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Yelp Ordered to Turn Over Documents That May Reveal Anonymous User's Identity

'Anonymous' doesn't mean what it used to mean in the media.

Back in the day, a news reporter might go to the grave with a source's true identity. Today, with everybody publishing something online, it's not so easy to hide.

Yelp, the online review site, tried to keep one reviewer's identity a secret. But a California appeals court said the company must disclose documents that may reveal the person's identity in Montagna v. Yelp, Inc.

Splitting the Babies: Who Are Daddies of Diverse Twins?

King Solomon is rolling over in his grave right now.

A woman gave birth to twins from different races. Read that sentence again, then imagine King Solomon with his head between his hands.

It was a migraine-inducing puzzle: one of the babies was African-American and the other was Chinese. But this is not Ripley's Believe It Or Not; this is FindLaw.

Oldies Copyright Case On Tap in State Supreme Court

Before 1972, they were so 'Happy Together.'

We're talking about copyright holders Flo and Eddie of The Turtles fame. Their biggest hit came in 1967, but they aren't so happy about it these days.

That's because courts have been ruling that pre-1972 recordings are not protected by copyright laws. New York and Florida have turned them down, and California could be next.

Earthjustice Wins Fight to Block Bee-Killing Pesticides in California

Bees face a no-win situation when attacked: if they sting back, they die.

Fortunately for California's bee population, EarthJustice lawyers fought for them and won a life-saving battle. A state appeals court has reversed a decision that would have unleashed deadly pesticides on the honeybee.

"This is a win for public health, the environment -- and in particular honeybees," said Paul Towers of the Pesticide Action Networks, plaintiffs in the case.

Service Animals Must Be Trained, California Court Rules

Joey Miller and his dog Roxy got kicked out of court, but it started at a fish market.

Joey, a man who had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old, walked into two seafood stores with his dog. The market employees stopped them for health and safety reasons.

Joey's stepfather was not about to have it, however, and they sued for disability discrimination. The courts turned them down again, but that's the short story.

CA Courts Face Interpreter Shortage

An interpreter told the defendant that he was accused of a 'violacion,' which did not exactly mean 'violation' in Spanish.

"No he viole a nadie!" the distressed defendant exclaimed.

It was a disconcerting moment for the man, who was actually charged with a traffic violation. It also troubled the judge, who learned that "violacion" meant "rape."

Unfortunately, court interpreters are not always competent. What's worse, there are not enough interpreters -- especially in California where people speak more than 220 different languages.

Court Ends Marijuana Tax Dispute: Local Voters Can Tax Themselves

Ulysses, fearing he would heed the tempting Siren's song, ordered his men to lash him to the mast of his boat.

Upland, fearing a prohibited tax aimed at marijuana businesses, kept it off the special election ballot. That's a slight twist on the California Supreme Court's mythical reference in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland.

"As Ulysses once tied himself to the mast so he could resist the Sirens' tempting song (Homer, The Odyssey, Book XII), voters too can conceivably make the clear and important choice to bind themselves by making it more difficult to enact initiatives in the future," the court said.

It was a tax powers case and more complicated than a Greek myth. But the story ends something like this: voters have the power to tax themselves.

L.A. to Join Sanctuary City Lawsuit

Los Angeles has filed in federal court to join a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for threatening to withhold law enforcement funds from sanctuary cities.

If approved, L.A. will become the third major city to sue the government over the sanctuary city controversy. San Francisco and Chicago sued after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the DOJ would cut off grants to cities that do not cooperate with the Trump Administration's campaign against illegal immigrants.

"This administration will not simply give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety," Sessions said. "So it's this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars."

Environmental Review for CA Bullet Train Reinforced by State High Court

Federal railway laws do not categorically preempt the California Environmental Quality Act, the state Supreme Court said, slowing down a Northern California train pending an environmental review.

The Court said CEQA applies to the state North Coast Railroad Authority -- just like any other state agency -- on its projects. The Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, a federal law that regulates public rails, does not displace state laws in carrying out those projects.

"This decision clears the way for the courts below to begin considering the merits of plaintiffs' CEQA claims, which the courts had previously found to be preempted by the ICCTA as a categorical matter," Justice Leondra Kruger wrote in a concurring opinion in Friends of Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority.

SpaceX Survives 'Contractor' Suit

A California appeals court said a construction company has no "contractor" claims against SpaceX because the company was not licensed.

Phoenix Pipeline Mechanical performed services for the private aerospace business, but it was not licensed for construction work. The Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said the company can only sue for non-contractor work.

"Phoenix Pipeline has not alleged one contract, but rather a series of agreements for each separate task that it was asked to perform," the court said in Phoenix Pipeline Mechanical, Inc. v. Space Exploration Technologies, Corp. "It may therefore seek compensation under those alleged agreements that apply to tasks for which no license was required."