The Practical Impact of California's Equity-First Rule on Settlement Value and Choice of Litigation Forum

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This article discusses the California Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Hoopes v. Dolan, Case No. A117892 (1st Dist., 4th Div., November 12, 2008). Hoopes is a reminder to litigants that, in a civil action involving a combination of legal claims that are triable by a jury and equitable claims that are triable only by a judge, litigants and their counsel should carefully consider the order in which California state and federal rules require those claims to be tried. Especially where the legal and equitable claims turn on the same facts, those rules are likely to have a uniquely significant impact on: (1) any estimate of the settlement value of the case; and (2) whether state or federal court is the more attractive forum.

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Sidley Austin, LLP on:

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