California Case Law: January 2011 Archives
California Case Law - The FindLaw California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal Opinion Summaries Blog

January 2011 Archives

Pannu v. Land Rover N. Am., Inc., B218173

Action against Land Rover for strict liability and defective design

Pannu v. Land Rover N. Am., Inc., B218173, concerned a plaintiff's suit against an automobile manufacturer for strict liability and defective design, arising from an automobile collision which rendered him a quadriplegic, trial court's judgment for $21,654,000 against the defendants in finding stability and roof defects in the vehicle had caused plaintiff's injury.


Schoenfeld v. Bd. of Parole Hearings, A128543

Inmate's challenge to the parole board's order for a rescission hearing

Schoenfeld v. Bd. of Parole Hearings, A128543, concerned a defendant's petition for a writ of ordinary mandamus challenging the Board of Parole Hearings' order setting a rescission hearing for August 14, 2009, claiming that the 2008 suitability finding was "final" and thus precluded the Board from taking any action on August 14, 2009.


Decisions in Criminal, Tax, Copyright, and Cyberspace Law Matters

Sharp v. Superior Court, B222025, concerned a defendant's petition for a writ of mandate seeking to compel the superior court to vacate its order granting the People's motion for a mental examination by a prosecution-retained expert.


Conservatorship of the Estate of McQueen, A126825

Exclusion of evidence from consideration under the collateral source doctrine

Conservatorship of the Estate of McQueen, A126825, concerned a conservator's suit on behalf of a mentally and physically disabled elder, against several of the elder's family members and the family's legal representative, claiming that the defendants violated the terms of a trust set up for the elder by her father when they sold the family residence, in which the elder held a life estate, without her consent or knowledge and then misappropriated the entirety of the sales proceeds for their own use.

People v. Dixon, C060804

Defendant's conviction for pandering reversed

People v. Dixon, C060804, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for pandering, based on a text message he sent to a minor that appeared to be soliciting sex for money.  In reversing the conviction, the court held that the California's Supreme Court has explained that a panderer is one who procures the gratification of the passion of lewdness for another, and here, there was no evidence of that in this case.


Decisions in Criminal and Employment Law Matters

People v. Hill, A117787, concerned a challenge to a defendant's convictions and sentences for offenses related to killing an undercover police officer and wounding another.  The court affirmed the the trial court's determination that a witness could testify on direct examination about the out-of-court statements he relied on forming certain of his opinions in concluding that such statements did not come in for their truth, but only to assist the jury in evaluating the witness's opinions, rests on relevant Supreme Court precedent.


Decisions in Criminal, Juvenile & Employment Matters

People v. Hill, A117787, Defendant's convictions and sentences for offenses related to killing an undercover police officer and wounding another, is affirmed as, the trial court's determination that a witness could testify on direct examination about the out-of-court statements he relied on forming certain of his opinions in concluding that such statements did not come in for their truth, but only to assist the jury in evaluating the witness's opinions, rests on relevant Supreme Court precedent.


Cassel v. Superior Court, S178914

Challenge to evidentiary ruling regarding private attorney-client discussions in an underlying mediation in client's legal malpractice action

Cassel v. Superior Court, S178914, concerned a challenge to the the court of appeals' judgment vacating the trial court's grant of defendant attorneys motion to exclude all evidence of private attorney-client discussions immediately preceding, and during, the mediation concerning mediation settlement strategies and defendants' efforts to persuade plaintiff to reach a settlement in the mediation, in plaintiff's malpractice action against his attorneys, claiming that by bad advice, deception, and coercion, the attorneys, who has a conflict of interest, induced him to settle for a lower amount than he had told them he would accept in the underlying action.


Marriage of Fernandez-Abin and Sanchez, D056010

Motion to dismiss minor children from a restraining order under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

Marriage of Fernandez-Abin and Sanchez, D056010, concerned a husband's appeal of a restraining order issued under the Domestic Violence Protection Act protecting his wife and their minor children, claiming that the California court erred when it included his children within the scope of the restraining order and made other rulings because, in an earlier proceeding before a different judge, that court had granted his motion to dismiss the children under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.


Viterbi v. Wasserman, D055209, concerned a challenge to the trial court's grant of nonsuit as to the securities fraud claims in plaintiffs' suit against their former employee for securities fraud related claim, who worked as an analyst on plaintiffs' biotech investments.  In affirming, the court held that, because privity of contract is necessary to maintain an action for rescission under sections 22504 and 22504.1, a purchaser of securities may not maintain such a claim against someone other than the direct seller, as rescission requires the contracting parties to be placed in the position they were in prior to contracting, and a non-seller, who did not receive any money from the purchaser, cannot return that money to the purchaser.


Decisions in Criminal, Tort, Labor & Government Law Matters

People v. Sharret, B223752, concerned a challenge to a defendant's conviction and sentence for possession for sale and sale of heroin.  The court affirmed the conviction but modified the judgment as, an additional criminal laboratory analysis fee, penalty and surcharge should have been imposed as to conviction for sale of heroin.  However, the court held that the criminal laboratory analysis fee imposed as to the count for possession for sale of heroin must be stayed under section 654 along with he charge of which defendant was convicted as it is punitive in nature.


Decisions in Criminal and Insurance Law Matters

People v. Wilkins, G040716, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for first degree murder under the felony murder rule, when a stolen stove fell from defendant's truck and killed a victim. 


In re Marriage of Goodman, D055950

Marital dissolution proceedings

In re Marriage of Goodman, D055950, concerned a challenge to the family court's order modifying a pendente lite child and spousal support order in favor of the wife, in marital dissolution proceedings.  In reversing, the court held that the family court exceeded its jurisdiction as the Legislature expressly intends that temporary support orders may not be modified retroactively.  Further, the prospective modification of the order was improper because there was no pending order to show cause or motion for modification as required.

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MKJA, Inc. v. 123 Fit Franchising, LLC, D055967

Challenge to trial court's grant of lift of stay of litigation in breach of contract action

MKJA, Inc. v. 123 Fit Franchising, LLC, D055967, concerned plaintiffs' suit claiming that defendants fraudulently induced them to enter into certain health club franchise agreements, and failed to provide them with operational support that the defendants were to provide pursuant to the terms of the agreements.


People v. Ochoa, B218800

Conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm

People v. Ochoa, B218800, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm in a second trial after the jury failed to reach a verdict in the first trial.  In affirming, the court held that, contrary to defendant's argument that, under the doctrine of collateral estoppel, the ruling on his probation barred the second trial, the decision at the revocation hearing did not bar defendant's second trial.  The court also held that there is no basis to disturb the trial court's ruling on the Pritchess motion.

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People v. Cua, A123756

Challenge to the scientific validity of DNA evidence used to convict defendant for first degree murders

People v. Cua, A123756, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for first degree murders of his employers and jury's finding all enhancement allegations to be true, and the scientific validity of DNA evidence and his trial counsels' failure to object to its admission.


Fraud exception to the parol evidence rule

Riverisland Cold Storage, Inc. v. Fresno-Madera Prod. Credit Ass'n, F058434, concerned plaintiffs' suit against defendant-creditor alleging causes of action for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, rescission, and reformation, arising from a breach of a written forbearance agreement.  In reversing the trial court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment, the court held that, because plaintiffs' evidence of misrepresentations fell within the fraud exception to the parol evidence rule, the evidence should have been admitted to raise a triable issue of material fact in opposition to defendant's motion.


People v. Diaz, S166600

Warrantless search of text messages in defendant's cell phone valid incident to lawful custodial arrest

People v. Diaz, S166600, concerned a challenge to the court of appeals' affirmance of the trial court's denial of a motion to suppress evidence of text messages in defendant's cell phone, in a conviction of defendant for selling Ecstasy.  In affirming, the court held that, under the United States Supreme Court's binding precedent, the law enforcement officers' search of the text message folder of defendant's cell phone taken from his person after the arrest, approximately 90 minutes after lawfully arresting defendant and transporting him to a detention facility, is valid as being incident to a lawful custodial arrest.


Speilman v. Ex'Pression Ctr. for New Media, A122357, concerned plaintiffs' suit against defendant-private postsecondary educational institution, which offers courses in sound arts, digital visual medial, and Web design and development, for violation of Education Code former sections 94312, 94832, and 94875, as well as various other causes of action, claiming that defendant made certain misrepresentations to them, including that it would soon be nationally accredited, that they would graduate from the school with degrees from a nationally accredited institution, that their degrees and credits would be transferable to other accredited institutions.