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

August 2016 Archives

Want to become rich while working in the California state government? Don't run for governor, don't become director of the department of health, don't put yourself in charge of the state's water resources control board. Get a job with the California State Bar Association.

That's right. The state bar's top executives get paid much more than similar employees elsewhere in state government -- including the 13 Cal Bar employees who make more than the governor.

A tall is a small, a grande is a medium, a venti is a large -- a trente is too much coffee and a short isn't worth the bother. These are Starbucks truths that we all know. But when you're ordering an iced two-pump no fat caramel latte, just how much ice is too much ice for your tall, grande, or venti? This we may never know, now that a federal judge has tossed a proposed class action accusing Starbucks of putting too much ice in their drinks.

Plaintiffs had accused the coffee company of robbing them of their promised amounts of java by over-icing, resulting in drinks that "contain significantly less product than advertised." But U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson killed their coffee class action dreams, tossing the suit and saying that not even a child would be deceived by Starbucks' ice usage.

Vergara Decision Stands: CA Teacher Tenure to Stay

The California Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Vergara v. California, one of the most significant teacher's tenure cases to date. This means that the state appeals court decision is undisturbed, preserving many employment rights for teachers.

CA Supreme Court Bans Dredges for Mining Gold

This is bad news for gold miners who invested in expensive equipment designed to suck up tons of earth. Today, the California Supreme Court ruled that despite federal rules allowing citizens to mine for gold on federally owned land, state rules that ban certain mining practices trump those federal rules.

The case is still developing, but we continue to examine possible justifications for the courts' ruling.

Will California's Concealed-Carry Gun Restrictions Go Before SCOTUS?

Few states top California when it comes to a general anti-gun stance -- with possible exceptions in New Jersey and New York.

Now, it appears that the state's "good cause" statute, whose legitimacy has been bouncing around in the courts for some time, is finally on its way to be scrutinized by the highest court in the land. Even after a request was made of 28 of the Ninth Circuit's judges, no majority granting a rehearing of last June's contentious case could be met.

Cal Supreme Court Says 'Yes' to Percentage Attorney Fees

The California Supreme Court said OK to percentage class-action compensation for attorneys, but it didn't go so far as to say that a pure percentage would be the end of the story. If we're reading the tone and tenor of the California Supreme Court's opinion correctly, percentage class-action suits involving a common fund will still have to be reigned in against reasonable lodestar guiding principles.

What does this mean for class action litigators? Contingency is not gone, but be prepared in the future to provide justification for your fees. The time of courts taking attorneys' accounting on faith may soon be coming to an end.

Marijuana Legalization Campaign Sues Sen. Feinstein for 'No on 64'

The California's Voter Guide is set to be printed on August 15th. But supporters of Prop 64, the marijuana legalization initiative, have filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to take the bite out of various anti-marijuana ads.

With only days left before the law to legalize marijuana is brought before the people of California, both sides are gnashing their teeth.

We all know you can't reveal confidential client information, even long after your attorney-client relationship has ended. But confidential info isn't the only client secret you must maintain. Sharing even public, embarrassing client information can be an ethics violation, according to a recent formal ethics opinion issued by the California Bar.

So think twice before sharing that blog post about a former client's messy divorce, or bragging about how you got a client off easy; you might be violating your duty of confidentiality.

Are Marijuana Businesses Legal in California?

Everyone can feel the changes taking place: marijuana, for better or worse, is gaining wider acceptance amongst the general public across the nation, despite its continued status as a controlled substance under the CSA. But where does this leave weed in the Golden State?

Or more importantly, where does this leave cannabis businesses in California? The law is shaky in this area. Maybe one of the best things lawyers can do is to become at least broadly familiar with the law and understand how we got here.

CA Revenge Porn Case Criminalizes Disclosure of Private Facts

There's a disturbing trend playing itself out in California courtrooms according to Eugene Volokh. The trend potentially criminalizes disclosure of private facts, even if the content disclosed isn't actually revenge porn.

Court applications of the Cal. Pen. Code sec. 530(a) should chill the public. Since when did the disclosure of some private facts of another become a full fledged crime?