Testimony and a licensing agreement established that there was consideration under Civ. Code, § 1614, although a trademark dispute existed; Contract claims were untimely under Code Civ. Proc., § 337, because more than four years had passed since a dispute arose concerning legal title to a vehicle; Causes of action for return of personal property under Code Civ. Proc., §§ 627, 667, and quiet title were timely filed under Code Civ. Proc., § 338, subd. (c)(1), because the dispute did not initially amount to an interference with possession; Although a co-owner of closely held family businesses had made statements suggesting unity of interest and ownership, alter ego findings lacked support absent evidence of fraud or other improper acts or purposes; The co-owners were properly named as quiet title defendants under Code Civ. Proc., §§ 762.010, 762.060, subd. (b).
Reversed in part and affirmed in part.
Appellant tortfeasor challenged the judgment of the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (California), lawyer ADA which awarded actual and exemplary damages to respondent victim in an action for wrongful conversion of victim’s business in gross violation of confidential and fiduciary relationship.
Tortfeasor deliberately and in bad faith engaged in conduct to acquire all of the victim’s business and assets. In less than two years, tortfeasor undertook the entire management and operation of victim’s business and deposited all proceeds into his personal bank accounts. The court reversed as to the issue of damages and remanded. The court found that the admittance of testimony regarding the existence of a fiduciary relationship between the parties was proper because there was nothing in their written agreement which precluded the use of extrinsic evidence to show a joint venture. The court also found that prejudicial error occurred when the lower court denied tortfeasor’s motion to reopen the case. The court determined that defense counsel refrained from going fully into the financial aspects of the situation at the early stages of the trial in a reasonable belief that he would have been granted an opportunity to do so after the relationship between the parties was determined. The court concluded that it was proper to find that a joint venture existed and the findings of fact and conclusions of law on the issue of liability could not be disturbed on remand.
The court reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded for trial on the issue of damages and the assessment of actual and exemplary damages.
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