Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vasquez v. Greene Motors - detailed decision re: enforceability of an adhesion contract and its arbirtration clause

On March 27, 2013,  1st Appellate District handed down a decision in Vasquez v. Greene Motors, Case No. A134829. There, Vasquez, a buyer of a used car, was challenging the car's purchase agreement, printed out on a standard form ("553-CA-ARB"), particularly its arbitration clause, arguing that the clause may not be enforced, because it is unconscionable, procedurally and substantially, and is overall one-sided and unfair. This decision contains a few thoughts worth to notice.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Are the decisions of the Confederate courts good law?

When I research on a given rule, I try to look for a chain of decisions as far as it may go. Getting with a well-settled rule past the 20th century and into 18xx-ies' decisions is something happening often and without much of an effort.

Since I practice in California, rule's ancestry beyond 1860s quickly becomes unpredictable: we may have a US Supreme Court's case (lucky!), or it be referred to another state's earlier decision (easy), or to jump a hundred years and quote an earlier UK case (not so easy), or even rely on a Spanish/Mexican rule or tradition (the research stops there for me, almost always). This unpredictable change in time or space makes the search exciting, yet it also made me think, what if the chain gets into a decision held by a Confederate court? Are those decisions "bad law"?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Allegata Et Probata


Meaning: The things alleged must agree with the things proved.

This rule applies to the proofs presented at trial, holding that such proofs have to be corresponding with what was alleged in the pleadings. Proving a fact not alleged is disallowed as a "variance."
The rule believed to be applied strictly in the Medieval period, but got relaxed in more recent times, so that the presented proofs need only to relate to the allegations. Variances to some immaterial degree become allowed.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Upholding monetary obligations through the times of change - from 1796 to 2001

I had an assignment to find citations to the cases, which deal with the problem of conflicting loan papers: if there is a conflict between a note and a deed of trust, whose terms prevail.

As it usually goes, I went too far with it too soon, quickly finding myself in the 19th century territory. There, I came across a case, Gavinzel v. Crump, 89 U.S. 308 (U.S. 1875). While the case had little to do with my research subject, it caught my eye for its rich story, a real-life adventure (even within the original meaning of the word), where the backdrop was the Civil War, and where two residents of a rebellion state (Virginia) made a deal, one borrowing from another a certain sum in Confederacy notes. The lender then "got out of Richmond and went to Europe; his escape through the rebel lines having been, according to his own account, almost impossible; attended with greater difficulties than anything which he had ever in his life done." (Id. at 5)