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

April 2012 Archives

Court Upholds Elder Abuse End Run Around Arbitration Agreement

A state appellate court released a decision Monday allowing a plaintiff to proceed with a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim that is tied to an arbitrable elder abuse claim.

If the California Supreme Court doesn't reverse this decision, the case could provide inspiration to other litigants who do not want to be limited to arbitration in their claims against nursing homes.

California Law Day 2012 is May 1

Some people land in law school upon realizing that a liberal arts degree offers few job opportunities and even less job security. Others know early in life that they want to be lawyers. (One of our friends swears that he showed up for his first day of kindergarten with his copy of Black’s Law Dictionary.)

Wherever you fall within the legal career realization spectrum, Law Day is a chance for you to share your knowledge about the law with people in your community who may not fully understand how the legal process works. Which would be most of them.

Could You Be in Contempt of Court for Being Popular?

Lawyers are good with words, so it's easy for us to find ways of blaming other people for our mistakes. A lawyer, for example, never "drinks too much," he is merely "over-served."

Northern California attorney Tim Pori, however, was not as successful with blame-shifting in front of Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta during a recent court appearance. (For what it's worth, he actually accepted responsibility.) Judge Panetta, clearly irked that Pori could not begin a murder trial last week due to a scheduling overlap, found Pori in contempt of court, sentenced him to five days in jail, and ordered him to pay a $2,500 fine.

Apply Yourself: Court to Select State Bar Board of Trustees Member

The California Supreme Court is taking applications for the court’s first appointment to the State Bar Board of Trustees.

If you’re a current or aspiring California lawyer, you’ll need to remember that name: The State Bar Board of Trustees is the newly spruced-up incarnation of the State Bar’s Board of Governors. These are the people that give you the good — or not-so-good — news about attorney licensing and discipline.

So why the changes? And what, exactly, are the changes?

Cal. Supreme Court to Hear Police Identity Disclosure Case

The California Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the names of police officers involved in shootings in the line of duty are exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), reports Metropolitan News-Enterprise.

A California appellate court ruled in February that the officers’ names were not exempt from the CPRA. The California Supreme Court judges unanimously agreed to hear the police identity disclosure case this week.

comScore! You Like Us. You Really Like Us.

Most of the time, we use this space to update you on case law, court news, or legal trends. Today, we're sharing some good news from our office. (Don't worry, it's relevant to your law practice.)

A new comScore study has ranked once again as the top consumer legal website. To put that in lawyer-validation terms, it's like having the best win-loss record at your firm, or getting props for your pantsuit from Hillary Clinton.

What's the Difference Between a Natural Father and a Sperm Donor?

A California appellate court has clarified that a sperm donor who is not married to a designated recipient mother does not have to pay child support.

The unpublished opinion won press coverage earlier this month because the alleged “father” in the child support lawsuit is national bodybuilding champion Ronnie Coleman, and the child support in question totaled $4,000 per month.

Cal Supreme Court Says Employees Can Work Through Lunch Break

The California Supreme Court ruled today that employers must make meal breaks available, but they don’t have to force wage workers to take a break for a meal.

The decision resolves the nine-year-old Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court of San Diego lawsuit. The plaintiffs in the case argued that Brinker, which owns restaurants like Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy, failed to provide employees the breaks, or premium wages in lieu of breaks, that they were guaranteed by law.

UC Davis Pepper Spray Incident Was Wrong, Preventable

Officials have released a task force report on November’s UC Davis pepper spray incident, and it looks like bad news for the capsaicin cop.

The task force determined that police should not have pepper-sprayed students participating in the Occupy Davis protest, reports KABC. It's up to the courts, however, to determine if they used excessive force.

Gov. Brown Commutes Grandmother's Sentence in Shaken Baby Case

Good Friday lived up to its name for Shirley Ree Smith.

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown commuted Smith's 15-years-to-life sentence to time served, based on the "unusual circumstances" in Smith's case, reports The Associated Press.

Cal. Supreme Court to Hear Residency Requirement Case?

Hillary Clinton raised a few eyebrows when she hopped from the White House to her newly-purchased Chappaqua house in 2000. People don't mind a change of address, but they care when political-hopefuls move to a state without a multi-year residency requirement to run for office.

But what happens in states, like California, that have residency requirements that they don't enforce?

SF Judge Dismisses McDonald's Lawsuit to Ban Happy Meals

McDonald's has won another battle in health-conscious San Francisco. A San Francisco Superior Court judge dismissed a McDonald's lawsuit over Happy Meal toys on Wednesday.

Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit claimed that McDonald's uses Happy Meal toys to attract children to the restaurants, and sued to stop the fast-food giant from handing out toys, reports Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

Judge Modifies Mirkarimi Stay Away Order, Removal Battle Rages On

Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong ruled Tuesday that embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi can go back to his home for now. The Sheriff is still waiting for a court ruling on his job.

Mirkarimi has been embroiled in legal battles stemming from a domestic violence incident that occurred on New Year’s Eve last year.