Friday, March 23, 2007

Last Updated September 26, 2008


This website lists and describes all currently pending civil cases in which the California Supreme Court has granted review, excluding those on grant and hold. The list is updated regularly by California appeals attorney Martin N. Buchanan, a partner at Niddrie, Fish & Buchanan in San Diego, California. The case descriptions come from the weekly News Release issued by the Public Information Office of the Administrative Office of the Courts. As stated in the News Release, the statement of issues does not necessarily reflect the view of the court, or define the specific issues that will be addressed by the court.


ANTI-SLAPP STATUTE


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?

In re Phoenix H., S155556. When appointed counsel for a parent whose custody rights have been adversely affected by state-initiated action files a brief in the Court of Appeal that presents no arguable claim of error, does the parent, acting in propria persona, have the right to submit a supplemental brief?

Silverbrand v. County of Los Angeles, No. S143929. Does the "prison delivery" rule apply to the filing of a notice of appeal in a civil case, and thus make timely a notice of appeal deposited in the prison legal mail system before the expiration of the jurisdictional deadline but not received by the trial court until after that deadline has passed?

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.)?

ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE

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

Chavez v. City of Los Angeles, S162313. Does Code of Civil Procedure section 1033 permit a trial court to deny Government Code section 12965 attorney fees to the prevailing plaintiff in an action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code, § 12900 et seq.) if the judgment obtained in a court with jurisdiction over “unlimited” civil cases (see Code Civ. Proc., § 88) could have been rendered in a court with jurisdiction over “limited” civil cases (see Code Civ. Proc., § 85, subd. (a))?

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?

Musaelian v. Adams, S156045. Was defendant, an attorney representing himself in a civil action, entitled to an award of attorney fees as a sanction against the plaintiff under Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7 for engaging in frivolous litigation?

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.)

BANKING

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?

CIVIL RIGHTS

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?

CONSERVATORSHIP

Conservatorship of John L., S157151. May a proposed conservatee’s attorney, by making an unsworn statement to the court that the person did not wish to be present and did not object to the appointment of a conservator, waive the person’s right to be present at the hearing on a conservatorship under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, although the report of the “officer providing conservatorship investigation” appointed by the county states that the person did not want a conservator?

CONSTITUTIONAL

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?

CONTRACTS

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?

CORPORATIONS

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?

ELECTIONS

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?

Arias v. Superior Court, S155965. (1) Must an employee who is suing an employer for labor law violations on behalf of himself and others under the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17203) bring his representative claims as a class action? (2) Must an employee who is pursuing such claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (Lab. Code, § 2699) bring them as a class action?

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?

McCarther v. Pacific Telesis Group, S164692. (1) Does Labor Code section 233, which mandates that employees be allowed to use a portion of “accrued and available sick leave” to care for sick family members, apply to employer plans in which employees do not periodically accrue a certain number of paid sick days but are paid for qualifying absences due to illness? (2) Does Labor Code section 234, which prohibits employers from disciplining employees for using sick leave to care for sick family members, prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee who takes such “kin care” leave if the employer would have the right to discipline the employee for taking time off for the employee’s own illness or injury?

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?

Schachter v. Citigroup, Inc., S161385. Does the forfeiture provision of a voluntary incentive compensation plan, which gives employees the option of using a portion of their earnings to purchase shares in the company’s stock below market price but provides that employees forfeit both the stock and the money used to purchase it if they resign or are terminated for cause within a two-year period, violate Labor Code sections 201 or 202?

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?

State Bd. of Chiropractic Examiners v. Superior Court, S151705. Under the Whistleblower Protection Act (Gov. Code §8547 et seq.), may a state employee bring a civil action after suffering an adverse decision by the State Personnel Board without successfully seeking a writ of administrative mandate to set aside that decision?

ENVIRONMENTAL

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?

Guzman v. County of Monterey, S157793. Does the California Safe Drinking Water Act (Health & Saf. Code, § 116270 et seq.) impose specific mandatory duties upon the County of Monterey within the meaning of Government Code section 815.6 and thus expose the county to monetary liability for the breach of a duty to review and respond to water quality monitoring reports submitted by water systems within its jurisdiction?

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 Corrine W., S156898. Does Welfare and Institutions Code section 11460, subdivision (b), which requires that foster parents be paid for “food, clothing, shelter, daily supervision, school supplies, a child’s personal incidentals, [and] liability insurance with respect to a child,” require reimbursement of the costs of automobile liability insurance so that a teenaged foster child can drive?

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?

FOREIGN JUDGMENTS

Manco Contracting Co. v. Bezdikian, S154076. This case presents the following issues: (1) Is a foreign money judgment final within the meaning of the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act (Code of Civ. Pro, § 1713 et seq.), even though an appeal of the foreign judgment is pending and the law of the foreign jurisdiction provides that a judgment is not final there until the appeal has been resolved? (2) What statute of limitations applies to an action to enforce a foreign judgment?

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?

IMMUNITY


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?

INDEMNITY

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?

INSURANCE

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?

PREEMPTION

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?

PROPERTY

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?

Ste. Marie v. Riverside County Regional Park & Open-Space Dist., S159319. Did the lower courts err in this case by concluding that property acquired by the District for recreational purposes was “actually dedicated” by operation of law, pursuant to Public Resources Code section 5565, and that Public Resources Code section 5540 required the District to obtain the consent of a majority of voters in the District in order to validly convey the property to a local community college district?

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

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?

Hernandez v. City of Pomona, S149499. (1) Does an action against a police officer for injury resulting from the use of deadly force implicate a single primary right, such that a final judgment in favor of the police officer on a civil rights claim in federal court is res judicata in a subsequent negligence action in state court based on the same circumstances and injury? (2) Where a federal court renders a final judgment that a police officer’s use of deadly force was objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment and the court subsequently declines to exercise pendent jurisdiction over a state law negligence claim, does the rule against splitting a cause of action bar a subsequent state court action on the negligence claim? (3) Does collateral estoppel bar a subsequent negligence claim based on “pre-seizure” conduct by the police officer that gave rise to the circumstances in which the officer was required to use deadly force?

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?

TAXATION AND FEES

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”?

TORTS

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?

UNFAIR COMPETITION

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?

VERDICTS

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?

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