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Cassel v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County
California Supreme Court
244 P.3d 1080 (2011)
Michael Cassel (plaintiff), a clothing importer, had a license to use the Von Dutch label and sold clothing through Von Dutch Originals, LLC (company). After Cassel lost ownership of the company in an arbitration, his law firm, Wasserman, Comden, Casselman & Pearson, LLP (defendant) (firm) advised him that he was entitled to continue marketing clothes under the Von Dutch label because he retained ownership of the license. The company’s new owners sued Cassel for trademark infringement, requesting an injunction to bar Cassel from marketing clothing under the label. The firm did not inform Cassel of the injunction request, nor did it respond to the request. Therefore, the court granted the company a preliminary injunction. The case went to mediation, which resulted in a $1.25 million settlement for Cassel. Cassel subsequently sued the firm for malpractice, alleging that he had instructed the firm to seek a $2 million settlement but had been coerced into accepting the smaller final settlement. The firm moved to exclude all evidence of communication that had taken place between Cassel and the firm’s attorneys during mediation. The trial court granted the firm’s motion, and the California Court of Appeal reversed. The firm appealed to the California Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Baxter, J.)
Concurrence (Chin, J.)
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