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

May 2011 Archives

While most people know that they can't park in certain parking spots without breaking handicap parking laws, did you know that in certain circumstances, disabled persons can also be in violation of the law for parking in disabled spots? That's what the California Appellate Court said today.

The case, Spicer v. City of Camarillo, addresses the issue of unlimited parking in handicap spots, in light of municipal and state law. The plaintiff in the case was disabled and had a placard issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. On October 13, 2007, he parked his van and pickup truck on a street in Camarillo and was issued a courtesy warning, placed on his windshield. The warning stated that the Municipal Code prohibited parking of the vehicles for more than 72 consecutive hours.

Three days later, the vehicles were towed.

For legal practitioners who are in Beverly Hills next Tuesday, the Beverly Hills Bar Association is hosting its 57th Annual California Supreme Court Luncheon.

The luncheon will be held on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. It will take place at the Beverly Hills Hotel and will honor all six justices currently sitting on the California Supreme Court.

The courtroom is a place of judgment, so every part of a litigator's knowledge is important. While the merits of an argument and a strong understanding of the procedural rules are crucial in winning a case, never underestimate the value of your image as an attorney. Attorneys, particularly those appearing in court, should know the how to manipulate fashion to their advantage.

If you run a Google search on "what to wear to court," you'll undoubtedly come across many articles talking about courtroom attire for litigants; discussing the impact that attire can have on how the judge and jury perceive the litigants, both parties and witnesses. In fact, there have even been studies outlining the idea that jurors grant favorable sentences to more attractive people. A Cornell University study examined this idea, pointing out that many jurors process information intuitively and as such, will take into account the appearance of the defendants.

But what about the attorneys? As much as many want to deny it, the truth is that attire and image matter -- especially in court.

California lawyer salaries are among the highest in the nation, reports Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Specifically, the average lawyer salary in Silicon Valley and in the greater San Francisco Bay Area are the highest, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So, how much do lawyers make annually in California? More importantly, are you being paid what you're worth, or should you be thinking about moving to a new firm?

In an opinion published earlier this week, the California Supreme Court upheld a Superior Court decision imposing the death penalty sentence on Sean Vines, reports the Sacramento Bee. Vines was sentenced back in 1997 for the murder of Ronald Joshua Lee, 21, at a McDonald's in Sacramento.

For criminal defense attorneys or those attorneys interested in evidentiary or constitutional death penalty arguments, the recently published Vines opinion is an interesting one. The issues raised by Vines' attorneys address whether the death penalty is constitutional and relate to the admission of victim impact evidence at the sentencing stage of a capital case.

California has long been a diverse state, with many ethnicities comprising its population. For California employment lawyers, however, this means a prevalence of national-origin based employment discrimination claims. In fact, California Lawyer Magazine reports that California has more national-origin based employment discrimination lawsuits than other states.

The EEOC reports that the number of race and gender discrimination lawsuits across the nation has generally decreased. But despite the decrease in numbers of racial discrimination claims, there have been increasing complaints filed in related types of employment discrimination claims, such as those based on ethnic background, language or even accent.

Beware, California lawyers! Malpractice lawsuits just became a bit easier.

In April, the California appellate court case of Callahan v. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher found against Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in a result that should raise red flags for all California attorneys, particularly those who draft documents for client consumption. According to Thomson Reuters News & Insight, the 2nd District California Court of Appeal held that the law firm's clients had a malpractice claim against the firm, based on a faulty family limited partnership-- over a decade after the documents had been drafted.

The key issue at appeal was the statute of limitations on such a claim. The statute of limitations on the malpractice suit, states the court in its opinion, began to run after injury was sustained as opposed to when the allegedly faulty documents were drafted. The injury occurred in 2004, nearly sixteen years after the documents had been drafted.