeting with a local business lawyer before forming the entity on-line?

The answer is yes. The benefit is the opportunity to listen to the “right questions”.

Sitting down with a business lawyer for a consult should involve the professional asking questions. Those questions should uncover some issues that need to be considered prior to going forward with the formation and the underlying transaction or investment.

It has been my experience that people spend a lot of time trying to decide which type of entity they should form. Should it be a Subchapter S corporation or a limited liability company? While this analysis needs to be undertaken, the better questions often consider the three “C” building blocks of any investment or formation that involves more than one party. Those three “C”s are: (1) contribution, (2) control; and (3) conclusion.


The question at the outset should be “what is each participant bringing to the joint venture”? Often one party is bringing technical ability or business experience. Another party may be bringing an extensive history of networking or business contacts. Another party may be bringing access to financing or to the land or a key asset to be used by the joint venture.  In addition, it is imperative the parties agree on the value of each contribution at the formation stage.


Both specific practical concerns and technical rules apply to the governing or control issues. Formal rules exist that concern various subcategories such as the appointment of directors and officers or managers, limitations on the power of those individuals, and the reasons for their removal both voluntary and involuntary. Both these rules and the practical concerns must be reviewed and approved during the formation stage.


Sophisticated clients or experienced investors review the conclusion scenario first before they consider contribution and control issues. Put simply, they ask the overriding question: “if this joint venture or investment fails miserably, how am I affected?” Or to put it another way, “does a failure affect my lifestyle?” If the answer is “yes, it probably would affect my lifestyle”, then the risk is most likely too high for the potential reward. At a minimum, a serious and impartial analysis of the risk involved must be undertaken often by a trusted unbiased third party advisor. If the risk/reward analysis indicates going forward is acceptable, the crucial tool for the conclusion category is a thoughtful and comprehensive buy-sell agreement. This agreement must attempt to consider all possible scenarios for business succession. Those scenarios include a voluntary third party buy-out, an involuntary forced sale or entity reorganization, death, disability or divorce.

On a final note, it is important to remember the on-line legal services market typically offers the questionnaire and one-size fits-all approach. Often this approach omits the most important “conclusion” document – the comprehensive buy-sell agreement. While the on-line alternative is a valid approach to formation, it is important for the reader to consider each of these categories and the potential sub-questions before entering into a new business venture and making a new investment.

Chris Johnson is an Attorney with the Riverside law firm of Reid & Hellyer, and manages the Temecula Office. Chris’s practice areas are Business Transactions, Real Estate and Estate Planning.

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A Mediation Scuttled by Emotions       

     Recently, I participated in a mediation with a highly-regarded and experienced mediator who was frustrated that the “claimant” remained “offended” from the opening gambit through the end of the wasted day. 

      Apparently, the claimant and its counsel thought it was OK for them to demand 100 cents on the dollar and hardly budge throughout the day, but that it was “offensive” that the opposing parties made low-ball offers and didn’t raise them much when the claimant didn’t reduce its demands very much. 

      First, this demonstrates a lack of client control by the lawyer for the claimant, expectation management and proper analysis of the claimant’s case. 

      Second, it also demonstrates that one has to have the proper client representative at a mediation.  The claimant was represented by a low-level administrator who knew only one thing…that person lacked any kind of analytical ability and had no financial skin in the game.  The person with authority was elsewhere doing other things. 

      Third, it also demonstrates bad faith…why agree to mediate if no give-and-take is acceptable because it’s more important to be “offended.”

      Last, when did emotions become the over-riding consideration in business litigation? 

      The moral of the story is to “test” all parties’ willingness to mediate by asking one key question – what are the clients’ expectations?  If any of them are unrealistic, it may be better to save the time, expense and aggravation of a wasted mediation.

     (BTW, the claimant accepted a pittance from one of the opposing parties on the eve of trial…that could have been accomplished at the mediation.)


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