Class Action Waiver Valid In Walnut Growers' Suit, Plus Government Contracts & Trust Matters
Walnut Producers of California v. Diamond Foods, Inc., C060346, involved plaintiff-walnut producers' class action suit against Diamond Foods, claiming that defendant breached an agreement by failing to pay them the reasonable market value for their walnuts. In affirming the trial court's order striking all class action allegations from the complaint, the court held that the plaintiffs have not pleaded sufficient facts showing the class action waiver's unconscionability to survive defendant's motion to strike the class action allegations in the complaint. Further, the class action waiver is not void as against public policy and the enforcement of public rights as it does not affect an unwaivable statutory right.
Tr. of the S. California IBEW-NECA Pension Plan v. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist., B216847, involved a suit against the Los Angeles Unified School District and a construction contractor working for the school district, alleging that the contractor violated the terms of the Project Stabilization Agreement (PSA) by failing to pay the Trustees of the Southern California IBEW-NECA Pension Plan (Trustees) approximately $20,000 in employee fringe benefits.
In affirming the trial court's ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the district's request for judicial declaration that Labor Code section 1776(e) prohibited it from producing personal employee information contained in third-party certified payroll records, the court held that, contrary to the district's contention that it has an absolute privilege to withhold the information at issue, personal employee information contained within an awarding agency's copies of certified payroll records is subject to a conditional privilege.
Phelps v. Orange County Assessment Appeals Bd. No. 1, G040428, concerned a trustee's challenge to a county assessor's reassessment of a shopping center complex held by the trust upon the death of an income beneficiary of trust, claiming that the transfer of the beneficiary's interest as an income beneficiary to his four children did not qualify as a change of ownership under Revenue and Taxation Code section 60.
In affirming the trial court's judgment denying plaintiff's writ petition, the court held that the transfer of the beneficiary's interest as a trust beneficiary to the current beneficiaries constituted a change of ownership under section 60, as the beneficiary held a present interest in the property's improvements, which passed to the new income beneficiaries. The court also held that the beneficiary had the beneficial use of the property that was transferred to the income beneficiaries. Lastly, the value of a lifetime interest in income is substantially equal to the value of a fee interest.