The Guide is an invaluable online tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide provides for more than 70 common law causes of action:

- Each action’s elements;
- The most recent state and federal cases that cite the actions’ elements;
- The applicable statute of limitations for each action; and
- Defenses to each cause of action.
- AND, The Guide is updated annually.

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1 Elements and Case Citations

  1. (a) where a fiduciary relationship exists between the parties, or (b) where, even though no fiduciary relationship exists, the accounts are so complicated that an ordinary legal action demanding a fixed sum is impracticable, and
  2. some balance is due the plaintiff that can only be ascertained by an accounting.

Jolley v. Chase Home Fin., LLC, 213 Cal. App. 4th 872, 910 (2013).

  1. “[A]n accounting can be a cause of action when a defendant has a fiduciary duty to a plaintiff which requires an accounting, and that some balance is due to the plaintiff that can only be ascertained by an accounting. An accounting is not required when the amount in dispute is certain or ascertained by a simple calculation.”

Pantoja v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 640 F. Supp. 2d 1177, 1191-92 (N.D. Cal. 2009)


Supreme Court of California: Whann v. Doell, 192 Cal. 680, 684 (1923).

California 1st Dist.: Jolley v. Chase Home Fin., LLC, 213 Cal. App. 4th 872, 910 (2013).

California 2d Dist.: Wolf v. Superior Court, 107 Cal. App. 4th 25, 34-35 (2003).

California 3d Dist.: Teselle v. McLoughlin, 173 Cal. App. 4th 156, 179 (2009).

California 4th Dist.: Raymond v. Indep. Growers, Inc., 133 Cal. App. 2d 154, 160 (1955).


Central District: Global Acquisitions Network v. Bank of Am. Corp., No. CV 12-08758 DDP (CWx), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22351, at *34 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 19, 2013).

Northern District: Parrish v. NFL Players Ass’n, 534 F. Supp. 2d 1081, 1100 (N.D. Cal. 2007).

Southern District: Kimball v. Flagstar Bank F.S.B., 881 F. Supp. 2d 1209, 1224-25 (S.D. Cal. 2012).

Eastern District: Kanady v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC, No. CV F 10-1742 LJO DLB, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108945, at *34 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 12, 2010).

2 Defenses to Claim for Accounting

(1) Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 431.30(b)(2) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses. See Chapter 1 for all defenses.

(2) Statute of Limitations: Depends on the source of the right to the accounting. For written contract, four years (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 337); on oral contract, two years (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 339(1)); see Jefferson v. J. E. French Co., 54 Cal. 2d 717, 718-19 (1960) (“the nature of the right sued upon, not the form of action or the relief demanded, determines the applicability of the statute of limitations”).

(3) No Dispute: “An action for accounting is not available where the plaintiff alleges the right to recover a sum certain or a sum that can be made certain by calculation.” See Teselle v. McLoughlin, 173 Cal. App. 4th 156, 179 (2009)..

(4) Laches: “A defendant must demonstrate three elements to successfully assert a laches defense: (1) delay in asserting a right or a claim; (2) the delay was not reasonable or excusable; and (3) prejudice to the party against whom laches is asserted.” Magic Kitchen LLC v. Good Things Int’l., Ltd., 153 Cal. App. 4th 1144, 1157 (2007); see also Cal. Civ. Code § 3527.

(5) Unclean Hands: No recovery where plaintiff “in equity has violated conscience, good faith or other equitable principles in his prior conduct” because “one who violates his contract cannot have recourse to equity to support that violation.” Fiberboard Paper Prods. Corp. v. E. Bay Union of Machinists, 227 Cal. App. 2d 675, 727 (1964); see also Cal. Civ. Code § 3517.

(6) Accord and satisfaction: “For the affirmative defense of accord and satisfaction to apply in disposition of an unliquidated claim, the defendant must establish: (1) that there was a ‘bona fide dispute’ between the parties, (2) that the debtor made it clear that acceptance of what he tendered was subject to the condition that it was to be in full satisfaction of the creditor's unliquidated claim, and (3) that the creditor clearly understood when accepting what was tendered that the debtor intended such remittance to constitute payment in full of the particular claim in issue. . . . A writing is not essential to an accord and satisfaction; it may be implied.” Thompson v. Williams, 211 Cal. App. 3d 566, 571 (1989). See Chapter 1 for further explanation of this defense.