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

December 2012 Archives

Score one for organized labor.

On Thursday, the California Supreme Court upheld state labor laws granting union members the right to picket in front of privately owned businesses. The ruling reverses a 2010 decision by Sacramento's 3rd District Court of Appeal that found the laws unconstitutional.

3 Judges Confirmed for California Appellate Courts

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wears many hats. In addition to her role as the state’s top jurist, she serves as Chair of the Judicial Council and Chair of the Commission on Judicial Appointments.

In the latter role, she announced this week that the Commission has confirmed three of Gov. Jerry Brown’s appointments to the California Court of Appeal.

So who are the newly-elevated judges? Judge Adrienne M. Grover, Judge Rosendo Peña, Jr., and James M. Humes.

Forever 21 Arbitration Agreement Not 'Unconscionable'

A contract of adhesion isn’t necessarily unconscionable.

Maribel Baltazar is a “married woman of Mexican ancestry.” She began working for Forever 21 as an associate in the company’s downtown Los Angeles distribution center in November 2007.

Plaintiff Must Pay Defendant's Fees for Failed ADA Claim

Song Koo Lee owns and operates the K&D Market in San Francisco's Mission District. He does not own the building, but has operated the market since 1985.

Les Jankey, a wheelchair user, sued Lee for denying him and other similarly-situated disabled persons access to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods and services offered by K&D Market. Jankey claimed that a four-inch step located at the entry of the market was an architectural barrier that prevented him and other wheelchair-bound individuals from wheeling into the store, asserting violations of the federal ADA, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, the Disabled Persons Act, and the Health and Safety Code.

Judge Derek Johnson Admonished for 2008 Rape Comments

Dumb comments about rape have been hot news this year.

Two of the biggest news stories leading up to the November elections involved U.S. Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock making ill-informed, ill-advised statements about rape. Both men lost their elections, NBCNews reports.

Thursday, another dumb rape comment began making the rounds on the Internet. This one was from Orange County Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson. But he actually made the statement four years ago.

ProtectMarriage and Prop 8 Standing, Round II

A little over a year ago, the California Supreme Court made a decision that could affect one of the biggest cases of this generation: Hollingsworth v. Perry.

It wasn't the court's first time to consider California Proposition 8. In 2009, the court upheld the Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriages, but ruled that couples who married before voters approved the initiative would remain married. In 2011, however, the court was considering a different issue: Whether Prop 8 proponents had standing to defend the law in federal court.

At the time, the case -- then captioned Perry v. Brown -- was before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

'Substantial Compliance' Isn't Enough

California Government Code Section 915(a) establishes the manner of delivery of a claim against the government. It requires that a claim be presented to a local public entity by "delivering it to the clerk, secretary or auditor," or by mailing it to one of these officials "or to the governing body."

Section 915(e) further provides that a misdirected claim "shall be deemed to have been presented in compliance" if "it is actually received by the clerk, secretary, auditor or board of the local public entity."

Substantial compliance with Section 915 is not enough. Last week, the California Supreme Court held that a claim must satisfy the express delivery provisions language of the statute.

Lying to Get Extra Time on the Bar is a Bad Idea

Bar exam applicants who have disabilities can request special accommodations during the exam. Depending on the nature of the disability, "accommodations may include such things as assistants (i.e., readers or personal healthcare assistants), wheelchair access, permission to dictate to a typist or tape recorder, customized timing, separate testing room, customized examination materials (i.e., Braille, large print, etc.), extended testing days and permission to bring and use specific items or medical aids.

It's not a perfect system. You could fake a disability for the extra time on the test. You may even get away with it.

But if you get caught, you'll lose your license.

Judge Approves Facebook's Sponsored Stories Settlement

When a Facebook user 'likes' a product or company, or posts something related to a product or company, Facebook sometimes presents those likes or posts to other users in that person's network as a paid promotion for the product or company. Facebook had a cyber snafu last year after California users complained that their images were being used to promote products without their permission through 'Sponsored Stories' posts.

The users sued, arguing that California's right of publicity laws prohibit the social network from using a person's image to promote a product without the person's consent.

Court Can't Award Full Attorneys Fees for Rules Violation

Sino Century Development Limited and Sinomax Polyurethanes (collectively, Sinomax) sued Anatomic Global and David Farley to collect almost $3 million in unpaid invoices. In January 2011, before Farley was dismissed as a defendant in this action, he filed for bankruptcy, which triggered a stay of judicial proceedings against him.

Farley, however, failed to notify Sinomax or the trial court that he had filed for bankruptcy protection as required under California Rule 3.650. On June 28, 2011, the day before trial, Farley’s counsel, Menke & Menke, informed Sinomax that Farley had filed for bankruptcy. Menke proposed that the parties avoid a costly trial because Anatomic Global had no assets.