Posted 2/15/2015

In People v. North River Insurance Co., Case No. A141040 (Cal.App. February 6, 2015) the defendant’s trial was continued, and he was ordered to appear on the new trial date.  Prior to that date, the People moved for another continuance.  On the appointed date, the defendant failed to appear, and the court forfeited the bond.  Within the extended appearance period, the surety moved to vacate the forfeiture and exonerate the bond.  The court denied the surety’s motion and entered summary judgment on the bond in favor of the Superior Court of San Mateo County.  The court denied the surety’s motion to set aside the judgment, and the surety appealed.

The continuance of the original trial date was because a necessary witness was appealing her conviction on a related charge and was expected to invoke the Fifth Amendment if called to testify.  The continuance was in the hope that her appeal would be resolved before the new date.  The surety argued that the witness was not “obtainable” because she planned to invoke her Fifth Amendment right and that the continuance was unlawful because it was designed to deprive the witness of that right.  The Court disagreed and held that the continuance was lawful, was not a violation of California’s public policy against excessive continuances, and did not discharge the bond.  The Court also rejected the surety’s argument that the continuance increased its risk or changed the character of the bond.  Finally, the surety argued that the judgment should have been entered in favor of the People or the County not the Superior Court.  The Court assumed that was correct, but rejected the surety’s argument that the judgment had to be set aside.  Instead, the Court modified the judgment so that it was in favor of the People and affirmed it as modified.  [Not published].

In Two Jinn, Inc. v. Government Payment Service, Inc., 2015 WL 456063 (Cal.App. February 3, 2015) the plaintiff licensed bail agent sued the defendant on the ground that the defendant was acting as a bail agent without proper authority and falsely advertising that it was affiliated with or endorsed by the Government.  The Court thought that the defendant was merely acting as a processor of electronic funds for cash bail as permitted by Government Code §6159 and did not violate the Insurance Code.  The Court also found that the plaintiff did not allege facts to support its Lanham Act false advertising claim.  The plaintiff did not allege a specific untrue statements in the defendant’s advertisements and did not have standing to argue that the defendant misleadingly represented it was affiliated with the Government because the plaintiff did not allege facts that would give it a commercial interest in the distinctive names or marks that allegedly gave a false association with the Government.  The Court affirmed the trial court’s sustaining of the defendant’s demurrer to the false advertising claim and summary judgment dismissing the other claims.  [Published].