PCO, Inc. v. Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, LLP, 150 Cal. App. 4th 384 (2007)

PCO, Inc., by and through its duly appointed receiver, Barry A. Fisher, filed this action against Robert L. Shapiro and his law firm, Christensen, Miller, et al., alleging that Shapiro improperly directed a group of individuals to remove over $6 million in cash (which was packed into 12 duffel bags) from the Palm Springs residence of David Laing, who was later convicted of engaging in fraudulent activities with PCO. Among other things, PCO alleged the cash belonged to the receivership and should not have been used to pay Laing’s bail or his attorney’s fees. The Christensen firm asserted that it could not be held vicariously liable for Shapiro’s conduct. Although the trial court granted summary judgment to the firm, the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment, holding there was a triable issue of material fact as to whether Shapiro’s alleged actions could be attributed to the firm. The Court affirmed summary adjudication against PCO on its claims for conversion and breach of fiduciary duty. See also Ermoian v. Desert Hosp., 2007 WL 1793125 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007) (although doctors were independent contractors and not employees of hospital, they were ostensible agents).