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Appellate Counsel

Mr. Lynch has handled appeals in the California Supreme Court, as well as the Second Appellate District located in Los Angeles and the Fifth Appellate District located in Fresno.

Several cases have resulted in published decisions.

In 1997, Mr. Lynch argued and won the case of Moeller v. Superior Court before the California Supreme Court. This case held that the attorney-client privilege was held by the holder of the office of the trustee. Therefore, the successor trustee and not the predecessor trustee was the holder of the attorney-client privilege. Mr. Lynch represented Roger Moeller who was the successor trustee of the George and Grace Moeller Trust. Sanwa Bank was the predecessor trustee. After Roger Moeller became successor trustee he filed a petition to surcharge and made a request for production of documents relating to the administration of the trust, including all legal records and correspondence between the predecessor trustee and its attorneys. Sanwa objected on the grounds of attorney-client privilege. Moeller stated that he, as the successor trustee, was the holder of the attorney-client privilege. The trial court ruled in favor of Sanwa. Moeller took a writ to the Second Appellate District. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court. Sanwa petitioned the California Supreme Court for review. The California Supreme Court held that Roger Moeller as successor trustee was the holder of the attorney-client privilege and was entitled to the documents.

In the case of Oscar Rudnick as Trustee v. Philip Rudnick, et al., Mr. Lynch was co-counsel with an Am Law 100 law firm representing the trustee in which new law was made regarding the power of the probate court acting in equity to award attorney’s fees to a trustee when a beneficiary engages in bad faith conduct that causes the trustee to incur attorney’s fees.

Firm principal Craig M. Lynch successfully tried the case of Nicoll v. Rudnick (2008) both at trial and before the California Court of Appeal, changing the legal landscape regarding the apportionment of pre-1914 appropriative water rights. The Nicoll case involved the apportionment of multi-million dollar pre-1914 appropriative Kern River water rights between two parcels that had once been joined as a single parcel. Fifty-one percent of the original parcel had been used as security for a loan, and that portion was foreclosed on in the 1930s. Mr. Lynch successfully argued that 51% of the appropriative water rights passed in the foreclosure to the purchaser of the property.

Mr. Lynch has also argued appeals relating to inverse condemnation and the interpretation of the standard oil and gas industry joint operating agreement as it relates to the calculation of overriding royalty interests (ORRI).