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


Oh how the tides have turned. California, once a bastion for anti-vaccination activists, adopted one of the toughest vaccination laws in the country this week. On Tuesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the new legislation, which requires all children attending public schools to be vaccinated against polio, measles, hepatitis B and other preventable diseases.

Importantly, the law removes exemptions based personal and religious objections to vaccination. Currently, more than 80,000 students escape vaccination under personal belief exemptions. Vaccination opponents have vowed to fight the new legislation.

Just in time for this weekend's Gay Pride celebrations and right on the cusp of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, California's got some good, gay news: a ballot initiative to execute gays and lesbians can be snuffed out without going through the regular ballot process. It's the little victories that count.

The ridiculous Sodomite Suppression Act was the work of Orange Count attorney Matthew McLaughlin and would have required capital punishment for same-sex sexual activity -- carried out by any member of the public. Besides being offensively stupid, the ballot measure is patently unconstitutional and state attorney general Kamala Harris refused to even process the proposal -- i.e., allow it to be put out for petitions in order to qualify for the ballot.

Just in time for your hay fever, fireworks injuries, and debilitating sunburns, expanded sick leave rights are coming to California workers. Starting the first of July, the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act will give California workers access to paid sick leave if they work over 30 days a year. The bill allows employees to earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked.

The new law is expected to expand paid sick leave to millions of workers who previously had little access to leave or no paid sick leave at all. The Act should cover about three quarters of California's low-wage workers and applies to full-time, part-time, and temporary workers.

Uber has long tried to play itself off as simply a middleman, just dispatching independent drivers to consumers through its app -- and taking a big cut of their fare. Nothing but logistics, right? Not according to the California Labor Commission, who ruled today that the extensive control Uber has over its drivers makes them employees, not independent contractors.

The ruling is a major blow to the company, which has long resisted classifying its drivers as employees. Treating drivers as employees will require Uber to pay for Social Security, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, work expenses and other costs, all of which have been borne by drivers until now.

When Governor Brown instituted mandatory water restrictions on urban water users early this April, he was widely praised for taking drastic action to address California's worsening drought. Yet, that praise was often paired with skepticism and even condemnation, as Brown had failed to mandate any reductions for agricultural water users. In California, agricultural users are responsible for four times as much water use as all urban uses, or approximately 80% of all water use in the state.

Agricultural users' reprieve hasn't lasted long, however. On Friday, California instituted sharp cutbacks for farmers, the first reduction of its kind in 38 years. The cutbacks could raise tricky legal issues in California, where water rights complicated and often controversial.

The Navarro, Arceo and Garcia families had a tough May in 2007. Not only did their Mother's Day end up in a brawl, a child's birthday party ended up as a stabbing party. That lead to the conviction of three relatives for murder.

Those convictions were upheld on Tuesday, when the state's 4th Appellate Court upheld their convictions in full, despite claims of 'legally impossible' jury instructions.

Lawyers usually take inspiration from colleagues or former professors. Tonight is your chance to get inspired by a wholly different set of noble scholars: Stephen Curry and co. of the Golden State Warriors.

As you watch the Warriors take on the Cavaliers, consider these 5 lessons you can apply to your legal practice:

After a molestation cover-up which would give the Catholic Church a run for its money, California's Sixth District Court of Appeal has ruled that summer camps, as daycare providers, have a duty to minors and their parents to disclose suspected molestation by camp employees.

The case arose after parents brought suit against Keith Edward Woodhouse and his employer, Camp on the Hill, a summer camp for first through sixth graders run by the First Baptist Church of San Jose, also known as the Church on the Hill. Woodhouse had been repeatedly reported for inappropriate behavior with children, yet parents were never informed. Given the special relationship the camp had with the children and their parents, however, the appeals court found that the camp had a responsibility to disclose credible reports of suspected harm.

Alameda County's drug disposal law, which required pharmaceutical companies to pay for the disposal of unused medicine, has survived an attempted Supreme Court challenge. The High Court refused to hear a challenge to the Ninth Circuit's decision upholding the county law, which applies to much of Northern California's East Bay area.

The law was modeled on similar laws regulating the disposal of batteries, electronics and other potentially harmful trash. Under Alameda's law, drug companies must pay to collect expired prescriptions and cannot charge customers for the disposal. A one day drug take-back event in Alameda resulted in the collection of almost 800 pounds of pills, according to the Star Tribune.

California may soon be getting rid of the religious and personal exemptions that let parents opt out of vaccinating their children before enrolling them in school, daycares or nurseries. A new bill imposing more robust child vaccination requirements has been approved by the state Senate and is well on its way to becoming law.

The law comes largely as a response to an outbreak of measles in Disneyland this winter, which spread to over 100 individuals across state and even national lines. Measles, like many diseases, is preventable through immunization, but California has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with more than a quarter of schools having immunization rates below levels recommended by the C.D.C.