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


The city of Los Alamitos, located in Orange County, is facing a lawsuit over a recently enacted ordinance permitting the city residents and officials to disregard the state of California's recently passed sanctuary state law.

In short, in response to the California Values Act, also known as SB54, or the sanctuary state law, the city of Los Alamitos passed a law exempting itself from the law. But, in response to the Los Alamitos law, concerned residents, through the ACLU and other groups, filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the city's law from taking effect.

Stan Lee Sues Ex-Business Manager for Blood?

Stan Lee, the 95-year-old creator of superheroes and a comic book empire, has entered the legal world "mad as hell."

In a Los Angeles lawsuit filed as Lee v. Olivarez, the Hollywood icon alleges that his former business manager defrauded him, converted his money, and misappropriated his name and likeness. Jerardo Olivarez is one of many many "unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists" who sought to take advantage of Lee following the death of his wife last year, the complaint says.

It is a sad tale for a man who has entertained and inspired generations, especially because Lee appears to deny the allegations in a video that was released prior to the lawsuit. Like some Stan Lee stories, it definitely has a dark side.

News Media Sue California to Access All Portions of Executions

In a new lawsuit, journalists say they want to see everything that goes on during executions in California.

The procedure for lethal injections at San Quentin State Prison "intentionally places critical portions of the execution beyond public observation," the complaint says. The media are suing to see the whole process.

Also, new regulations say media witnesses must be removed if something goes wrong with an execution. That, in the world of controversial news, is what the media is waiting for.

While there are plenty of suspected origins for the old rhyme "good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite," one California Landlord is learning one of the lesser known reasons why bed bugs should be avoided: Million dollar jury awards.

After several months of living through a bed bug infestation that left a young boy permanently scarred, a family was recently awarded just under $1.6 million by a jury. The landlord and management company were found liable as a result of the infestation causing the young boy's scarring, and the family extreme distress.

With all that we know now about the dangers of concussions, when cases involving youth athletes suffering permanent injury make headlines, all the money in world likely isn't enough to compensate the youths for that sort of loss.

For one Southern California former high school football player and his family, a recent $7 million settlement related to his permanent, concussion-injury, may help ease some of the financial burden.

Yelp Defamation Case Heard by California Supreme Court

Attorney Dawn Hassell made it to the California Supreme Court the hard way.

After getting a bad Yelp review, Hassell sued her former client for it and obtained a default judgment. It included a $550,000 award that the attorney could frame and hang on a wall.

But it got complicated when she tried to force Yelp to remove the post. That led to a Supreme Court showdown over Hassell v. Yelp, Inc.

When a person is arrested for a serious crime in California, the law now definitely allows for officers to not only fingerprint and photograph the arrestee as part of the booking process, it also allows for a DNA cheek swab to be taken as well.

Even though there are clearly privacy concerns with taking a DNA sample from an arrestee, in 2004, the California electorate approved a proposition that required felony arrestees, and convicts, to provide law enforcement a DNA sample. Refusal to comply is a misdemeanor.

When it comes to winning at trial, attorneys should never underestimate the power of a strong opening statement and an even stronger closing argument. The right opening can set the tone for the entire trial and a solid closing can tie your whole case together in neat little knot. Bad openings and closing can sink your case from the get-go.

From setting up the jury's expectations to explaining what in the world just happened over the past several days, these are two of the most critical components of any trial. Notably, these are also two of the three times an attorney is actually supposed to address a jury directly (the third being voir dire), so you better make 'em good.

Fortunately, The Rutter Group has an upcoming CLE seminar to help both new and experienced practitioners alike, aptly titled: Good Morning/Thank You Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury: A Guide to Effective Opening Statements and Closing Arguments. (Disclaimer: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

California Coffee Retailers Must Include Cancer Warning

If your coffee didn't perk you up in the morning already, a new warning label may do it:

"This product contains ingredients known to the State of California to cause cancer." That's what a Los Angeles judge wants Starbucks to put on its coffee cups, or something like that.

In any case, the decision in Council for Education and Research on Toxics v. Starbucks Corporation definitely opened the eyes of coffee retailers.

A recent employment discrimination lawsuit filed against Cal Fire alleges that a gay male firefighter was told to stop flaunting his sexuality, was shunned, and even told his "kind" were not welcome.

While these allegations may seem rather wild, the case is also filed against Division Chief John Paul Melendrez, who has a reputation for being "psychotic," "tyrannical," and "yelling for effect." Melendrez was also the subject of an official investigation while leading the Owens Valley camp, where an investigator found that "The environment is so bad at Owens Valley camp it is beginning to affect people physically." Nevertheless, Melendrez didn't seem to suffer any real consequences as a result.