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McIntyre’s Civil Alert. Organized Succinct Summaries

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT

Civil Procedure (Jurisdiction)
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Superior Court (Anderson) (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 4506107: The California Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the Court of Appeal which held that petitioner was subject to the personal jurisdiction of the California courts on the basis of specific jurisdiction. Petitioner objected to California exercising jurisdiction over it for claims alleged by nonresidents of California. Personal jurisdiction was authorized by Code of Civil Procedure section 410.10. Although petitioner’s business contacts in California were insufficient to invoke general jurisdiction, the California Supreme Court concluded that the company’s California activities were sufficiently related to the nonresident plaintiffs’ suits to support the invocation of specific jurisdiction under which personal jurisdiction is limited to specific litigation related to the defendant’s state contacts. (August 29, 2016.)

Government
Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates (County of Los Angeles) (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 4506106: The California Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal finding that storm drainage system permits issued by a state agency were federally mandated and local government agencies therefore could not seek reimbursement from the state for the associated costs. (California Constitution, article XIII B, section 6(a).) The California Supreme Court disagreed, concluding that no federal law or regulation imposed the conditions nor did the federal regulatory system require the state to impose them. The permit conditions were imposed as a result of the state’s discretionary action. (August 29, 2016.)

CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL

Arbitration
Penilla v. Westmont Corporation (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 4709888: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying a motion to compel arbitration of a complaint by 61 mobile home tenant plaintiffs alleging contract, tort and statutory causes of action. The Court of Appeal ruled that the arbitration agreement was procedurally unconscionable because it failed to disclose prohibitively expensive arbitration fees and was neither provided in a Spanish-language copy nor explained to respondents who did not understand written English. The arbitration provision was also substantively unconscionable because it imposed arbitral fees that were unaffordable or would have substantially deterred respondents from asserting their claims, unreasonably shortened limitations periods for many of the asserted causes of action, and unreasonably limited the remedies available in arbitration for statutory claims. (C.A. 2nd, September 9, 2016.)

Civil Procedure
Local TV v. Superior Court (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 4578645: The Court of Appeal granted a writ petition and ordered the trial court to grant petitioner/defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a case alleging misappropriation of name and likeness and other causes of action. The Court of Appeal concluded that, based on the broad consent given in a written agreement between respondents/plaintiffs and Los Angeles television station KTLA regarding the distribution of “Kurt the CyberGuy” materials to other television stations, respondents could not prove lack of consent to the manner in which petitioner used the CyberGuy material. (C.A. 2nd, September 2, 2016.)
Minick v. City of Petaluma (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 4578644: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting a motion for relief under Code of Civil Procedure section 473(b) setting aside an earlier order granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a personal injury case. Plaintiff’s attorney submitted a declaration in support of the motion explaining that, at the time that he prepared plaintiff’s summary judgment opposition papers, he was suffering from a serious illness for which he was under heavy medication. Although the attorney was unaware of it at the time, cognitive impairment caused by a combination of his illness and his medicated state led him to overlook readily available evidence. The Court of Appeal deferred to the trial court’s broad discretion in ruling on this type of motion. (C.A. 1st, September 2, 2016.)
Suarez v. Trigg Laboratories (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 4655761: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting an anti-SLAPP motion to strike. Plaintiff had previously sued defendant for quantum meruit for consulting services provided by plaintiff to increase company profits and sell the company. That lawsuit was settled at a mediation for $175,000. Plaintiff did not know, at the time of the settlement, of communications that defendant and its counsel and potential buyers were engaged in regarding a sale of the business. When plaintiff later learned of these discussions, he sued to rescind the settlement agreement based upon fraudulent concealment, and again sought quantum meruit. The Court of Appeal ruled that the trial court properly granted the anti-SLAPP motion because the action arose from protected activities. The Court of Appeal did not consider the second issue, whether plaintiff could demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits, because plaintiff/appellant raised no issue on appeal regarding this issue. (C.A. 2nd, September 7, 2016.)
Visha Dev, M.D., Inc. v. Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _, 2016 WL 4538397: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment for defendants. Plaintiff’s claim for quantum meruit was barred because it was filed more than two years after he received the Explanation of Benefit letters. (C.A. 2nd, August 31, 2016.)

Employment
Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc. (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _, 2016 WL 4506089: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s summary judgment for defendant. Plaintiff sued his former employer, defendant, alleging causes of action for disability discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, and retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code, § 12900 et seq.), and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Plaintiff’s son requires daily dialysis. According to the evidence, plaintiff must be the one to administer the dialysis. For several years, plaintiff’s supervisors scheduled him so that he could be home at night for his son’s dialysis. The schedule changed when a new supervisor took over and ultimately terminated plaintiff for refusing to work a shift that did not permit him to be home in time for his son’s dialysis. The Court of Appeal ruled that plaintiff had demonstrated triable issues of material fact on his causes of action for associational disability discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. (C.A. 2nd, August 29, 2016.)
Hott v. College of the Sequoias Community College District (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _, 2016 WL 4611056: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s ruling that plaintiff was entitled to year-for-year credit for her 15 years of administrative experience as an administrator for defendant when determining her salary as a new faculty member after her administrative position was eliminated due to budget cuts. The Court of Appeal ruled that the trial court erred by finding plaintiff was entitled to a salary greater than the maximum credit for five years of experience authorized in the collective bargaining agreement. (C.A. 5th, September 6, 2016.)

Government
California Public Utilities Commission v. Superior Court (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 4540053: The Court of Appeal granted a writ petition and commanded the trial court to set aside and vacate its order overruling a demurrer and to enter an order sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend. Public Utilities Code section 1759 bars the superior court from exercising jurisdiction over a lawsuit to compel the California Public Utilities Commission to produce documents under the Public Records Act. (C.A. 1st, August 31, 2016.)

Labor
Hott v. College of the Sequoias Community College District (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 4611056: See summary above under Employment.

Real Property
Coastal Hills Rural Preservation v. County of Sonoma (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _, 2016 WL 4538384: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying a writ petition seeking to overturn respondent’s approval of a proposed expansion of a Buddhist retreat center. The trial court correctly ruled that respondent had properly adopted a mitigated negative declaration in lieu of a formal environmental impact report in approving the third in a series of master use permits for real parties in interest Jack Petranker and the Head Lama of the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center. (C.A. 1st, August 31, 2016.)
Lucioni v. Bank of America (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _, 2016 WL 4655762: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order sustaining a demurrer, without leave to amend, to a complaint seeking an injunction to prevent a foreclosure. In an action under the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights for violation of Civil Code section 2924(a)(6), requiring an entity initiating a foreclosure to be legally entitled to do so, injunctive relief is not authorized by either Civil Code section 2924.12(a)(1) or 2924.19(a)(1) and therefore is not available as a remedy for a violation of section 2924(a)(6). (C.A. 2nd, September 7, 2016.)
Schellinger Brothers v. Cotter (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _, 2016 WL 4491450: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment of $2,855,431.77 for plaintiff for breach of a contract to sell real property, following a bench trial. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court finding that defendant committed an egregious bad faith breach of his contract with plaintiff, and plaintiff suffered damages proximately caused by the breach in the amount fixed by the trial court. While the damages were of unprecedented size, they were expenses properly incurred in preparing to enter upon the land and consequential damages and therefore recoverable under Civil Code section 3306. (C.A. 1st, August 26, 2016.)

Monty A. Mcintyre

Monty A. McIntyre follows his passions for the law and serving others by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and motion referee to help individuals, businesses and lawyers obtain rapid, reasonable resolution of disputes. He is also the Publisher of McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update and can be reached at 619-990-4312 or monty.mcintyre@gmail.com.

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About the Author: Monty A. McIntyre follows his passions for the law and serving others by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and motion referee to help individuals, businesses and lawyers obtain rapid, reasonable resolution of disputes. He is also the Publisher of McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update and can be reached at 619-990-4312 or monty.mcintyre@gmail.com.

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