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August 2016 Archives

Bankruptcy Court Must Consider Debtor's Intent with Respect to Future Residency in Homestead When Ruling on Exemption

In re Diaz, 547 B.R. 329 (9th Cir. BAP 2016), the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel ("BAP") held that the bankruptcy court incorrectly interpreted California law related to the homestead exemption. In particular, the BAP said the bankruptcy court failed to consider the Debtor's intent to reside in the property in the future and that physical occupancy of the property on the petition date was not central to the determination of whether the debtor can claim a homestead exemption. Further, a temporary absence from the home, even on the petition date, did not preclude the debtor from claiming a homestead exemption.

Does the Arbitration Clause in Your Employment Agreement Adequately Protect Against Class Discrimination Claims?

In Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive, the California Supreme Court was asked to determine whether a trial court had properly decided to strike all class arbitration claims brought by a salesperson on behalf of a class of car salespersons. The car dealership argued that the trial had properly interpreted the salesperson's employment arbitration agreement to prevent the arbitration of any class claims. The California Supreme Court deferred that argument, but ultimately overturned the trial court decision on the basis that the trial court never had authority to even make a decision regarding the class claims. The trial court was bound by whomever the arbitration agreement appointed to make such decisions. In other words, if the arbitration agreement directs a specific person to interpret the arbitration agreement and any disputes arising from the arbitration agreement, the trial court must abide by the agreement.

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