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

November 2015 Archives

Is spanking a child, even with a shoe, child abuse? Not always, according to the California Court of Appeals, which recently reversed a juvenile court's finding that a mother's sandal-aided spanking was physical abuse. The categorical view that "hitting children with shoes" is forbidden physical abuse and "not a proper form of discipline" isn't supported by the law, the court found.

But don't get out the belt just yet, disciplinarians. The court's ruling is hardly an invitation to spank your children with impunity. Here's why.

Appeals Court Reverses $1M Award to Ex-Firefighter in FEHA Case

A California Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's award of $1 million in damages to Los Angeles ex-firefighter Jubari Jumanne who sued the City of Angels under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In reversing the lower court's ruling, the court ruled that Jumanne's claims were brought outside a critical one year statute-of-limitations and that the "continuing violation" doctrine did not apply.

Jumanne's case is reminiscent of situations in which real estate attorneys will (unethically) counsel their clients to disclaim any actual notice of hostile invasion of property.

Mimi Lee's Frozen Embryos Must Be 'Thawed and Discarded,' CA Court Rules

In a decision that is sure to have family law commentators murmuring for years, a California Superior Court Judge has ruled that a woman must abide by an agreement she made with her ex-husband years before: her frozen embryos must be "thawed and discarded."

Judge Anne-Christine Massullo was clearly not pleased with her own decision, but nonetheless applied California law objectively. "It's a disturbing consequence of modern biological technology that the fate of a nascent human life ... must be determined in a court by reference to cold legal principles," she lamented.

Donald Sterling's Appeal of LA Clippers $2 Billion Sale Is Rejected

California's 2nd District Court of Appeal not only rejected Donald Sterling's $2 billion sale of the Clippers to Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, the Court all but reprimanded him for the appeal's "numerous deficiencies."

Megan's Law Registrants Sue California

A pair of registered sex offenders have sued the state of California, claiming that the state's online offender database puts them at danger. They currently seek an injunction compelling the state to update the state's online sex offender registry information.

To buttress the claim, the plaintiff's complaint also cites four other homicides of registered sex offenders at the hands of vigilantes -- homicides the plaintiffs have called "reprisal killings."

District Court Dismisses Apple Employee 'Bag Search' Suit

The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California just dismissed the 2013 class action lawsuit brought by a group of employees who claimed the tech giant owed them money for time spent waiting to have their bags searched for stolen contraband.

The court held that Apple actually "took a milder" approach to the problem of employee shrinkage by allowing employees to bring bags and personal devices (PD) to work rather than banning them outright. As a result, the employees will not be compensated for the bag search time.

However, the ruling's language leaves open gaping holes that lawyers love to see. Will an appeal be coming soon?

The third time was a charm for PayPal's most recent class action settlement over the company's account closure procedures. After having twice rejected settlements in the class action litigation, Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong was finally satisfied, approving a $4 million deal last Thursday.

The settlement ends long-running litigation over PayPal's practice of putting accounts on hold or reserve without notice, hanging on to users' money but not compensating them for any interest earned during those periods. Under the settlement, PayPal will turn over just under $2 million to affected users and improve disclosures for its reserve, hold, and dispute resolution process.

Scottish Trader Missing After Causing Stock Price Crash

A Scottish trader has just been charged with securities fraud in the United States in a California federal court. According to the DOJ, James Craig, a trader from Dungarit, Scotland, set up phony social media accounts that mimicked famous market research firms and starting spreading false rumors of two companies.

In another interesting twist in this story, Mr. Craig cannot be found and it's not known if he's retained the services of a lawyer.

It's a tough time for high fructose corn syrup. Once found in pretty much everything sweet, King Corn has fallen from his pedestal a bit since corn syrup was connected to everything from obesity to heart disease to honeybee die offs. It's gotten so bad that HFCS now wants to be known as "corn sugar." After all, sugar is sugar right?

Not according to the actual sugar industry. They've taken "Big Corn" to court, suing corn syrup giants for $2 billion in false advertising based on their claims that corn syrup was just as good as cane sugar.

Happy Election Day, California! Sure, there are no federal or state-wide elections, but today at least a few California voters will go to the ballot to decide 61 local measures, from drastically limiting Airbnb in San Francisco to funding Las Virgenes Unified School District in Los Angeles and Ventura. Speaking of schools, 102 school board seats across 38 districts are up for a vote today.

But forget what's on the ballot. What's most interesting about this election is the changes to state voting laws that will soon come after it and whether those changes will get anyone to the ballot.