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


If you're licensed to practice in the state of California, you've probably received the email notice that you need to get fingerprinted again. And if you take a look at the State Bar's announcement, you'll probably just be frustrated as the apologetic note basically explains that the bar made a mistake.

What worse than the frustration of knowing the bar goofed and now you have to waste your time is that it expects its members to bear the cost of its mistake (See California Rule of Court 9.9.5(h)(1)). The deadline to comply is April 30, 2019.

While it is often difficult to blame a convicted anything for filing any appeal, the California Sixth Appellate District Court didn't waste the opportunity to tell Brock Turner that he has no one to blame but himself. The court also pointed out in the order that he only got six months in county.

On appeal, Turner was arguing that the evidence was insufficient to show he had intent to rape because he only wanted to have 'outercourse' or 'dry-hump' his victim. The court dismissed this argument by carefully explaining that it didn't matter that his evidence at trial didn't point to intent to rape because a jury had enough of a record to not believe his evidence.

There's no doubt about it, the public employment retirement system throughout the state of California is not doing well.

To remedy the retirement problem, the City of San Diego's voters passed a measure in 2012 to make new public employees get a 401(k) instead of a pension. However, the city's union reps were not consulted by the mayor who pushed the initiative onto the ballot, and that failure to meet and confer with the union has been the center of much litigation, both before and after the measure passed. Now, the Supreme Court of California has even chimed in.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit, known as BART, has come under intense scrutiny over the last decade due to increasing crime as well as the failures of the transit system's own police force.

Most recently, in late July, 18-year old Nia Wilson was stabbed to death, while standing on a BART platform with her sister, just waiting for a train. Though the assailant was caught the next day thanks to security camera footage, and is being prosecuted, the family is planning a lawsuit against BART due to Nia's murder.

California Joins 3D-Printed Gun Battle

California has joined the legal battle against 3D-printed guns, demanding the federal government stop publication of blueprints for the plastics guns on the internet.

In a case filed by eight other states, a judge in Washington has ordered the U.S. State Department to block the release. California will enter the fray with a temporary restraining order already in place.

Win or lose in the next legal round, California is proving it is possible to be fashionably late to a gun fight. Or not.

Cal Bar Looks At Non-Lawyer Ownership of Legal Services

"Follow the money" is a catchphrase in journalism and elsewhere, and it can apply to non-lawyers owning legal services.

In California, the State Bar commissioned a study into the subject. It wanted to know whether to change ethics rules that forbid non-lawyers from owning legal service companies.

The report suggests it's about time to open the doors because, among other reasons, fewer people are hiring lawyers.

Employers Must Pay Workers for 'Off-the-Clock' Minutes

Answering a question in a federal case, the California Supreme Court said employers must pay hourly workers for time spent "off-the-clock" doing company work.

In Troester v. Starbucks Corporation, a manager sued for time spent closing his store, locking up and making sure employees found rides home. It took him about 10 minutes a day after clocking out.

The California Supreme Court said that is enough to be paid, setting the stage for a major shift in wages for California. Now the case goes back to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had asked for the state court's opinion.

Minority Students' Literacy Lawsuit Moves Forward in California

A Los Angeles judge cleared the way for a lawsuit against California for failing to improve literacy in poor public schools.

Parents of students from Los Angeles, Inglewood and Stockton areas say their schools have some of the worst test scores in the country. They allege the state has not given them the same opportunities as students from other schools.

In Ella T. and Katie T. v State of California, a judge said the plaintiffs alleged sufficiently that the education system treats them differently because of their race and low-income status. By the time it's over, however, some kids may well have dropped out.

The federal Eastern District court in California recently sent a letter to Congress, as well as the members of its bar, explaining that the court will soon be in crisis as the judges in the district are already overworked compared to their peers in other district courts, and there are a couple judges with retirements planned.

Notably, when the retirements happen next year, each judge in the district is expected to take on an additional 500 cases. And that's on top of the 900 or so cases they already have, which is roughly double the national average.

Court Rules Breakfast Cereals Don't Need Cancer Warning

Luckily for Californians, breakfast has been saved.

After a California judge said coffee products must include a cancer warning because of a chemical in roasted coffee beans, the legislature jumped in to save the bean. Then another judge ruled against cereal-makers because of the same carcinogen.

But a state appeals court threw out the ruling in Post v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County. And no, the carcinogen is not caffeine or sugar.