Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Arave v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce etc.

An employee's letter to his former employer was properly treated as an admission against interest instead of an attempt to compromise where the letter does not concede any wrongdoing, but simply sets out his accusations of discrimination and his maximal claim. Even if the letter were an offer to compromise, its admission was not prejudicial since the factual claims in the letter were consistent with the evidence the employee put on at trial, and the proposed resolution was consistent with the expert testimony presented by the employee to establish his damages. A judge's comments expressing frustration with counsel's inefficient manner of questioning a witness were not the sort of comment that demonstrate a negative personal view concerning counsel that would deprive a party of a fair trial. A judge has discretion to guide the trial, direct counsel to allow witnesses to finish their answers, and direct counsel to cut to the chase in questions and away from needless complicated setups. The judge erred in awarding costs and expert witness fees to an employer who prevailed on a worker's discrimination claims under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 998(c)(1) where the judge found the claims were not frivolous.

Arave v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce etc. - filed Jan. 23, 2018, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 397

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