Club Members for an Honest Election v. Sierra Club, No. S143087. Can the exception to the anti-SLAPP statute (Code Civ. Proc., § 425.16) for actions "brought solely in the public interest or on behalf of the general public" (Code Civ. Proc., § 425.17, subd. (b)) apply to a complaint that includes any claim for personal relief?
Simpson Strong-Tie Co. v. Gore, S164174. (1) Which party bears the burden of persuasion with respect to the applicability of the anti-SLAPP exemptions set forth in Code of Civil Procedure section 425.17, subdivision (c)? (2) Does Code of Civil Procedure section 425.17, subdivision (c), exempt from anti-SLAPP protection an advertisement by a lawyer soliciting clients for a contemplated lawsuit?
APPEALS & WRITS
Brown, Winfield & Canzoneri, Inc. v. Superior Court, S156598. (1) May a Court of Appeal issue a “suggestive Palma notice” (see Palma v. U.S. Industrial Fasteners, Inc. (l984) 36 Cal.3d 171) — that is, a notice that discusses the merits of a writ petition with citation to authority, determines that the trial court ruling was “erroneous,” and gives the trial court the “power and jurisdiction” to change its order? (2) If such an order is proper, absent exceptional circumstances, may it be issued without giving the real party in interest an opportunity to file opposition?
ARBITRATION, MEDIATION & SETTLEMENT
Haworth v. Superior Court, S165906. (1) What is the scope of a neutral arbitrator’s required disclosures under Code of Civil Procedure section 1281.9? (2) What is the proper standard of review of an order vacating an arbitration award based on an arbitrator’s purported failure to disclose grounds for disqualification?
O’Hanesian v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., S149847. Does the arbitrator or the trial court decide whether a prior default judgment against the driver of an underinsured vehicle resolves the two questions — (a) whether the insured under an underinsured motorist insurance policy is entitled to collect damages from the driver and (b) if so, the amount — that the policy and Insurance Code section 11580.2, subdivision (f), otherwise leave to the arbitrator?
Schatz v. Allen Matkins Lack Gamble & Mallory LLP, S150371. Is enforcement of a preexisting arbitration agreement as to a fee dispute between an attorney and client precluded by the Mandatory Fee Arbitration Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6200 et seq.)?
In re Marshall on Discipline, S156550. Was admission to the Alternative Discipline Program appropriate in this attorney disciplinary matter? Were the required program and the discipline recommended by the State Bar Court in this matter a proper and adequate response to the member’s actions, or should this court impose a greater degree of discipline?
ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS
County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court, S163681. May a public entity retain private counsel to prosecute a public nuisance abatement action under a contingent fee agreement?
Goodman v. Lozano, S162655. When a plaintiff settles with one tortfeasor and goes to trial against another but obtains no additional recovery because the amount of damages awarded is less than the setoff amount based on the pretrial settlement, is that plaintiff nevertheless a prevailing party as a matter of law for purposes of an award of fees and costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 1032?
Vasquez v. State of California, No. S143710. Does that rule that, in order to receive attorney fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5, the plaintiff must first reasonably attempt to settle the matter short of litigation, apply to this case? (See Graham v. DaimerChrysler Corp. (2004) 34 Cal.4th 553, 557; Grimsley v. Board of Supervisors (1985) 169 Cal.App.3d 960, 966-967.)
Imperial Merchants Services, Inc. v. Hunt, S163577. May a debt collector recovering on a dishonored check impose both a service charge under Civil Code section 1719 and prejudgment interest under Civil Code section 3287?
Miller v. Bank of America, NT & SA, S149178. Does California law, which provides that a bank account into which public benefit funds or Social Security payments have been electronically deposited is exempt from attachment and execution, prohibit a bank from exercising its right to setoff as to charges — such as overdraft fees and insufficient fund fees — arising out of use of that same account?
Coral Construction v. City and County of San Francisco, S152934. (1) Does article I, section 31 of the California Constitution, which prohibits government entities from discrimination or preference on the basis of race, sex, or color in public contracting, improperly disadvantage minority groups and violate equal protection principles by making it more difficult to enact legislation on their behalf? (See Washington v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1 (1982) 458 U.S. 457; Hunter v. Erickson (1969) 393 U.S. 385.) (2) Is section 31 preempted by the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination? (3) Does an ordinance that provides certain advantages to minority- and female-owned business enterprises with respect to the award of city contracts fall within an exception to section 31 for actions required of a local governmental entity to maintain eligibility for federal funds under the federal Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 2000d)? (4) Did the Court of Appeal properly remand the case to the trial court to determine in the first instance whether the ordinance was required in order to maintain the local governmental entity’s eligibility for federal funds?
Munson v. Del Taco, Inc., S162818. (1) Must a plaintiff who seeks damages under California Civil Code section 52, claiming the denial of full and equal treatment on the basis of disability in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.), prove ‘intentional discrimination’? (2) If the answer to Question 1 is ‘yes,’ what does ‘intentional discrimination’ mean in this context?
Morongo Band of Mission Indians v. State Water Resources Control Bd., S155589. May a staff attorney for an administrative agency attorney serve as a prosecutor in one matter while simultaneously serving as an advisor to the agency as decision maker in an unrelated matter, without violating the due process rights of parties that appear before the agency?
Society for Krishna Consciousness v. City of Los Angeles, S164272. (1) Is Los Angeles International Airport a public forum under the Liberty of Speech Clause of the California Constitution? (2) If so, does the ordinance at issue violate the California Constitution?
Los Angeles Unified School Dist. v. Great American Ins. Co., S165113. Must a contractor bringing a contract claim against a public agency based on the theory of breach of implied warranty prove intentional concealment of material facts?
Azure Limited v. I-Flow Corp., S164884. Is the statutory immunity accorded a corporation that transfers escheated shares of stock to the state (Code Civ. Proc. § 1532, subd. (d)) absolute or conditional?DISCOVERY
Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Superior Court, S163335. (1) Does the attorney-client privilege (Evid. Code, § 954) protect factual statements that outside counsel conveys to corporate counsel in a legal opinion letter? (2) Does Evidence Code section 915 prohibit a trial court from conducting an in camera review of a legal opinion letter to determine whether the attorney-client privilege protects facts stated in the letter?
DISQUALIFICATION & RECUSAL
In re Charlisse C., S152822. What standard should control disqualification of counsel from legal service agencies and public law firms in juvenile dependency proceedings due to successive representation of clients with potentially conflicting interests?
Haraguchi v. Superior Court, No. S148207. (1) Was the trial court’s ruling on a motion for recusal alleging conflict of interest, because the prosecutor had written a novel allegedly based in part on the facts of this case, subject to independent review or reviewable only for an abuse of discretion? (2) Was recusal appropriate under either standard?
Vargas v. City of Salinas, No. S140911. What is the proper standard for determining when a city has unlawfully expended public funds on improper partisan election campaigning? (See Stanson v. Mott (1976) 17 Cal.3d 206.)
EMPLOYMENT & LABOR
Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1756, AFL-CIO v. Superior Court, S151615. (1) Does a worker’s assignment to the worker’s union of a cause of action for meal and rest period violations carry with it the worker’s right to sue in a representative capacity under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.) or the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.)? (2) Does Business and Professions Code section 17203, as amended by Proposition 64, which provides that representative claims may be brought only if the injured claimant “complies with Section 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure,” require that private representative claims meet the procedural requirements applicable to class action lawsuits?
City of San Jose v. Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3, S162647. Does the Public Employment Relations Board have the exclusive initial jurisdiction to determine whether certain “essential” public employees covered by Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (Gov. Code, §§ 3500 3511) have the right to strike, or does that jurisdiction rest with the superior court?
Hernandez v. Hillsides, Inc., No. S147552. May employees assert a cause of action for invasion of privacy when their employer installed a hidden surveillance camera in the office to investigate whether someone was using an office computer for improper purposes, only operated the camera after normal working hours, and did not actually capture any video of the employees who worked in the office?
McDonald v. Antelope Valley Community College Dist., S153964. In an employment discrimination action, is the one year statute of limitations for filing an administrative complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing set forth in Government Code section 12960 subject to equitable tolling while the employee pursues an internal administrative remedy, such as a complaint with the community college chancellor filed pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 5, section 59300 et seq.?
Reid v. Google, Inc., S158965. (1) Should California law recognize the “stray remarks” doctrine, which permits the trial court in ruling on a motion for summary judgment to disregard isolated discriminatory remarks or comments unrelated to the decision-making process as insufficient to establish discrimination? (2) Are evidentiary objections not expressly ruled on at the time of decision on a summary judgment motion preserved for appeal?
Roby v. McKesson Corp., S149752. (1) In an action for employment discrimination and harassment by hostile work environment, does Reno v. Baird (1998) 18 Cal.4th 640 require that the claim for harassment be established entirely by reference to a supervisor’s acts that have no connection with matters of business and personnel management, or may such management-related acts be considered as part of the totality of the circumstances allegedly creating a hostile work environment? (2) May an appellate court determine the maximum constitutionally permissible award of punitive damages when it has reduced the accompanying award of compensatory damages, or should the court remand for a new determination of punitive damages in light of the reduced award of compensatory damages?
Smith v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd., S150528. Does Labor Code section 4607, which authorizes the Board to award attorney fees to an applicant who successfully resists a proceeding instituted by his or her employer to terminate a prior award for medical treatment, authorize the Board to award attorney fees to an applicant whose employer has not instituted proceedings to terminate medical care but has refused to authorize medical treatment, thereby requiring the applicant to institute proceedings to obtain that treatment?
Spielbauer v. County of Santa Clara, S150402. When a public employee invokes his or her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a public employer’s investigation of the employee’s conduct, must the public employer offer immunity from any criminal use of the employee’s statements before it can dismiss the employee for refusing to answer questions in connection with the investigation?
Committee for Green Foothills v. Santa Clara County Bd. of Supervisors, S163680. What statute of limitations under Public Resources Code section 21167 applies after a public agency files a notice of determination stating that an entire project will not have a significant impact on the environment?
Communities for a Better Environment v. South Coast Air Quality Management Dist., S161190. In determining whether a project requires the preparation of an environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.), is the maximum amount of emissions allowed a facility under an existing permit part of the baseline against which future environmental impacts should be assessed, even though (a) the facility’s current operations did not reach that level of emissions and (b) the level of emissions allowed by the permit had not been subjected to CEQA review?
Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood, S151402. Does an agreement between agencies that describes a proposal in detail but expressly withholds any commitment to a definite course of action and is conditioned upon compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) constitute “approval” of a “project” necessitating environmental impact review under the Act?
FAMILY LAW & DEPENDENCY
Guardianship of Ann S., No. S143723. Is Probate Code section 1516.5 constitutional if it permits the termination of parental rights without a present finding of parental unfitness?
In re Charlotte D., No. S142028. Is Probate Code section 1516.5, which permits the termination of parental rights without an express finding of parental unfitness, unconstitutional either on its face or as applied to an unwed father who has demonstrated a full commitment to his parental responsibilities?
In re Nolan W., S159524. (1) Did the juvenile court have the authority to order the minor’s mother to participate in a substance abuse program as part of her reunification plan? (2) Did Welfare and Institutions Code section 213 authorize the juvenile court to hold the minor’s mother in contempt and incarcerate her for failing to comply with that component of the reunification plan?
HEALTH & MEDICAL
Mileikowsky v. West Hills Hospital & Medical Center, S156986. Does the presiding hearing officer in a medical peer review proceeding have the authority to terminate the hearing as a sanction for a party’s failure to cooperate in discovery, or must that decision be made by the hearing committee empowered to decide the case on the merits?
Van Horn v. Watson, S152360. Does the immunity provided by Health and Safety Code section 1799.102 for any person who “renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency” apply to a person who removed someone from a wrecked car because she feared it would burst into flames?
Prince v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., S149344. Does the principle that there can be no indemnity without liability apply to claims for implied contractual indemnity as it does to claims for comparative equitable indemnity?
Ameron Internat. Corp. v. Insurance Co. of the State of Pennsylvania, S153852. Does a proceeding before the United States Department of the Interior Board of Contract Appeals constitute a “suit” such as to trigger insurance coverage under a commercial general liability policy?
Delgado v. Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club, S155129. Petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment in a civil action. This case presents the following issue: When a liability policy covers injury arising from an “occurrence,” which is defined as an “accident,” does the insurer have a duty to defend an action for assault if the complaint alleges the insured was acting under an unreasonable and negligent belief that he was acting in self-defense?
Fairbanks v. Superior Court, S157001. Is insurance a “good” or a “service” that is subject to the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (Civ. Code, § 1750)?
Sentry Select Ins. Co. v. Fidelity & Guaranty, No. S145087. What is the appropriate test for determining whether an insured is "engaged in the business of renting or leasing motor vehicles without operators" under California Insurance Code section 11580.9(b)?
State of California v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, S149988. (1) Does application of the pollution exclusion clause of the comprehensive general liability excess insurance policies at issue in this case turn on when waste material was discharged from the Stringfellow Acid Pits waste disposal site or when the waste was initially deposited into the site? (2) If pollution is caused by both uncovered intentional actions and covered accidents, does the insured have the burden at trial to prove that all of the damages it seeks to recover were caused by a covered event, or is there a duty to indemnify when two concurrent causes are responsible for an injury even if one of the causes is an uncovered act?
21st Century Ins. Co. v. Superior Court, S154790. Should an insured’s attorney fees and costs incurred to obtain compensation from a third party tortfeasor be taken into account when applying the rule that an insurer cannot seek reimbursement from the insured unless the insured has been “made whole” by the recovery from the tortfeasor and other sources?
Village Northridge Homeowners Assn. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., S161008. After settling a first party claim by accepting money from and executing a release of the insurer, may an insured sue the insurer for fraud in inducing the settlement and seek to avoid the release without returning the money the insurer paid?
WFS Financial, Inc. v. Superior Court, No. S145304. Are the provisions of the Rees-Levering Automobile Sales Finance Act (Civ. Code, § 2981 et seq.) that require a creditor to include certain disclosures in a notice of intent to dispose of a vehicle after it has been repossessed and that condition the creditor’s right to seek a deficiency judgment on compliance with these requirements (Civ. Code, § 2983.2), preempted by the federal Home Owners’ Loan Act (12 U.S.C. § 1461 et seq.) when the creditor is a federally chartered savings institution?
Episcopal Church Cases, S155094. (1) Should the “principle of government” approach, also known as the “highest church judicatory” approach, be used to resolve disputes between a local congregation and a national church or regional diocese over ownership of church property, or should these disputes be resolved using a “neutral principles analysis”? (2) Was the complaint properly subject to a motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16? (3) What role does Corporations Code section 9142 play in the analysis and resolution of church property disputes?
Murphy v. Burch, S159489. This case presents issues concerning the application of the common law doctrine of easement by necessity, including the question whether, in view of the federal government’s power of eminent domain, the common law doctrine of easement by necessity applies to land originally owned by and subsequently conveyed by the federal government.
Patel v. Liebermensch, S156797. Are the time and manner of payment essential terms of a real estate purchase option contract such that their absence negates formation of a contract?
Buell-Wilson v. Ford Motor Co., S163102. (1) What procedural protections are required by Philip Morris USA v. Williams (2007) 549 U.S. __, 127 S.Ct. 1057, which held that due process requires that a jury not award punitive damages to punish for harm to third parties; and under what circumstances can those constitutional rights be deemed forfeited? (2) Are punitive damages prohibited in product liability cases where the manufacturer’s design conforms to governmental safety standards and industry standards and custom, and there is a “genuine debate” about what the law requires? (2) Is the amount of the punitive damage award in this case unconstitutionally excessive and arbitrary? The court ordered briefing deferred pending the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. Williams, No. 07-1216, cert. granted June 9, 2008, __ U.S. __ [2008 WL 791949], or further order of this court.
RES JUDICATA & COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL
Boeken v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., S162029. Did the doctrine of res judicata bar plaintiff’s claim for noneconomic damages in a wrongful death action after her husband died, because she had dismissed with prejudice a claim for loss of consortium while he was alive?
Murray v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., S162570. Should issue-preclusive effect be given to a federal agency’s investigative findings, when the subsequent administrative process provides the complainant the option of a formal adjudicatory hearing to determine the contested issues de novo, as well as subsequent judicial review of that determination, but the complainant elects not to invoke his right to that additional process?
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS & REPOSE
Hebrew Academy of San Francisco v. Goldman, No. S134873. When a publication containing an allegedly defamatory statement is available to the public but has a very limited distribution, does the statute of limitations on a defamation cause of action begin to run at the time of the first general distribution (the "single publication rule") or when the allegedly defamatory statement is or reasonably should have been discovered (the "discovery rule")?
McCann v. Foster Wheeler, S162435. Does Oklahoma’s statute of repose bar a product liability action by a 30-year California resident against a boiler manufacturer arising out of the installation of a boiler in Oklahoma?
Stockton Citizens for Sensible Planning v. City of Stockton, S159690. Was plaintiffs’ challenge to the approval of a Wal-Mart Supercenter project filed within the applicable statute of limitations on the theory that the approval was invalid and thus did not trigger the running of the limitations period?
Bonander v. Town of Tiburon, S151370. Are the validation statutes (Code Civ. Proc., § 860 et seq.) the exclusive remedy available for challenging a special assessment levied under Streets and Highways Code section 10601 based on allegations that individual property owners are not receiving a special or proportionate benefit within the meaning of Proposition 218 (Cal. Const., art. XIII D, § 4, subd. (a))?
California Farm Bureau Federation v. California State Water Resources Control Bd., S150518. (1) Does Water Code section 1525, which was amended by the Legislature by majority vote in 2003 to impose annual fees on the persons and entities holding permits and licenses issued by the State Water Resources Control Board, impose an invalid tax or a lawful regulatory fee? (2) If section 1525 is valid, may the Water Resources Control Board permissibly collect a fee levied on an entity which has sovereign immunity from a person or entity who has a contract with the immune sovereign? (3) If the statutory scheme is valid, but the regulations implementing it are invalid, did the Court of Appeal err in limiting refunds to only those persons and entities filing petitions for reconsideration before the Water Resources Control Board?
Steinhart v. County of Los Angeles, S158007. (1) Is the vesting of a life estate a “change in ownership” under Revenue and Taxation Code section 60 that triggers reassessment? (2) Was the taxpayer, under these circumstances, required to exhaust her administrative remedies by pursuing her claim with the Assessment Appeals Board before filing suit? (3) Was the taxpayer’s declaratory relief action barred by the prohibition in Revenue and Taxation Code section 4807 on actions to “prevent or enjoin the collection of property taxes”?
Christoff v. Nestlé USA, Inc., S155242. (1) Does the single publication rule (see Civ. Code, § 3425.3) apply to an action under Civil Code section 3344 for appropriation of likeness? (2) Is the use of a likeness on product labels a “publication” for purposes of the single publication rule? (3) Under what circumstances, if any, would the continuing use of a likeness on product labels and in advertisements marketing a product constitute “republication” and give rise to a new cause of action? (4) Does the discovery rule apply in an action for appropriation of likeness?
Conroy v. Regents of University of California, S153002. Could the surviving spouse of a person who donated his body for medical research sue in contract or in tort based on claim the university failed to keep track of her husband’s body, failed to contact her before disposing of the remains, and allegedly mishandled or treated the remains improperly or in a manner not permitted by the donative contract?
In re Tobacco II Cases, No. S147345. (1) In order to bring a class action under Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.), as amended by Proposition 64 (Gen. Elec. (Nov. 2, 2004)), must every member of the proposed class have suffered “injury in fact,” or is it sufficient that the class representative comply with that requirement? (2) In a class action based on a manufacturer’s alleged misrepresentation of a product, must every member of the class have actually relied on the manufacturer’s representations?
Keener v. Jeld-Wen, Inc., S163430. (1) Does failure to object to incomplete polling before the jury is discharged waive the argument that the polling was incomplete and the verdict invalid? (2) For purposes of Code of Civil Procedure section 618, which provides that a jury verdict “is complete and the jury discharged from the case” if “no disagreement is expressed” upon polling the jurors, is a juror’s silence during polling, if the court failed to poll the juror, an “expressed” disagreement with the verdict?