In re: Marriage of Sahafzadeh-Taeb & TaebAnnotate this Case
Taeb’s attorney, Trigger, failed to appear for trial in Taeb’s dissolution case. The court entered a Code of Civil Procedure section 128.5 sanctions order. The court of appeal reversed as to Taeb and affirmed as to Trigger, abrogating a 2016 holding that an objective standard applied when determining whether a party’s or an attorney’s conduct is sanctionable under section 128.5, as it did under section 128.7 and that section 128.5 did not incorporate the safe harbor provisions of section 128.7. Section 128.5 has since been amended to specifically overrule the decision on those points. The law concerning the kind of conduct sanctionable under sections 128.5 and 128.7 has largely returned to its previous state; a more stringent standard requiring subjective bad faith applies to section 128.5, and a lesser standard, requiring only objective bad faith, applies to section 128.7. The conduct for which Trigger was sanctioned can support the requisite finding of bad faith. Taab, however, did appear on the scheduled trial date and only relayed what Trigger told him. There is no evidence Taab was even aware Trigger had misrepresented her readiness for trial or that she made no effort to correct what she had told the court.