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

December 2011 Archives

Will Condoms in Porn Initiative Interfere with OSHA Compliance?

Employment law and OSHA compliance become infinitely more interesting when applied to California's pornography industry.

This week, a Los Angeles city clerk certified more than 70,000 signatures for a ballot initiative to require condoms in porn. Barring legal action, Los Angeles voters would consider the initiative along with the presidential primary in June.

(Sidebar: Much like OSHA compliance issues, porn regulation also makes presidential primaries more interesting.)

Multiple Sentence Enhancements Can Fit a Single Crime

The California Supreme Court ruled last week that a court can impose multiple sentence enhancements to a single crime when the statute governing that crime allows for each of the enhancements.

While California law provides that an act or omission that is punishable in different ways by different provisions of the law cannot be punished under more than one provision, the Supreme Court ruled that a court can apply multiple sentence enhancements under California Penal Code §1170.1 to a single crime.

CA Lawyers: Don't Stuff Stockings with Gerbils for the Holidays

Every lawyer we know waits until the last minute to purchase gifts, whether for holidays, anniversaries, or birthdays. We like to think that it’s due to limited free time and hourly billables.

Regardless of the reason, if you still have holiday shopping to complete for your kids, we have a helpful suggestion for those of you with children who want pets for Christmas: Gerbils are illegal pets in California.

California is a state of transients, so those of us who were not born and raised here may be surprised by this news.

Harassment History Matters in Restraining Order Requests

California’s Second Appellate District notes that “conventional wisdom tells us that time heals all wounds.”

But if time can’t heal the pain and awkwardness of a break-up fast enough, the courts may be able to help. When breakups — whether personal or professional — give way to stalking and harassment, the courts can step in with a restraining order.

This week, the Second Appellate District upheld a restraining order request over a defendant’s objections that the order restricted her free speech rights.

Bachelor Lawsuit: Producers Sue to Stop Reality Steve Spoilers

The Bachelor/Bachelorette series is a money-making machine for ABC. It's also been lucrative for the Reality Steve spoilers website, which publishes the outcome of each Bachelor/Bachelorette season based on insider intelligence long before the final rose is bestowed upon the lucky winner.

If you enjoy The Bachelor, Reality Steve spoilers, and litigation, you'll love The Bachelor lawsuit. NZK Productions and Alternative Television Inc, the production companies behind the hit series, are suing Stephen Carbone, aka Reality Steve, for tortious interference, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Will Northern California Judge Kill New Lethal Injection Procedure?

Marin County Superior Court Judge Faye D’Opal might give the death penalty the axe.

Judge D’Opal issued a tentative opinion on Thursday, finding that the state prison officials did not follow proper procedure when developing the California’s new lethal injection protocol, reports the American Bar Association.

D’Opal is holding a hearing today to let prison officials make their case for why the new lethal injection procedure should remain in place.

Judges to Santa Clara County Clerk's Office: Do Your Job

If you've ever filed your own petition or motion, you know the cardinal rule of courthouse decorum: Don't irk the clerk.

The court clerk's office is a fountain of information, and particularly helpful to neophyte attorneys who are learning to navigate the logistics of lawyering, but clerks are still human. They make mistakes. And Sixth Appellate District Court judges will scold clerks, just as they do attorneys, when those mistakes interfere with a case.

Total Cell Phone Driving Ban: Good or Bad News for Lawyers?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) thinks states should prohibit drivers from operating all electronic devices - save navigation systems - while driving.

"Too many people are texting, talking and driving at the same time," NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said at a hearing. "It's time to put a stop to distraction. No call, no text, no update is worth a human life," reports Bloomberg.

While the NTSB can recommend a cell phone driving ban to combat distracted driving accidents, such recommendations are not binding. It is up to the individual states to enact traffic laws.

Vexatious Litigation Smacks of Grievously Unethical Conduct

We usually write our own headlines. Some are straightforward. Some are funny. (At least we hope they’re funny). Every once in a while, however, a court will hand us such a gem that we decide to use a direct quote in a headline.

That’s what happened today. (Thanks, Second Appellate District!)

So how far must an attorney go to be deemed a “vexatious litigant” engaged in “grievously unethical conduct?” We’ll give you a hint: The answer involves puppet counsel.

Will Website Run Hot N Cold in Katy Perry Pic Copyright Lawsuit?

Mavrix Photo, the Florida-based paparazzi machine that never shies away from a lawsuit, is once again suing in a California federal court over misappropriated celebrity snaps. Last week, Mavrix launched a $3 million copyright infringement lawsuit against another celebrity gossip website.

Mavrix claims that "reproduced, publicly distributed and publicly displayed copyright-protected [Katy Perry] photographs belonging to Mavrix on numerous occasions" in or around August 2011.

According to the complaint, (brief thanks to Courthouse News Service), celebrity gossip and photos are among "the most valued Internet commodities" to generate web traffic, and drives significant advertising revenue through such images.

Judge Not, and You Will Be Judged: Judges Must Read Motions

Last week, we told you about a default judgment appeal in which California’s Fourth Appellate District ruled that a plaintiff isn’t guaranteed a win simply because he filed an unopposed motion for default judgment.

In the opinion, the court spent a bit of time explaining that, even when faced with silent opposition, the plaintiff must offer facts to support the specific judgment he is seeking.

But the plaintiff wasn’t the only one who received a lesson in civil procedure; the Fourth Appellate District had words of wisdom for the trial court as well.

Copying Boilerplate Language Leads to Attorney Sanctions

California’s Fourth Appellate District Court said bah-humbug to a plaintiff’s motion for default judgment on Wednesday, finding that the plaintiff’s allegations had not sufficiently supported the judgment he sought.

The Fourth Appellate District overturned a trial court’s default judgment in favor of Plaintiff-Respondent Gil Kim, finding that - despite the defendants’ failure to respond - Kim had not sufficiently pleaded factual allegations to support judgment in his favor.

After disposing of its business with Kim, the court slapped his attorney, Timothy Donahue, with $10,000 in attorney sanctions.