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

Suicide Attempt Opens Door for Police Search

For Willie Ovieda, the good news was that police kept him from committing suicide. The bad news was they arrested him for possessing an assault weapon.

In People v. Ovieda, his defense attorney tried to exclude the evidence but the trial judge allowed it. He then pleaded guilty on conditions of probation, 180 days in jail, and mental health treatment.

On appeal, Ovieda said the police found the evidence during an unreasonable search. California's Second District Court of Appeal said the search was lawful under the "community caretaker" exception.

Statewide Class of Janitors Certified in Wage Case

A California appeals court re-wrapped its pre-Christmas decision, allowing a class-action to proceed on behalf of janitorial workers for wage violations.

In the ABM Industries Overtime Cases, the First District Court of Appeals certified the class action on Dec. 11, 2017. But the court made a minor modification and published the decision on Jan. 10, 2018.

For some 35,000 janitors, it was all's well that ends well. But for the trial judge, maybe not so much.

Airbnb Defeats Landlord's Lawsuit in California

Airbnb is not liable for information that users post in breach of their leases, a federal judge said in Los Angeles.

U.S. Judge Dolly Gee said that the web-based service is protected by the Communications Decency Act, which shields internet service providers from liability for user content.

"Here, what allegedly makes the listings 'unlawful,' 'illegal,' or 'offending' is that they advertise rentals that violate Aimco's lease agreements," Gee said. "Airbnb hosts, not Airbnb, are responsible for providing the actual listing information."

Anonymous Tip and Snapchat Were Reasonable Suspicion for School Search

Who is more stupid -- the student who takes a gun to school, or the one who posts a video of it on social media?

In this case, that would be the same kid. Fortunately for him, police confiscated the weapon and he became a ward of the court and not a statistic in People v. K.J.

Meanwhile, his attorney argued that the police searched the boy without reasonable suspicion. So, who is more stupid...?

For California lawyers, defending individuals on criminal marijuana charges was already a rare event. However, over the past two decades, medical marijuana businesses kept some lawyers busy.

But now that marijuana is legal for recreational purposes in the state, more lawyers will undoubtedly be needed to help the new pot shops keep on the legal side of selling pot. Below, you can find a few resources to help you help your legal weed selling clients in California.

Supreme Court Vacancy Stirs Concerns

Gov. Jerry Brown has been called a "judicial trailblazer" because of his groundbreaking appointments, including the nation's first openly gay and lesbian judges.

And either Judge Jim Humes or Judge Therese Stewart, both of California's First District Court of Appeal, could become the first gay or lesbian justice on the California Supreme Court. There is a vacancy, and potential candidates are waiting.

But it has been almost 10 months since the opportunity presented itself, and the governor seems to be lost in the woods. At least, California is getting restless.

Court Revives Obesity Disability Claim Against Club

Ketryn Cornell had a weight problem, and it became an issue at work.

She liked her job, but when a "thin woman" started making more money than she did, things got nasty. A pay dispute quickly turned into a lawsuit.

A trial judge dismissed Cornell's discrimination case, but California's Second District Court of Appeal reversed in part. At trial in Cornell v. Berkeley Tennis Club, it could go from bad to worse.

Court: No Duty to Businesses for Economic Loss From Gas Leak

Judge John Wiley, Jr. gets rave reviews for being a "very thorough," intelligent," "gentleman and a scholar."

So it was with respect when an appeals court reviewed the judge's invitation to review his ruling in the Southern California Gas Company Gas Leak Cases. After all, it was about a leak of 190,000 metric tons of methane that put 15,000 residents out of their homes.

"The legal issue here -- the existence of a duty of care -- is significant and of widespread interest," said the California Second District Court of Appeal.

The California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a Black Lives Matter protester who was arrested for getting between arresting officers and an arrestee. Jasmine Nicole Richardson was arrested for pulling an arrestee away from the officers during a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Richardson was ultimately convicted of attempting to take a person from lawful police custody by means of riot, a felony.

Richardson appealed the conviction on a few grounds, but was only successful on one. Unfortunately for Richardson, the one claim the appellate court went for only involved the trial court's failure to include a jury instruction for a lesser included charge, which trial courts are required to do when the lesser charge is wholly within the larger charge. In reversing the conviction, the appellate court remanded the matter for either retrial, or simply resentencing based on the lesser charge Richardson alleged should have been submitted to the jury.

Photo, Close Enough to Identify CVS Clerk Selling Alcohol to Minor

Yesterday, you smiled for "Candid Camera." Today, you smile for a selfie.

In any generation, however, you really don't smile for a police officer who is taking your picture. That was the case for a CVS clerk caught selling alcohol to a minor in Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control v. Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board.

Police had sent the teenager into the store as a decoy, then asked the clerk and the boy -- beer in hand -- to pose for a photo. That was good enough for identification, said California's Third District Court of Appeal.