Commercial & General Civil Litigation
What does it mean when the court consolidates cases? When separate actions are filed by separate plaintiffs arising out of the same transaction or occurrence, the issue of consolidation is likely to be raised early on by one of the parties or the court. While the idea sounds simple enough, the wording of the statute itself and the related concepts of “relatedness” and “merger” often creates confusion and doubt among the parties and sometimes the court itself as to what exactly the legal and procedural effect of the consolidation order means and what was intended.
In formulating California’s approach to evaluating the good faith of piece-meal settlements, the California Supreme Court famously stated: “When profit is involved, the ingenuity of man spawns limitless varieties of unfairness.” (Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 494-495 quoting River Garden Farms, Inc. v. Superior Court (1972) 26 Cal.App.3d 986, 993). As set forth below, a sliding scale settlement certainly falls within this paradigm. Although California allows such settlements, there are statutory protections and defense strategies which should be implemented to mitigate the prejudice inherent in such settlements.