California Case Law: July 2011 Archives
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July 2011 Archives

Intentional "Testicular Tagging" Not Indemnified

In ancient cultures, it could almost have been a mating ritual; in modern California, it's horseplay.

Patrick Frake and a group of his high school friends had a tradition of "testicular tagging," grabbing one another's genitals and punching each other in the testicles, proving once more that packs of young men are not known for demonstrating outstanding judgment. Shocking no one but the participants in this pain orgy, someone was hurt.

Brown Nominates Liu for Supreme Court

Governor Jerry Brown announced Tuesday that he is nominating Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the state's Supreme Court. Liu must now be approved by the state's commission on judicial appointments.

This is not Liu's first judicial nomination. President Barack Obama previously nominated Liu for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the nomination, criticizing Liu's liberal leanings and lack of practical legal experience. Liu eventually withdrew his candidacy.

Kim Kardashian Sues Old Navy in Right of Publicity Claim

Kim Kardashian, Old Navy; two names you might never have thought to find in the same sentence, until now. Ms. Kardashian filed a right of publicity lawsuit against Old Navy and its parent company, Gap, Inc., in Los Angeles federal court last week in response to the Old Navy advertisement that featured a Kim Kardashian look-alike.

The Kardashian lawsuit claims that Old Navy's advertising campaign was "purposefully designed and intended to confuse, to cause mistake, and to deceive the public" into believing the reality TV diva was appearing in the commercials, reports The Los Angeles Times. Damages in the suit are estimated between $15 million and $20 million, a surprising amount given that it would equal 23 to 30 percent of the $65 million that the Kardashian family collectively earned in 2010.

District Court: ZIP Code Unnecessary for Proper Notice

A California mother lost her appeal this week asking the Second Appellate District to reunify her with two of her eleven children, T.W. and S.W. Instead of asserting that the children would benefit from reunification, or that her parental rights were improperly terminated, the mother challenged the validity of a 2009 disposition order denying the reunification because the clerk had failed to include her ZIP code when mailing the written notice of her writ petition rights in the case.

The mother had a long history of domestic instability and drug abuse, and both parents had a history of arrests and convictions for various crimes. T.W. and S.W. were detained in September 2009 after an incident of spousal abuse by their father. Two and a half months after the children were detained from the father, they were removed from their mother's care because of general neglect due to substance abuse; the mother tested positive for cocaine, opiates and benzodiazepines and admitted having used "a little coke and meth."

California Court Refuses to Compel Porn Regulation

In 2003, the Supreme Court kicked government out of the bedroom in Lawrence v. Texas; now the California Court of Appeals has kicked itself off of the adult film set.

The court ruled last week in AIDS Healthcare Foundation v. Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health that it would not compel a Los Angeles Department of Health officer to require adult film industry performers to wear condoms in the production of hardcore pornography and to obtain hepatitis B vaccinations.

California Budget Cuts: $350 Million Gone from Court Budget

The state budget crisis is proving that California budget cuts are as blind as Justice herself.

California courts will be tightening their belts to the tune of $350 million in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. According to the Judicial Council of California, the legislature cut an additional $310 million from the State Court Facilities Construction Fund, which will delay some courthouse projects for up to year.

Although the judiciary accounts for 2.88 percent of the state budget, the FY 2012 judiciary budget adjustments represent 3.5 percent of the state's budget solution. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye criticized the budget cuts at a town hall meeting earlier this month.

Paper or Plastic? Coalition Sacked in Manhattan Beach Bag Ban

California courts typically hear preservation cases asking the judiciary to intervene on behalf of endangered animals or vegetation. Lest anyone question the court’s commitment to topic diversity, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion on Thursday in Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City of Manhattan Beach (Save the Plastic Bag).

The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, a commercial group that highlights the environmental impact of bags, sued the city of Manhattan Beach in August 2008 to bar the city from enforcing a new “point-of-sale plastic carry-out bag” ban until the city commissioned a full environmental impact report (EIR) in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The city responded that the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition lacked standing to bring the suit because it did not meet the heightened scrutiny requirements for standing established in Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc. v. County of Alameda (Waste Management).

CA Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of OC's 'Cold Storage Killer'

The death penalty of the “Cold Storage Killer” was upheld this week by the California Supreme Court.

The case involved the body of a woman that was found in a freezer on the property of the convicted killer, John Famalaro.

Here’s the gruesome part — the body was found three years after the woman’s abandoned car was found with a flat tire parked on the shoulder of the Corona del Mar Freeway in Newport Beach.

California: Negligent Hiring and Respondeat Superior

California employment laws are complex. And so are the laws relating to employment, such as employment torts. Take, for example, the law of vicarious liability. Respondeat superior and negligent hiring aren’t always that different.

But there is a distinction.

A recent California Supreme Court case outlines this distinction, in a June 23 ruling.

The case involved a vehicle accident involving an SUV, a car and a truck. The truck was driving in the faster lane and was overtaken by the car. The car subsequently crashed into the SUV and the driver of the SUV sued all the parties involved. The truck driver was sued and so was his employer. The employer was sued under the tort theory of respondeat superior as well as under the theory of negligent hiring and retention.

Out of State Residents Can Benefit From California Overtime Laws

The California Supreme Court ruled on an issue involving the state’s overtime laws as they apply to out-of-state workers who work in-state for parts of the year. The issue was first raised in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a possible class action is pending. The federal appellate court deferred the question of California labor law to the California Supreme Court, writes Reuters.

In a unanimous ruling that came out on Thursday, the California Supreme Court held that out-of state residents working for California companies can benefit from California overtime laws when traveling to California for business, reports The Los Angeles Times.