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

May 2016 Archives

Are Smart-Gun Mandates Coming to California?

Are we going big brother on guns? Should we? Does the Second Amendment right to bear arms guarantee a right to bear arms that are not tech-locked against a particular user?

Questions like these are at the very heart of the case of Pena v. Lindley, a gun safety lawsuit that's been many years in the making but now is finally closing in on the issue of how America regards guns.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris brought suit against Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday, accusing the company of violating advertising laws in marketing its pelvic mesh devices. Pelvic mesh, also known as transvaginal mesh, is a net-like implant that's used to treat prolapse and incontinence in women. But the devices can also cause serious complications, including urinary dysfunction, constipation, loss of sexual function, and debilitating pain.

For years, Johnson & Johnson, along with its Ethicon unit, falsely marketed the device as safe and even superior to other treatments, despite being aware of significant evidence to the contrary, California's suit alleges.

San Francisco's Law on Sugary Drinks Defeats Injunction Attempts

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District in California refused to grant an injunction to halt the law recently approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that would force very prominent warnings on ads of sugary drinks. It means that there's effectively nothing to stop the law from taking effect as scheduled next July.

US Trades Murder Charge for El Chapo Extradition

It seems that the world's largest trafficker in illicit drugs likes his prison in Mexico, or at least, he doesn't want to face jail and court time in America where he is less likely to escape this country's maximum security prisons.

It's a bit of an annoying development for American prosecutors who quietly agreed to drop multiple murder charges against Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in order to ease his extradition and to face justice here. It looks like more grease will be needed.

California Says Guns in Bags Also Violate 'On Your Person' Laws

California whose gun laws are generally considered to be the most draconian in the nation just, got some backing by its highest court. According to the California Supreme Court, guns carried in pouches, backpacks and other such bags are also considered "on one's person" and as such, are in violation of state laws against concealed carry weapons.

Given the tectonic and bureaucratic processes to obtain a concealed carry weapon license in this state, the state Supreme Court's ruling could mean the only way you're going to legally have a gun in any city in California worth mentioning is to get shot and hope that someone puts a gun in your hands.

Court Must Allow Psych Testimony in Tragic Gay Homicide Case

Facing an extraordinarily troubling set of facts, a California appeals court decided to err on the side of an emotionally damaged killer whose life came spiraling down, culminating in a frenzied murder.

In the view of the court, the statutory prohibitions that preclude expert testimony on the subject of mens rea were improperly applied to the criminal defendant's disadvantage. And in a case such as this, such prejudice cannot be left undisturbed.

California's Top Ethics Prosecutor, Jayne Kim, Resigns Her Post

The California State Bar's chief trial counsel, Jayne Kim, will be leaving for good amid controversy and a recent "no confidence" vote against her by fellow state bar employees. Apparently, Kim's resignation has been in the cards for a while, delayed only by circumstances surrounding an infusion of new blood at the trial counsel level.

Kim's resignation came as a bit of a surprise to those who thought the waters had cleared for the State Bar's ethics prosecutor, but for her part, Kim has signaled that now was the "right time for [her] to move on."

CA Passes ADA Tort-Reform Bill to Protect Small Businesses

After it breezed through the California Legislature, Senate Bill 269 was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, conferring major protections to small California businesses that find themselves on the receiving end of an ADA violations suit. The bill, effective immediately, will give small businesses under 50 employees additional time to comply with the law before incurring fines and fees. It will additionally give 15 days to address violations alleged in a suit.

Senator Richard Roth, the author of the bill, described the passage as a "major victory for all Californians."

You upload photos to Facebook and the social media website gives you suggestions on who to tag. Is that your old roommate Javier on the fishing trip? Or maybe it's Craig, from accounting? And this photo in your feed, you weren't there when it was taken, but would you like to tag Lijuan anyway?

All that's possible through Facebook's fairly sophisticated biometric technology, which uses facial recognition software to scan members' faces and identify them in photos posted to the site. It's called "DeepFace" technology and, according to a putative class action in the Northern District of California, it's against the law. Or, at least, one law. In Illinois. And that's good enough for now, the court ruled last week, striking down Facebook's objections that its user agreement requires disputes to be resolved under California law.

Is Your Fingerprint Protected by the Fifth Amendment?

By now, everyone's heard of the case of Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan, the 29 year old woman whose number of crimes nearly match her age. Last February, she was court-ordered to submit her fingerprint in order to access her iPhone that was seized at an Armenian Power gang member's residence in Glendale, California. But what are the legal implications?

Gov. Brown Raises Smoking Age to 21 in California

Despite predictable resistance and noise from the tobacco industry, the California legislature overwhelmingly passed a pair of bills that raised the smoking age from 18 to 21 throughout the state and broadened regulation of vaping, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco-related products. Governor Brown signed the legislation without comment and without delay.

Public health advocates have generally voiced approval for the move. Cynical lawyers also approve as droves of late teens stand to violate the new law post-haste.

Twitter v. USA Case Heats up in Oakland Court

A California federal district court took a little and gave a little in the Twitter versus government surveillance fight. The court agreed completely with a federal government argument that Twitter's complaint did not allege that information was not properly classified by the feds. However, the district judge did not concede to the government's change in venue request.

Twitter has about twenty days to amend its complaint to address concerns noted by the federal judge.

CA's Orange County Jailhouse Snitching Program Continues

Law enforcement continues to get battered in the court of public opinion. In general, law enforcement could really use a boost of good press.

Well, don't look to California. As if the state didn't have enough of its plate already, the now infamous Orange County jailhouse informant scandal threatens to shake law enforcement even more. So much for good press.