Weekly Law Resume - June 28, 2012: Noting Split of Authority, Court Holds That Review of Good Faith Settlement Must Be By Writ

by Low, Ball & Lynch

[author: Thomas J. LoSavio]

Oak Springs Villas Homeowners Association v. Advanced Truss Systems, Inc.
California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (June 14, 2012)

This case raises the question: once the trial court has made its determination that a settlement has been made in good faith, what is the means by which a non-settling defendant that remains in the case may obtain review of that ruling by the court of appeal, that is, by a writ, by an appeal or by both?

Ever since the 1986 passage of Proposition 51 (enacted as Civil Code §1431.2) a California tortfeasor’s liability for “non-economic damages” (i.e., subjective, non-monetary losses) has been several, not joint, and limited to that defendant’s percentage of fault. In order to facilitate fair and early settlements that are not disproportionate to a settling defendant’s liability, the Legislature adopted the good faith settlement determination process (Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) §877.6) by which a settling defendant may obtain a bar of other joint tortfeasors’ claims of equitable comparative contribution or partial or comparative indemnity based on comparative negligence or fault (although not if based on contractual indemnity).

The Oak Spring Villas Homeowners Association (“HOA”) brought suit against the Developers and others related to a 24-condominium 8 building complex located in Santa Clarita, California, for construction defects, including framing deficiencies which caused the roof to sag. After the plaintiff HOA reached a settlement with the Developers, which was approved by the trial court, ATS, a non-settling defendant which had supplied the roof trusses and truss plans and had opposed the good faith settlement, filed a notice of appeal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed ATS’ appeal. It concluded that ATS had appealed from a non-appealable interlocutory ruling and that to obtain immediate review, ATS should have filed a timely writ within 20 days of the ruling, as provided in CCP § 877.6. The Appellate Court recognized that it had discretion to treat the improper appeal as if it were a petition for writ of mandate, but declined to do so, finding no unusual circumstances that would justify that use of discretion.

The Court of Appeal noted that it disagreed with the case of Cahill v San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 939. In that case, the non-settling defendant had filed a timely writ under section 877.6, which was denied. The non-settling defendant then filed a notice of appeal. When the settling parties objected, moved to dismiss the appeal and argued that the writ was the sole means of challenging the trial court’s determination, the court of appeal disagreed and denied the motion to dismiss the appeal. While noting that there was a split of authority regarding whether a writ petition pursuant to section 877.6 is the sole means of challenging a trial court’s good faith determination, the Oak Springs court declined to reach that issue. Rather, it declined to follow Cahill on the basis that its analysis of the issue was “bare” and that it provided no legal support for its conclusion. The Oak Springs court noted that there was a difference between a party who is no longer in the proceedings seeking review by an appeal (because it would be unfair for him to wait for the final adjudication of the other parties’ rights and duties) and a party who remains in the case seeking a review before there has been a final adjudication of its rights and duties.


Because there is a split of authority, definitive resolution of the issue must await a ruling by the California Supreme Court. In the meantime, prudent practice would dictate that review of an adverse good faith settlement determination be made by immediate writ review, rather than by an appeal.

For a copy of the complete decision see:



DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Low, Ball & Lynch | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Low, Ball & Lynch

Low, Ball & Lynch on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.