Year in Review: Key Issues & Trends From 2017

January 2018

January 2018

Gary Gray
A Message From Our Managing Partner
This year marks Gray·Duffy‘s 32nd in practice. We thank our clients for their ongoing support, for putting their trust in our services, and for allowing us to assist them with this important part of their lives.
Every year has a few challenges and, fortunately, numerous victories, and this year was no exception. We are grateful to all of our colleagues, in both offices, for their expertise and excellence in helping our clients navigate successfully through their legal issues.
We appreciate the opportunity to have worked with some of the top professionals in the legal industry throughout the years and would like to acknowledge those of our outstanding staff who retired in 2017: Edmund Scott, Partner; Rene Faucher, Senior Associate; Evelyn Richard, Paralegal; Cindy Shannon, Legal Assistant. We wish them the best in this next chapter of their lives.
With our focus on continuing to offer the highest level of customer service and expertise to our clients, we were fortunate to have added the following professionals to our staff this last year:
Steven Wood joined as Of Counsel in Gray·Duffy‘s Redwood City office and heads the firm’s Real Estate practice.
Allyson Welden, having previously served for over a year as an intern and as a law clerk in the firm, has joined us as an Associate after passing the California State Bar in the fall.
Lisa Lee joined the firm as a Paralegal, bringing significant experience in civil and business litigation matters.
Our team continues its commitment to providing quality legal representation tailored to our clients’ individual needs. By adhering to this approach, we have been successful in countless matters on behalf of clients. The following is a short representative list of results we obtained in 2017.
Successes for Our Clients

Gray·Duffy obtains favorable arbitration award in favor of general contractor in a Contractors State License Board Arbitration matter

Our attorneys work tirelessly to stay up-to-date on legal trends and issues, and to better serve our clients’ needs. Taking the effort to develop our expertise even further, our attorneys frequently author articles addressing topics of interest and share this knowledge with clients, colleagues, and the legal community at large. Below are a few of the articles we published in 2017.
Updates on Legal Issues and Trends
From all of us at Gray·Duffy, we look forward to continuing our work together and wish you a year of success and happiness.
Gary Gray
Managing Partner, Gray·Duffy, LLP

Best Methods for Setting Aside a 
Default Judgment

Published: Claims Journal

Allyson Welden FINAL

Participating in a lawsuit can be like playing a game of football. There is an offense, a defense, and for those who are not interested, they can seemingly last forever. For both, the defense has one priority: do not let the other team win. Even one simple mistake could lose the game. But what if that mistake could be set aside (reversed)? Think of how much more a team’s defense could do if they could reverse the referee’s calls. In law, when a defendant “loses” on a default judgment, he or she may have that very opportunity; an opportunity to reverse the judge’s ruling and move forward with the game.

What Is a Default Judgment? 
When sued, a defendant has only a limited time in which to respond to the complaint. If there is no timely response, the plaintiff may ask the court to enter a “default judgment” against the defendant. This is the equivalent of a team losing the game for failing to show up to play. 

So You Think You Know The Law?

True or False?
When a defendant does not have notice of a claim against him, any default judgment issued on that claim is void.

True or False? 
A default judgment that grants the plaintiff an award of damages greater than alleged in her complaint is void to the extent that it exceeds the complaint.
True or False? 
A defendant may, at any time, petition the court to set aside a default judgment when the failure to file a timely response was due to the defendant’s reliance on his attorney to respond and the attorney failed to do so.

Firm Announcements

Gray·Duffy Ranked on the 2018 “Best Law Firms” List by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 

U.S. News – Best Lawyers ranked Gray·Duffy on the 2018 “Best Law Firms” list in the Metropolitan Tier 1 Ranking in Los Angeles for the firm’s work in insurance law.

The U.S. News – Best

Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that involves the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field and review of additional information provided by law firms.

Timothy Thornton Appointed to American Bar Association Committees

Partner Timothy Thornton has been appointed as Vice-Chair for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Self-Insurers and Risk Managers Committee for the 2017-18 fiscal year. He has also been reappointed as Vice-Chair for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee for the 2017-18 fiscal year. 
Both Committees are part of the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, which brings together plaintiffs, defense, corporate and in-house counsel to tackle critical issues of justice that involve tort and insurance law. 

Erin Tenner Speaks at National Association of Dealer Counsel Conference


Partner Erin Tenner led the panel “Financial and Legal Issues Affecting Multi-Franchise Buy/Sells” at the National Association of Dealer Counsel Fall Conference in October. Speakers examined the issues that arise during the transfer of a multi-franchise auto dealership from the standpoint of the lawyer, accountant and dealer. The issues discussed included rights of first refusal, dealer agreements and personal goodwill, and how these issues impact the transaction.

Real Estate Corner

Avoid These 5 Pitfalls When Appearing Before Administrative Hearings

The following are the top five reasons why anyone who appears at an administrative hearing, especially involving entitlements for potentially quite profitable develop-ment or remodeling, a professional license (e.g. brokers), or other significant right, should consider experienced legal counsel beside them during this process.
Reason #1: Admission of Evidence 

A casual observer of an administrative proceeding or someone who reads about how such proceedings typically work would note that “the rules of evidence are not as formal as in court.” 

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Please Note: These articles are necessarily general in nature and do not substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.

Please Note: This article is necessarily general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.