Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - February 2, 2015

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Lennar Homes of California, Inc. v. Stephens (2014) 232 Cal.App.4th 673.  This is a SLAPP case.  The trial court struck Lennar's complaint for contractual indemnity against the buyers holding that a husband's assertions of causes of actions owned equally by his wife and arising out of transaction in which he was also a party for the purchase of a house was in furtherance of his wife's right of petition (see CCP § 425.16(b)(i)) and the builder could not show a probability of success on the merits because the indemnity clause on which the builder had filed his claims was unconscionable in that it entitled the builder to indemnity for defending a lawsuit regardless of the prevailing party, and the clause was therefore unconscionable and unenforceable.
Pittsburg Unified School District v. S.J. Amoroso Construction Company, Inc. (2014) 232 Cal.App.4th 808.  Pursuant to an escrow agreement consistent with Public Contract Code § 22300(f), a school district sought to withdraw funds from an escrow, which a contractor attempted to prevent pursuant to a motion for a preliminary injunction.  The motion was denied, and the court of appeal affirmed the trial court's decision, finding that there was no need for a judicial determination of default before the school district was entitled to withdraw retention funds under the language of the escrow agreement.

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