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


Bid to Buy Delta Islands Approved by CA Supreme Court

The sale of five small islands located within the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta will proceed as originally planned following the California Supreme Court's review of the matter. It's a decision that some Northern California groups have opposed from the very beginning.

The buyer, the Metropolitan Water District, has intimated that the islands may be used to provide access to a proposed tunnel system, a project that many fear may be used as a pathway to divert water to Southern California during these worrisome times of drought.

Felony Burglars Could Be Mere Shoplifters, Thanks to Prop 47

A man who was convicted for second degree burglary in California successfully convinced a California Court of Appeal that stealing by false pretenses was a form of shoplifting, thus falling under the umbrella of reduced sentences under Prop 47.

It could be one of the first cases in a very long time in which a defendant wanted to be branded a thief.

Inventor of 'Bullet Button' Skirts Spirit of New CA Gun Laws

Whenever state gun laws tighten restrictions on firearms, a demand is created for devices that will skirt the new restrictions. And that's just what has happened with the recent release of the "Bullet Button Patriot Mag Release," which defies California's new gun laws.

Days after Jerry Brown signed into law new language that made quick release of magazines more difficult, a company softened the sting for gun lovers by introducing a device that helps speed up reloading after the gun has been partially disassembled. No doubt demand is white hot.

Christian Dating Site Ordered to Allow LGBT Singles Access

A Superior Court in California has just penned off on a settlement that requires Christian Mingle to accommodate LGBT singles who use the site. Now, people visiting ChristianMingle.com aren't restricted to searching for a partner of the opposite sex; they can now search for same-sex matches. This will surely not be the last word on what will become part of the "religious freedom" movement.

CA Supreme Court Kills Auto-Depublication of Appellate Opinions

California's Supreme Court recently announced an amendment to the California Rules of Court. Beginning July 1, 2016, published Court of Appeal decisions will no longer automatically "depublish" when the California Supreme Court grants review.

The main impetus behind the move was to respect the opinions and wishes of jurists and lawyers throughout the state who generally felt that the opinions still had use beyond modification by the state high court. But the change is a trial run; the state will revisit the issue again after three years.

CA Farmers Sue to Block 'Piece-Rate' Modifications

A California farming interest league has filed a complaint in Fresno County Court alleging that Assembly Bill 1513, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, is unconstitutionally vague, according to Court House News.

The law is essentially an updated version of a pay scheme that California has had in place since the turn of the century. But now its critics have argued that the latest updates are an opening for harm to farmers and even to workers.

California Pot: Golden State Will Vote on Recreational Marijuana

Yesterday, California's Secretary of State announced that the recreational marijuana measure had obtained more than enough signatures to be included on this November's ballot. The amount of money supporters have raised is $3.53 million according to the Sacramento Bee -- 31 times more than opponents have raised to block the measure.

The development is consistent with increased acceptability by various jurisdictions within the union of the recreational use of a drug that still enjoys controlled substance status under Schedule I.

No Defamation in 'Farce' American Hustle Lawsuit

A seemingly harmless comment in the movie American Hustle led to a highly-publicized defamation suit in California. The suit has temporarily come to a resting place following a recent ruling. The ruling shows that, when it comes to defamation, context is everything.

The plaintiff Paul Brodeur made headlines when it was revealed that he'd sued the producers and distributors of American Hustle alleging that Jennifer Lawrence's character damaged his reputation. In the movie, a husband and wife are having an argument over whether or not microwave ovens denude foods of all their nutritional value. The character Rosalyn said she'd read an article by Brodeur that microwaves did exactly that. Brodeur sued, arguing that this suggested to audiences that he'd made a scientifically unsupportable argument.

Led Zeppelin Moves to Dismiss Case, Cites Mary Poppins as Inspiration

Legal counsel for Led Zeppelin urged a Los Angeles federal district court judge to dismiss the current copyright suit against the band over allegations that they stole a riff from the song "Taurus" by Spirit.

Based on what we know now of the suit, it appears that issues of fact could still be fleshed out -- despite our view that reasonable minds might disagree about the "substantial similarity" between "Taurus" and "Stairway to Heaven."

ACLU Sues CA Court for Suspending Driver Licenses of the Poor

When Henry Washington was given a citation for driving an unregistered vehicle, the ensuing fine hit him harder than it would many Californians with more adequate means. After all, the reason he purchased the vehicle was to drive his brother to and from his required medical appointments. But the car couldn't pass smog. He choose to drive a dirty car to get his brother to his appointments. Soon, his license was suspended because he couldn't pay the fine.

This area between a rock and a hard place is all too common for many of California's poor, and the ACLU has recently filed a suit seeking some relief for those most affected.