Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - December 10, 2012

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Martinez v. Robledo (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 384.  This case deals with the measure of damages for the wrongful injury to a pet, with the issue started being whether the measure of damages should be limited to the market value of the pets that were injured, or also include costs of case.

The court found that pets are a special form of property, and the market value of the pet is not the appropriate measure of damages.  The injured pet's owner should also be allowed to recover the reasonable and necessary costs incurred in the treatment and care for the animal which are attributed to the injury as an element of proof pursuant to Civil Code §33333.

Chodos v. Cole (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 692.  This is a SLAPP case which arises out of an action filed against an attorney for malpractice in connection with that attorney's representation and settlement of a marital dissolution proceeding as well as related actions in that proceeding.  The attorney cross-complained against other attorney's involved in the case for indemnification for any malpractice award alleging that they had also rendered advice concerning the settlement of the dissolution, and had reviewed and approved the settlement and related proceedings.  The other attorneys filed the SLAPP motion.  While the trial court granted the SLAPP motion, the court of appeal reversed it.  The court found that the attorney's claim did not involve any activity which was protected within the scope of the SLAPP statute.  The court noted that a client's action against an attorney for breach of duty by an act of malpractice is not subject to the SLAPP statute, and that logically the attorney's cross-complaint for indemnity could not similarly be based on a matter within the scope of the SLAPP statute.  The act of malpractice allegedly committed was not one of petitioning or engaging in free speech in the court's view.  This is a 2-1 decision, with the dissenting opinion upholding the view of the trial court.

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