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

January 2018 Archives

In typical appellate court fashion, while attempting to make a cute quip in the decision reversing the dismissal of the class complaint, Candelore v. Tinder, alleging age discrimination against the dating app Tinder, the court swiped the wrong way. Nevertheless, it's still pretty funny that at the end of the introduction, the opinion actually states: "Accordingly, we swipe left, and reverse."

And while this cute language is notable on its own, the facts and issues in the case are also legally fascinating, particularly for California litigators familiar with one of the plaintiffs' bar's favorite causes of action in the state: Unruh.

Man Pleads Guilty to Making Islamic Center Death Threats on Social Media

Mark Lucian Feigin heaped anti-Muslim comments on an Islamic organization's Facebook page.

"The more Muslims we allow into America the more terror we will see," he posted. A few days later, he added: "Practicing Islam can slow or even reverse the process of human evolution."

When he was charged with a felony hate crime, he said he was just doing the same thing Donald Trump did during the election. The difference was, Feigin also made death threats.

Grumpy Cat Awarded $710K in Coffee Case

Don't believe the headlines that the Grumpy Cat won a lawsuit.

Sure, the "Grumpy Cat" is an internet sensation since her owner posted the pouty feline's pictures online years ago. And yes, her owner did win a $710,000 award against a father-and-son business that tried to capitalize on the cat's popularity.

But no, this is not like the selfie-monkey's copyright case. This licensing award goes to the cat's owner, Tabatha Bundesen, and Grumpy Cat Limited.

California lawyers, have you been California dreaming of learning to actually use technology in the courtroom? Have you been too timid to Tweet on behalf of your law firm? Do you get an eerie feeling whenever eDiscovery gets mentioned? If so, stop fearing tech, and take the time to learn about how it can actually help you in your practice.

If you can make it Los Angeles on February 10, then you can get schooled on some of the best practices for using technology in your legal practice. The Rutter Group, in coordination with the California Judges Association, will be presenting an all-star faculty for an all-day CLE covering a broad range of tech related issues: The New and Future Reality: How Technology is Affecting Litigation. (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

Suicide Attempt Opens Door for Police Search

For Willie Ovieda, the good news was that police kept him from committing suicide. The bad news was they arrested him for possessing an assault weapon.

In People v. Ovieda, his defense attorney tried to exclude the evidence but the trial judge allowed it. He then pleaded guilty on conditions of probation, 180 days in jail, and mental health treatment.

On appeal, Ovieda said the police found the evidence during an unreasonable search. California's Second District Court of Appeal said the search was lawful under the "community caretaker" exception.

Statewide Class of Janitors Certified in Wage Case

A California appeals court re-wrapped its pre-Christmas decision, allowing a class-action to proceed on behalf of janitorial workers for wage violations.

In the ABM Industries Overtime Cases, the First District Court of Appeals certified the class action on Dec. 11, 2017. But the court made a minor modification and published the decision on Jan. 10, 2018.

For some 35,000 janitors, it was all's well that ends well. But for the trial judge, maybe not so much.

Airbnb Defeats Landlord's Lawsuit in California

Airbnb is not liable for information that users post in breach of their leases, a federal judge said in Los Angeles.

U.S. Judge Dolly Gee said that the web-based service is protected by the Communications Decency Act, which shields internet service providers from liability for user content.

"Here, what allegedly makes the listings 'unlawful,' 'illegal,' or 'offending' is that they advertise rentals that violate Aimco's lease agreements," Gee said. "Airbnb hosts, not Airbnb, are responsible for providing the actual listing information."

Anonymous Tip and Snapchat Were Reasonable Suspicion for School Search

Who is more stupid -- the student who takes a gun to school, or the one who posts a video of it on social media?

In this case, that would be the same kid. Fortunately for him, police confiscated the weapon and he became a ward of the court and not a statistic in People v. K.J.

Meanwhile, his attorney argued that the police searched the boy without reasonable suspicion. So, who is more stupid...?

For California lawyers, defending individuals on criminal marijuana charges was already a rare event. However, over the past two decades, medical marijuana businesses kept some lawyers busy.

But now that marijuana is legal for recreational purposes in the state, more lawyers will undoubtedly be needed to help the new pot shops keep on the legal side of selling pot. Below, you can find a few resources to help you help your legal weed selling clients in California.

Supreme Court Vacancy Stirs Concerns

Gov. Jerry Brown has been called a "judicial trailblazer" because of his groundbreaking appointments, including the nation's first openly gay and lesbian judges.

And either Judge Jim Humes or Judge Therese Stewart, both of California's First District Court of Appeal, could become the first gay or lesbian justice on the California Supreme Court. There is a vacancy, and potential candidates are waiting.

But it has been almost 10 months since the opportunity presented itself, and the governor seems to be lost in the woods. At least, California is getting restless.