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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Declaratory Relief

1 Elements and Case Citations

To qualify for declaratory relief, a party has to demonstrate its action presented two essential elements: “

(1) a proper subject of declaratory relief, and
(2) an actual controversy involving justiciable questions relating to the party’s rights or obligations.

Under Cal. Civ. Code § 1060 (2013), declaratory relief can only be sought in a complaint or cross-complaint, but not a counter-claim.  Babb v. Superior Court, 3 Cal. 3d 841, 844 n.1 (1971).

A court may decline to order declaratory relief “in any case where its declaration or determination is not necessary or proper at the time under all the circumstances.”  Cal. Civ. Code § 1061 (2013).

The authority of a court to order declaratory relief affords a remedy that is “cumulative, and shall not be construed as restricting any remedy, provisional or otherwise, provided by law for the benefit of any party to such action, and no judgment under this chapter shall preclude any party from obtaining additional relief based upon the same facts.”  Cal. Civ. Code § 1062.


Supreme Court of California: Longshore v. County of Ventura, 25 Cal. 3d 14, 29-30 (1979).

California 1st District:  Jolley v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, 213 Cal. App. 4th 872, 909 (2013).

California 2d District: Tashakori v. Lakis, 196 Cal. App. 4th 1003, 1013 n.6 (2011).

California 3d District: Levi v. O'Connell, 144 Cal. App. 4th 700, 706 (2006).

California 4thDistrict:  Sandler v. Casale, 125 Cal. App. 3d 707, 711 (1981).

California 5th District:  None.

California 6th DistrictLockheed Martin Corp. v. Continental Ins. Co., 134 Cal. App. 4th 187, 220 (2005), overruled on other grounds.



United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit:  None.

Central District: None.

Eastern District: Maxum Indem. Co. v. Court Servs., No. 2:11-cv-2014 GEB EFB, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79956, at *7 (E.D. Cal. June 8, 2012).

Northern District:  Campana v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. C-01 - 1842 PJH, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14245, at *8 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 12, 2001).

Southern District:  None.

2 Defenses to Claim for Declaratory Relief

(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:  In connection with actions for declaratory judgment which statute of limitation applies “depends on the right or obligation sought to be enforced, and the statute's application generally follows its application to actions for damages or injunction on the same rights and obligations.”  Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. v. City of La Habra, 25 Cal. 4th 809, 821 (2001).

(3)  Although “the doctrine of in pari delicto [is] not . . . an absolute bar to [a declaratory relief] action, it is nevertheless an element which the trial court in its discretion could consider in deciding whether or not to grant declaratory relief.”  Moss v. Moss, 20 Cal. 2d 640, 644 (1942).