CA Court of Appeal Rules on Arbitrator Disclosure

Recently, the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, ruled that an arbitrator in a legal malpractice/attorneys fee dispute did not violate the disclosure requirements in the California Arbitration Act when his disclosure statement did not disclose the following: That he [the arbitrator] was a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Appellate Executive…

A Lesson In Insurance Policy Interpretation

How should an experienced Southern California mediator review an insurance policy? In a recent article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, Superior Court Judge Rex Heeseman, author of the Rutter California Insurance Guide, gave some very valuable advice with respect to interpreting insurance policies.  According to Judge Heeseman: evaluate the whole insurance policy in order to interpret specific terms within it.
The recent California case of Wallman v. Suddock 200 Cal. App. 4th 1288 (2011) is the subject of the article.  Judge Heeseman points out that rather than argue that a specific term is ambiguous (in this case the phrase in an excess policy, “To Be Determined,” as a reference to the underlying primary policies), look at the entire policy.  Judge Heeseman believes that the question is not whether the term is ambiguous in the abstract, but whether it is ambiguous in the context of the specific policy.

California Heightens Doctrine of Mediation Confidentiality

Hopefully most California mediators are well-versed in case law surrounding their practice, but are a majority of the lawyers who rely on these neutrals aware of the doctrine of mediation confidentiality as it relates to potential malpractice suits? Recently, a unanimous decision at the state Supreme Court raised California’s doctrine of mediation confidentiality to a higher…