Justia California Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in International Law
Cima-Sorci v. Sorci
A father objected to a California court order confirming the registration of an Italian child and spousal support order pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). On appeal, Father argued the trial court: (1) “misallocated to Father the burden of proving that Italy is not a state under UIFSA,” (2) “improperly deprived Father of an evidentiary hearing to refute the notion that Italy is such a state,” (3) “erroneously refused to render a statement of decision,” and (4) “erred as a matter of law in concluding that Italy is a state under UIFSA.” Finding no merit to these contentions, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order. View "Cima-Sorci v. Sorci" on Justia Law
Fox Factory, Inc. v. Superior Court
The Sixth Appellate District directed the superior court to reconsider its denial of a motion to dismiss or stay a personal injury lawsuit under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The suit was filed by a Canadian citizen and resident of British Columbia against Fox, a California corporation that manufactures bicycle parts. The plaintiff was injured while mountain biking in Canada on a custom-built bicycle that included parts manufactured by Fox. The plaintiff filed another court action in Vancouver, naming other defendants. Fox argued that British Columbia, where the Canadian case was ongoing, was a suitable forum because plaintiff was a British Columbia resident, the accident took place in British Columbia, and all relevant evidence, medical personnel, and percipient witnesses were located there. Fox believed it was at an unfair disadvantage because it had no way to compel the appearance of crucial Canadian witnesses, and that the cases should be tried together to prevent piecemeal litigation. Fox stipulated that it would subject itself to jurisdiction in British Columbia. The superior court applied the “seriously inconvenient forum” standard in denying Fox’s motion. The court of appeal stated “a foreign, noncitizen plaintiff’s choice of forum is entitled to less deference.” View "Fox Factory, Inc. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law
In re R.L.
Cynthia C. and Gerardo L. appealed the termination of their parental rights to their daughter, R. L. Gerardo contended the jurisdictional and dispositional findings and orders, and all subsequent orders, had to be reversed because the juvenile court did not have home state jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. He also contended he did not receive notice of the proceedings pursuant to the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. Cynthia joined in Gerardo's arguments to the extent they inured to her benefit, but raised no other issues. After review of the trial court record, the Court of Appeals found Cynthia and Gerardo's arguments unavailing, and affirmed termination of their parental rights. View "In re R.L." on Justia Law
Noergaard v. Noergaard
In this case, the trial court granted Christian Noergaard’s request to remove his 11-year-old daughter from the care of her mother Tammy Noergaard and return the child to Denmark without an evidentiary hearing on critical aspects of Tammy’s objections under the Hague Convention. The trial court declined to address mother’s allegations father e-mailed a death threat against her and the daughter's younger sister or her exhibits and testimony supporting her claim he engaged in a history of spousal abuse and child abuse. According to mother, father’s abuse caused the daughter to run away from his care in Denmark and flee to Orange County with her maternal grandmother. Because due process required an opportunity for mother to be heard on claims that would prevent the daughter's return under the Hague Convention, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded for a full evidentiary hearing. View "Noergaard v. Noergaard" on Justia Law
County of L.A. Child Supp. Serv. Dept. v. Super. Ct.
This petition involves a paternity and support action filed in a Zurich court in 2008, alleging that petitioner, a resident of California, is the father of Jayden. Both Jayden and his mother live in Switzerland. The court held that when a foreign judgment establishing paternity and child support is registered in California for enforcement purposes under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, Fam. Code 4900 et seq., a California court order may not order genetic testing to challenge registration of that order. In the context of this case, genetic testing is not relevant to any matter that is properly before the trial court in this enforcement proceeding under the Act. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for writ of mandate. View "County of L.A. Child Supp. Serv. Dept. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law
Auffert v. Capitales Tours
In 2009, on Highway 101 in Monterey County, a bus driver lost control of the vehicle, which collided with bridge rails. The bus, carrying 34 French tourists, rolled; 18 occupants were ejected. Several were thrown over the bridge onto railroad tracks. The driver and four passengers were killed; 21 were severely injured. Capitales Tours and other defendants moved to dismiss or stay California lawsuits, asserting that France was the suitable forum. Plaintiffs argued that most of the documents and witnesses were in California, and that medical personnel and hospitals would likely receive nothing if the cases were transferred. There were more than $5 million in outstanding medical bills. The court found that public and private interest factors favored France because plaintiffs sought application of the French Tourism Code and would require translation. The court stayed the actions for one year. If France accepted jurisdiction, the actions would be dismissed. Capitales initiated proceedings in Paris, but the pretrial judge invoked lis pendens, because the Monterey court had not completely declined jurisdiction. While appeal was pending in France, the California court of appeal affirmed the stay. On remittitur, Capitales moved to dismiss, citing plaintiffs’ failure to initiate proceedings in France and resistance to their jurisdiction. The court dismissed. The court of appeal reversed, holding that further proceedings are necessary before dismissal. View "Auffert v. Capitales Tours" on Justia Law
Diaz-Barba v. Super. Ct.
In "Hahn v. Diaz-Barba," (194 Cal.App.4th 1177 (2011)), the Court of Appeal affirmed an order, issued under the forum non conveniens doctrine, staying an action against residents of California for tortious interference with contract and related claims for the sale of an interest in a Mexican business. In this petition, the issue was whether the court erred by granting plaintiffs' motion to lift the stay on the ground Mexican courts dismissed two separate suits they filed in that country, making it an unavailable alternate forum. Defendants contended the ruling was erroneous because the evidence showed plaintiffs did not prosecute their action in Mexico in good faith. Among other things, defendants claimed they unreasonably delayed filing suit in Mexico and purposely drafted deficient complaints to ensure their rejection. Additionally, defendants argued the court prejudicially erred by denying their request to cross-examine the independent expert it appointed on Mexican law. After review, the California Court of Appeal concluded defendants' contentions lacked merit, and thus denied the petition. View "Diaz-Barba v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law
Aghaian v. Minassian
The Galstians abandoned their properties in Iran in 1978, when the family fled to Los Angeles after the overthrow of the Shah. In 1996, the Iranian government allowed the Galstians to enter Iran and begin reclaiming and selling the properties. By 2003, Minassian and Izadi held powers of attorney for the remaining properties. In 2008, Minassian and Izadi executed a general quitclaim deed transferring all remaining properties to themselves for little or no consideration. Galstian discovered the transfers in 2010, demanded that title be returned, and hired an Iranian attorney, who pressed criminal charges in Iran. The Galstians died in 2012. Their children sued Minassian and Izadi in 2013, asserting breach of fiduciary duty, accounting, and conversion. Minassian argued the Iranian civil court provides a suitable forum for an action brought by Iranian citizens against Iranian citizens and that the California court lacked power to enforce an order directing the transfer of real property in Iran. The trial court stayed the action under Code of Civil Procedure 410.30(a), finding that the interest of substantial justice would be served by having the action heard in another forum. The court of appeal reversed, finding insufficient evidence to show Iran is a suitable alternative forum. View "Aghaian v. Minassian" on Justia Law
Hyundai Sec. Co., Inc. v. Lee
Lee was the CEO of Hyundai Securities from 1996 to 2000. Several shareholders of Hyundai brought, in Korea, a shareholders’ derivative action, alleging securities fraud by Lee. The court entered judgment in favor of Hyundai in the amount of about 24,000,000 U.S. dollars plus interest at the Korean statutory rate. Appeals in Korea were dismissed. Hyundai filed suit under California’s “Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act” (Code Civ. Proc. 1713-1724), seeking recognition of the Korean Judgment. On remand, Hyundai acknowledged it had been compensated for portions of the judgment. Lee asserted that the court could not recognize part of the judgment as it was a penalty or fine and could not award interest at the rate of 20 percent because such a rate was contrary to the law and public policy of California. The trial court granted summary judgment and awarded Hyundai the principal sum of $5,031,231, interest of $3,787,397, daily interest of $2,756 per day from May 27, 2014 until entry of judgment, and post-judgment interest at the Korean rate of 20 percent per annum. Lee appeals. The court of appeal affirmed recognition of the judgment, but reversed the imposition of a 20 percent post-judgment rate of interest. View "Hyundai Sec. Co., Inc. v. Lee" on Justia Law
Young v. Daimler AG
In 2008, plaintiffs were driving a 2004 Jeep Cherokee in San Joaquin County, when the vehicle rolled over and the roof collapsed. Young sustained injuries, rendering her a permanent quadriplegic. Young’s daughter allegedly suffered physical and emotional harm. They filed suit, claiming that the roof and restraint systems were defectively designed. The vehicle at issue was designed, manufactured, and distributed by DaimlerChrysler Corporation (DCC), a former indirect subsidiary of Daimler. Among others, the complaint named Daimler and DCC as defendants. Daimler is a German public stock company that designs and manufactures Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Germany and has its principal place of business in Stuttgart. Before 1998, DCC was known as Chrysler Corporation. After a 1998 agreement, Chrysler Corporation became an indirect subsidiary of Daimler and changed its name to DCC. DCC was a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Michigan. It ceased to be a subsidiary of Daimler in 2007, changing its name to Chrysler LLC. Daimler is not a successor-in-interest to DCC or Chrysler LLC. Plaintiffs served Daimler with the complaint in accordance with the Hague Convention. The trial court quashed service for lack of personal jurisdiction over Daimler AG. The court of appeal affirmed, relying on the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman. View "Young v. Daimler AG" on Justia Law