Friday, October 8, 2010

Northern California Daily Digest

Here are some of the other recently decided cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Palmtree Acqusitition Corp. v. Neely is an environmental case under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) where a plethera of private parties are suing each other to determine who pays what to remediate perchloroethene  contamination in the soil and groundwater in the vicinity of the Livermore Arcade Shopping Center and Millers Outpost Shopping Center in Livermore, California. Grubb & Ellis Realty Income Trust, Liquidating Trust (“GERIT”) owned and operated LASC from 1989 through 1996.  Harold A. Ellis was a trustee of the trust before he died leaving his assets to the Harold A. Ellis Revocable Family Trust which his daughter presently manages.  In the present action, the third-party plaintiffs allege that Mr. Ellis is personally liable and therefore his estate's assets in the Revocable Family Trust can be used to pay the remediation expenses.  Judge Marilyn Hall Patel disagreed stating that simply being a trustee does not make a person's estate personally liable under CERCLA absent some intervening event which the plaintiffs did not allege.  She dismissed the case with leave to amend.

Chung v. NBGI involved a mortgagee's dissatisfaction with her mortgage.  After seeking and failing to obtain a preliminary injunction, Ms. Chung ceased filing on the case.  Judge Marilyn Hall Patel dismissed the case for failure to prosecute.

In Gray v. IBEW Local 332 Pension Trust, the plaintiff had been married and divorced twice.  His first spouse had obtained an order receiving a certain amount of his pension payment and his second wife had received a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) satisfying her share of the pension benefit.  Mr. Gray   had previously sued the Plan stating that it incorrectly calculated his first wife's benefit.  He lost at trial, won on appeal, and received a new QDRO for the first wife.  He now sues the Plan to reimburse him the fees and costs of the first divorce's QDRO litigation under ERISA.  The plan, however, contains no such provision.  Magistrate Harold R. Lloyd dismissed the case with prejudice.

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