North Am. Title Co. v. Superior Court, 91 Cal. App. 5th 948 (2023)

During oral argument on a motion, the trial judge accused the employer-defendants of participating in a “name change shell game,” a “corporate game of three-card monte” and “trickery” and “scheming” to evade payment of a $43.5 million judgment to plaintiffs in this wage-and-hour class action.  One employer (Lennar Title) filed a statement of disqualification of the judge for cause approximately a year after the comments were made.  The judge struck the statement of disqualification on multiple grounds, including that the statements in question were made “years before seeking disqualification.”  The Court of Appeal granted Lennar’s petition for a writ of mandate, holding that a statement of disqualification for bias, prejudice, or appearance of impartiality cannot be impliedly waived as untimely under Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 170.3(b)(2).