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

May 2015 Archives

Alameda County's drug disposal law, which required pharmaceutical companies to pay for the disposal of unused medicine, has survived an attempted Supreme Court challenge. The High Court refused to hear a challenge to the Ninth Circuit's decision upholding the county law, which applies to much of Northern California's East Bay area.

The law was modeled on similar laws regulating the disposal of batteries, electronics and other potentially harmful trash. Under Alameda's law, drug companies must pay to collect expired prescriptions and cannot charge customers for the disposal. A one day drug take-back event in Alameda resulted in the collection of almost 800 pounds of pills, according to the Star Tribune.

California may soon be getting rid of the religious and personal exemptions that let parents opt out of vaccinating their children before enrolling them in school, daycares or nurseries. A new bill imposing more robust child vaccination requirements has been approved by the state Senate and is well on its way to becoming law.

The law comes largely as a response to an outbreak of measles in Disneyland this winter, which spread to over 100 individuals across state and even national lines. Measles, like many diseases, is preventable through immunization, but California has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with more than a quarter of schools having immunization rates below levels recommended by the C.D.C.

Maile Mae Hampton, a young African American woman, attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Sacramento last January to speak out against police violence against minorities -- and ended up being charged with felony lynching. Hampton is accused of pulling a fellow protestor away from police, which prosecutors felt met the definition of lynching in California: "the taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of a peace officer."

Perhaps realizing that the charge was in poor judgment -- or perhaps just poor P.R. -- Sacramento's chief deputy district attorney amended the complaint. Instead of lynching, Hampton now faces a single charge of misdemeanor interference with an officer.

In the first major ruling interpreting California's decade old sex education law, a Fresno court has ruled that the northern California town of Clovis failed to provide adequate education when it adopted a 'abstinence-only until heterosexual marriage' curriculum.

After the Clovis school district refused to change the program, parents and the American Academy of Pediatrics sued. Clovis revised its program and the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their suit, but filed for attorneys fees. The school district opposed, describing the suit as a "costly nuisance" and claiming that it had prevailed in the litigation -- providing the court the opportunity to detail just how extensively the school's curriculum had violated the law.

If you've gotten sick in the past 30 or so years, odds are that you've been prescribed Cipro, the antibiotic that is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world. From 1987 to 2003, Bayer was the sole producer of Cipro in the United States -- a position which helped it generate billions of dollars in gross sales until its patent expired in 2003.

Part of the reason Bayer was able to maintain such a lucrative position, according to an antitrust class action suit, was because the company paid a manufacturer $398 million to keep a generic version off the market until Bayer's patent expired. The Supreme Court of California reversed a dismissal of that class action on Thursday, reviving the "pay for delay" lawsuit.

Californians who resell art out-of-state will no longer have to pay a statutory royalty to the artist. Under the California Resale Royalty Act, a seller was required pay a five percent royalty to the artist if the seller is a California resident selling out-of-state or if the sale takes place in California. That out-of-state provision is an unconstitutional violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause, the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled on Tuesday.

Under the Act, if a San Franciscan auctions off a sculpture by a German artist in New York City, the artist is owed the royalty. Similarly, a royalty is required if a Brazilian businessman buys a photograph by a Chicago artist while passing through LA. Change "San Francisco" to "Paris" or "LA" to "Detroit" and no payment is needed in either scenario.

With accusations of police brutality leading to unrest from Ferguson to Baltimore, many have called for law enforcement to wear body cameras. The thought is that body cam recordings will provide greater accountability, particularly following incidents such as the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, under highly disputed circumstances.

Who, though, will have access to that footage? A new bill being considered in California could prevent police officers from reviewing their own recordings when they have been accused of misconduct. At least, that was the idea initially. After resistance from law enforcement, the bill has been amended to allow officers to review body cam footage where not prevented by local policy.

In a move that surprised many, the California's Supreme Court declined to revisit a controversial January ruling on mandatory registration for certain offenders. The case the court declined to rehear, Johnson v. Department of Justice, revived a mandatory registration law that many argued was homophobic and unjustly subjected gay and lesbian defendants to greater punishments than their straight counterparts.

The Johnson decision received a strong dissent from two Justices. Court observers had expected Governor Brown's recent appointees to push the court more to the left and to rehear the case. The decision this week is one sign that those predictions may have been misguided.