California Case Law - The FindLaw California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal News & Information Blog

California Case Law - The FindLaw California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal Opinion Summaries Blog


Twitter can be hard. Politicians accidentally tweet out compromising photos, prosecutors embarrassingly follow porn stars, and Courtney Love accidentally accuses her attorney of being "bought off."

And Love's Twitter mishaps are just the tip of the crazy iceberg that floated in to California's Second District Court of Appeals after Love's former attorney unsuccessfully sued her for the allegedly defamatory tweet.

California bar membership fees were due yesterday, as most in-state lawyers are likely aware. Depending on which boxes you check, that money makes its way to philanthropic, historical, and public interest funds, and of course, to the State Bar's budget.

For the year ahead, though, the California State Bar Association will have a little less budget to work with. No, don't get too excited -- they aren't cutting your fees. But they are planning on trimming the fat by about $10 million.

Fail to Appear and Forfeit Your Bail, Court Rules. Imagine That!

In what is quite possibly the year's most seemingly obvious procedural issue, the California Supreme Court opined that a felony defendant's failure to execute a written waiver of his required presence constitutes a justified forfeit of bail under Penal Code sec. 1305(a).

The moral of the story? Show up to court.

Lyft Amputates a Toe to Save the Foot, Settles Class Action Suit

"It looks like Lyft got off fairly lightly here," according to a market analyst commenting on the recent settlement agreement between Lyft and its drivers. Under the terms of the settlement, the ride-sharing company will pay $12.5 million, give concessions, and give drivers notice if they are to be deactivated.

It's good news for Lyft, but not so great news for its bigger rival Uber, whose head is still inching toward the chopping block.

Andy Lopez's Friends Can Sue Cops for Abuse

Federal district judge William Orrick trimmed a civil rights lawsuit down to size by dismissing charges against several defendants with prejudice. But the judge let stand claims against two Sonoma County Sheriff's officers for some rather egregious conduct.

So what got them in trouble? The suit involves complaints of an officer jumping out of a patrol car, pointing a gun at children, and telling them to "get [their] f***ing hands up now!"

SEC Filing Is Not a Public Disclosure, California Court Rules

A California Court of Appeals has ruled rather controversially that federal filings with the SEC do not amount to "public disclosure" for purposes of qui tam relator suits under California's False Claims Act ("CFCA"). This is the case of State ex rel. Bartlett v. Miller, decided on January 19th.

How could this possibly be the ruling? CFCA cases based on public information, said the three judge panel for California's Second Appellate District, are triggered only when such disclosure is through channels explicitly accounted for in the state statute, a mechanism known as the "public disclosure bar."

If you purchased some bulk shrimp from Costco last summer, it's possible that your shrimp cocktail included seafood that was "derived from a supply chain that depends upon documented slavery, human trafficking, and other labor abuses" -- at least according to a lawsuit against the company.

A California woman sued the retailer last August, alleging that the company's Thailand-sourced shrimp were produced with slave labor, despite its supplier code of conduct which prohibits human rights abuses. That's false advertising, Monica Sud argued in her putative class action.

But it turns out, Sud had never purchased Thai shrimp from Costco, slavery-sourced or otherwise. Her suit was dismissed last Friday for lack of standing.

Yosemite Will Change Historic Names in Trademark Dispute

When news first came out about Yosemite "losing" its trademark rights to a greedy Madison Ave. company, people predictably started foaming at the mouth. But it turns out that it's a little more nuanced than that.

In the end, it could be a case of "big bad corporate America against Park Service" turned on its head. Welcome to IP meets National Parks.

On October 23rd, the Southern California Gas Company's natural gas storage well sprung a leak in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Porter Ranch. For over two months, it has spewed gas, releasing over 80,000 metric tons of methane. No one seems able to stop it, either.

While the leak pumps out thousands of tons of toxic greenhouse gases, the lawsuits are already piling up: 25 so far and climbing.

Surrogate Mom Threatened by Birth Father Sues in California Court

A woman has brought suit in a California court to avoid having one of three babies aborted in utero. Yes, you read that one right.

The case shines a rather troubling light in that area of the law generally known as surrogacy law: contracts having to do with the births of children. It goes to show you just how far contract law can apply -- the very limits of decency.