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

November 2017 Archives

Lead Paint Case Still Pending Decades Later

California home builders stopped using lead paint a half century ago, but a state appeals court said they still have to clean up the mess.

Lead poisoning is a health problem for residents of old houses and apartments, and litigation over the issue has been plodding through the courts for nearly two decades. Four years ago, a trial judge ordered the paint manufacturers to pay $1.15 billion to abate the problem.

In People v. Conagra Grocery Products Company, the Sixth District Court of Appeals said the trial court must recalculate the cost of abatement. But the case is far from over.

'Keystone Cops' Mistakenly Arrest Their Own Trainee

The Keystone Cops were fictional, incompetent policemen. Some San Francisco police may not be fans, but they did a fair re-enactment.

While patrolling the Golden Gate Park, four police officers arrested one of their own. They thought Bret Cornell, an off-duty police trainee, was running away from them.

As it turned out, he was just jogging.

In reviving a shareholder action against McAfee, the California Court of Appeals, for the Sixth Appellate District, explained that the plaintiffs still did not have a right to a jury trial. Though the appellate court did revive the case, sending it back down to the court to try the matter as to a few of the several defendants, including McAfee, the matter will only be heard by a judge.

The case itself involves some rather juicy details and allegations of corporate misconduct, including board members acting out of self-interest, rather than on behalf of shareholders. However, the resolution of which state's law to apply and when, particularly as it applied to the right to a jury trial certainly will make the case worth noting.

Yelp Ordered to Turn Over Documents That May Reveal Anonymous User's Identity

'Anonymous' doesn't mean what it used to mean in the media.

Back in the day, a news reporter might go to the grave with a source's true identity. Today, with everybody publishing something online, it's not so easy to hide.

Yelp, the online review site, tried to keep one reviewer's identity a secret. But a California appeals court said the company must disclose documents that may reveal the person's identity in Montagna v. Yelp, Inc.

Watchtower Tagged With $4K per Day Discovery Sanction

For most, a $4,000 discovery sanction is a stiff penalty.

As a daily sanction, however, it could get out of hand quickly. Tallied over a year, that's about $1.46 million for non-compliance with a court order.

For the Watchtower and Jehovah's Witnesses, a $4,000-a-day sanction might feel like religious persecution. But to a California appeals court, it was just about right for the defendant in a child molestation case.

Across the state of California, local and state lawmakers have quite a few hurdles left to jump before the January 1, 2018 deadline imposed by Proposition 64. Basically, the law required the state to set up the framework to issue licenses by that time, and as we get closer, more and more problems are creeping up. Surprisingly, none are due to inactivity or laziness.

Come January 1, the state will be required to start issuing licenses to businesses that wish to sell marijuana for recreational purposes. But because of the regulatory problems, it is likely that the first wave of licenses issued will be temporary licenses.

Tezos Organizers Sued for Blockchain Project

Tezos raised $232 million in an 'initial coin offering' just months ago, but already investors are suing for fraud.

The plaintiffs say they have not received promised tokens amidst reports of infighting among organizers of the blockchain project. But if the class action succeeds, will the defendants pay up in cryptocurrency?

It's not a real question -- just like virtual currency is not real money. It begs some questions, however, like: Why did people give up so much real money to get digital coins?

Splitting the Babies: Who Are Daddies of Diverse Twins?

King Solomon is rolling over in his grave right now.

A woman gave birth to twins from different races. Read that sentence again, then imagine King Solomon with his head between his hands.

It was a migraine-inducing puzzle: one of the babies was African-American and the other was Chinese. But this is not Ripley's Believe It Or Not; this is FindLaw.

Like you, the law is always changing. Sure, some things may stay the same. But every year, without fail, rules are tweaked, new precedent is set, and what you thought you knew no longer applies. Luckily for California lawyers, The Rutter Group has a spate of seminars coming up to help get you up to speed with the recent developments.

The Rutter Group's 2018 Update Programs: Family Law, Civil Procedure, Personal Injury and Insurance Litigation will provide instruction on what has changed in these areas of law over the past year, and what changes are right around the corner. Each subject is a separate seminar providing specific instruction for California practitioners, along with 3 MCLE credits each (including 0.5 credits toward the ethics requirement). (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

Oldies Copyright Case On Tap in State Supreme Court

Before 1972, they were so 'Happy Together.'

We're talking about copyright holders Flo and Eddie of The Turtles fame. Their biggest hit came in 1967, but they aren't so happy about it these days.

That's because courts have been ruling that pre-1972 recordings are not protected by copyright laws. New York and Florida have turned them down, and California could be next.

When it comes time to make sure you've got all your MCLE credits, realizing you forgot to satisfy your Elimination of Bias requirement can be frustrating. This one can be especially frustrating because the courses offered online can often be horribly outdated, not to mention overpriced, and pretty much worthless.

Fortunately, The Rutter Group has a worthwhile, in person, 1 hour course that actually focuses on current issues surrounding the elimination of bias in the legal profession. The program, Bias in the 21st Century: Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society, will teach you about the current issues surrounding "majority privilege," "white privilege," and "male privilege." (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)