California Case Law: November 2010 Archives
California Case Law - The FindLaw California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal Opinion Summaries Blog

November 2010 Archives

Bldg. Indus. Ass'n of Cent. California v. County of Stanislaus, F058826

Challenge to the facial validity of a county's Farmland Mitigation Program

Bldg. Indus. Ass'n of Cent. California v. County of Stanislaus, F058826, concerned a suit by the Building Industry Association of Central California (BIA), challenging the facial validity of the County and the County Board of Supervisor's Farmland Mitigation Program (FMP), requiring that a developer dedicate permanent easements as a condition of obtaining development approvals or permits from the County.

People v. Smith, B219915

Denial of motion to suppress in prosecution for marijuana possession for sale

People v. Smith, B219915, concerned a challnege to the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress, in a prosecution of defendant for marijuana possession for sale.  In affirming the decision, the court held that the two police officers and a deputy probation officer acted reasonably while searching defendant's apartment, and because the officer acted reasonably in opening a dryer door, the observation and seizure of the marijuana by the officer in plain view was reasonable.

Decisions in Criminal, Government, Family Law & Contracts Matters

People v. Soojian, F058589, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for various crimes, including attempted murder and robbery.  In reversing the convictions, the court ordered a new trial in holding that this is one of the rare cases where a failure to present evidence undermines confidence in the outcome, resulting in a miscarriage of justice.  The court also held that the newly discovered evidence raises significant issues as to the correctness of the verdict, and defendant is entitled to a trial in which all relevant evidence is presented and to a verdict based on all of that evidence.

Decisions in Criminal, Habeas & Employment Law Matters

People v. Shrier, B218424, concerned a challenge to the superior court's denial of the government's motion to reinstate the felony complaint pursuant to Penal Code section 871.5, in proceedings arising from a prosecution of defendant for grand theft and for filing fraudulent Medi-Cal claims wherein a magistrate judge dismissed the complaint after concluding that intentional eavesdropping of defendant's attorney-client privileged communications by special agents of the Department of Justice was so outrageous that defendant had been denied due process of law.

People v. Gallego, C061749, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for a 1991 second degree murder and a jury's finding that he used a knife to commit the crime.  In affirming, the court held that the cigarette butt that defendant voluntarily discarded by tossing it onto a public sidewalk, which was then collected and DNA-tested by law enforcement only to identify defendant as a suspect in an ongoing criminal investigation, did not constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment to the federal Constitution, and defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in this discarded item.

Decisions in Labor and Environmental Matters

Sameyah v. Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Ass'n, B222290, concerned a plaintiff's petition for peremptory writ of mandate seeking an order compelling the Board of Retirement (Board) of the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association to reverse its decision denying her application for service-connected survivor death benefits.  In affirming the trial court's denial of the petition, the court held that because the presumption set forth in section 31720.6 is a rebuttable one, here, substantial evidence supports the trial court's decision that the Board rebutted the cancer presumption by making the showing outlined in section 31720.6(c).

Decisions in Labor, Criminal, Family Law & Justiciability Matters

Schofield v. Superior Court, F058298, concerned a defendants' petition for writ of mandate challenging the trial court's grant of plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, in a dispute between the parties over whether a bishop continues to be incumbent Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin and therefore, president of the trust and president and chair of the foundation.  In granting the petition, the court vacated the trial court's judgment as plaintiff's first cause of action presents a purely ecclesiastical controversy not justiciable by civil courts.

Ameron Int'l Corp. v. Ins. Co. of the State of Pennsylvania, S153852

Foster-Gardner's rule does not apply to quasi-judicial proceedings employed to resolve government demands against insured parties

Ameron Int'l Corp. v. Ins. Co. of the State of Pennsylvania, S153852, concerned a plaintiff's suit against defendant-insurers, alleging causes of action for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, declaratory relief, waiver and estoppel, and contribution, claiming that the United States Department of Interior Board of Contract Appeals (IBCA) proceedings are "civil proceedings" and that the insurers had the duty to defend or settle the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation's (Bureau) claims against the plaintiff before the IBCA.

People v. Foster, S058025

Defendant's conviction and sentence of death for first degree murder and related offenses

People v. Foster, S058025, concrned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for first degree murder, second degree burglary, and second degree robbery and a sentence of death.

Pineda v. Bank of Am., NA S170758

Plaintiff's suit against Bank of America for wage violations

Pineda v. Bank of Am., NA S170758, concerned a challenge to the court of appeal's affirmance of the trial court's judgment in favor of the defendant, in plaintiff's suit against his former employer, seeking to represent a class of former Bank of America employees whose final wages were untimely paid.

In re A.L., D057412

Challenge to juvenile court's order finding the parental rights of the father not reinstated

In re A.L., D057412, concerned a challenge to the juvenile court's order finding the parental rights of the father were not reinstated along with the parental rights of the minor children's mother.  In reversing, the court held that the juvenile court erred by finding that the father's parental rights were not reinstated because when the appellate court reversed the order denying the mother's petition, it necessarily vacated the subsequent section 366.26 hearing and the orders terminating parental rights of both parents.

People v. Duarte, G041195

Sentencing challenge for firearm and street terrorism convictions

People v. Duarte, G041195, concerned a challenge to the trial court's imposition of a sentence of 15-years imprisonment, in a prosecution of defendant for discharging a firearm with gross negligence, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and other related crimes.  The court affirmed the sentence with modification in concluding that the trial court should have stayed sentencing on the street terrorism count as section 654 bars punishment for the firearm offense and a separate punishment for the street terrorism substantive offense for the same conduct.

PNEC Corp. v. Meyer, G042297

Award of attorney's fees in a suit dismissed on forum non conveniens grounds

PNEC Corp. v. Meyer, G042297, concerned a challenge to the  trial court's grant of defendant's motion for attorney's fees following a grant of a motion to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds, in a plaintiff-corporation's suit against defendants claiming that it provided defendants with "certain refined petroleum products" for which the defendants failed to pay.

Decisions in Labor, Juvenile, Contracts & Tort Matters

Stewart v. Union Carbide Corp., B216193, concerned plaintiffs' suit for fraud, negligence, and strict products liability on failure to warn and design defect theories, claiming that exposure to asbestos from joint compounds contained in drywalls caused him to suffer from mesothelioma.

 

People v. Eastburn, B216886

Defendant's convictions for forgery from an elder adult and related crimes affirmed

People v. Eastburn, B216886, concerned a challenge to the convictions of defendant for forgery from an elder adult, grand theft by embezzlement and commercial burglary, for obtaining over $20,000 by passing checks with the forged signatures of his 83-year-old employer.

Martinez v. Regents of the Univ. of California, S167791

Suit challenging exemption for unlawful aliens from paying nonresident tuition

Martinez v.  Regents of the Univ. of California, S167791, concerned a suit brought by U.S. citizens, who are or were students paying nonresident tuition at a California public university or college, claiming that they have been illegally denied exemption from nonresident tuition under California Education Code section 68130.5, in violation of 8 U.S.C. section 1623, 42 U.S.C. section 1983, the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, the privileges and immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and other legal provisions.

People v. Russell, S075875

Murder conviction and death sentence affirmed

People v. Russell, S075875, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for the murders of two county sheriff's deputies and a sentence of death.

Decisions in Criminal, Labor, Arbitration & Election Law Matters

Yes on 25, Citizens for an On-Time Budget v. Superior Court, C065707, concerned plaintiffs' petition for a peremptory writ of mandate seeking to compel the superior court to vacate its judgment ordering revision of the ballot title and summary and the ballot label for Proposition 25 prepared by the Attorney General.

Doe v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento, C061842

Suit against a Diocese for molestation barred by statute of limitations

Doe v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento, C061842, concerned a plaintiff's suit against a Diocese, claiming that she suffered damages as a result of priests' molestation of her sons.

People v. Cortez, G042891

Imposition of "court facilities" fee on each conviction for committing lewd acts upon a child

People v. Cortez, G042891, concerned a challenge to the trial court's imposition of a $30 "court facilities" fee on each of defendant's convictions in six counts of committing lewd acts upon a child. 

Wong v. Jing, H034059, concerned a challenge to the trial court's denial of defendants' anti-SLAPP motion to strike plaintiff's claims, in a pediatric dentist's suit against defendants, husband and wife, and the Web site Yelp.com, based on allegedly false assertions contained in a review posted on Yelp that criticized the dental services the plaintiff had provided to the couple's son.

 

Decisions in Gaming, Criminal & Juvenile Law Matters

People v. Smith, C061805, concerned a challenge to the trial court's conviction of defendant for rape of an intoxicated woman and related crimes.  In affirming the convictions, the court rejected defendant's claim that the trial court gave misleading and incomplete instructions on rape of an intoxicated woman that require reversal of both rape convictions.  The court also held that there was sufficient evidence to support defendant's conviction of misdemeanor sexual battery.

Conservatorship of Whitley, S175855

Denial of a successful litigant's request for attorney fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5 reversed

Conservatorship of Whitley, S175855, concerned a challenge to the court of appeal's denial of petitioner's request for attorney fees following successful litigation involving a challenge to the transfer of her disabled brother into a community living arrangement.  In reversing the judgment of the court of appeal, the court remanded the matter in concluding that a litigant's personal non-pecuniary motives may not be used to disqualify that litigant from obtaining fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5, and here, the fact that the petitioner was subjectively motivated by her brother's welfare does not disqualify her from section 1021.5 fees.

Slates v. Gorabi, B217067, concerned an attorney's suit against his former clients, seeking recovery of attorney fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 685.040, which permits a judgment creditor to recover attorney fees incurred in enforcing a judgment.

People v. Hajjaj, S175307

People v. Hajjaj, S175307, concerned a challenge to the court of appeal's reversal of a trial court's grant of defendant's motion to dismiss, one day after the last day established by Penal Code section 1282 for bringing the criminal proceeding.  In reversing, the court held tha the trial court properly concluded that good cause did not exist under section 1382 to delay defendant's trial because the lack of any judge or courtroom available to bring this case to trial within the statutory period resulted from chronic court congestion attributable to the state.

Decisions in Family Law, Criminal Law and Bail Forfeiture Actions

People v. Seneca Ins. Co., G043026, concerned a challenge to the trial court's grant of summary judgment and denial of a surety's motion to vacate forfeiture and exonerate bail, or toll the time available for exoneration of bail.  In affirming, the court held that a bail bond is not exonerated simply because the People have not completed extradition of the defendant before the end of the bond exoneration period.  The court also held that the statutory scheme does not authorize additional extensions or tolling of the bond exoneration period in the circumstances presented, and the surety already received its one-time extension of 180 days authorized by section 1305.4 and it did not qualify for statutory tolling under section 1305(e).

Jackson v. Superior Court, H035137

Challenge to the superior court's order granting a motion for reconsideration of its prior order granting petition for writ of habeas corpus

Jackson v. Superior Court, H035137, concerned a defendant's petition for writ of mandate and/or prohibition, seeking vacatur of the superior court's order granting a motion for reconsideration of its prior order granting a petition for writ of habeas corpus from defendant's convictions for aggravated sexual assault on a child and child endangerment.

 

 

In re McDonald, B219424

Grant of habeas relief for a defendant challenging Governor's reversal of parole board's decision affirmed

In re McDonald, B219424, concerned a trial court's grant of defendant's petition for writ of habeas corpus, challenging the Governor's reversal of a decision by the Board of Parole Hearings to grant parole.

 

Mepco Serv., Inc. v. Saddleback Valley Unified Sch. Dist., D055018

Award of attorney's fees affirmedc in general contractor's suit against a school district

Mepco Serv., Inc. v. Saddleback Valley Unified Sch. Dist., D055018, concerned a challenge to the  trial court's entry of judgment in favor of the plaintiff, in plaintiff general contractor's suit against a school district for breach of contract.  In affirming, the court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding plaintiff all of the attorney fees that it incurred in litigating the case, pursuant to the terms of the performance bond and Civil Code section 1717.

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People v. Baldwin, B217438

Convictions for murder and conspiracy to commit murder affirmed

People v. Baldwin, B217438, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for murder, and conspiracy to commit murder, and jury's finding true gun and gang allegations as to each count.

 

Vuki v. Superior Court, G043544, concerned plaintiffs' petition for a writ of mandate, challenging an order of the Superior Court denying their request for a restraining order against HSBC Bank USA (HSBC), seeking a stay of eviction following foreclosure sale of plaintiffs' home.