March 7, 2014

A dozen cases for the Supreme Court’s April calendar

The Supreme Court announced two full days of oral arguments when the court returns to Los Angeles next month.  One third of the 12 cases on the calendar are automatic death penalty appeals.

On April 2 and 3, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue(s) presented as stated on the court’s website):

Salas v. Sierra Chemical Company:   Did the trial court err in dismissing plaintiff’s claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code, § 12900 et seq.) on grounds of after-acquired evidence and unclean hands, based on plaintiff’s use of false documentation to obtain employment in the first instance? Did Senate Bill No. 1818 (2001-2002 Reg. Session) preclude application of those doctrines in this case? (See Civ. Code, § 3339; Gov. Code, § 7285; Health & Saf. Code, § 24000; Lab. Code, § 1171.5.)

A year ago, the court asked for supplemental briefing on this issue:  Does federal immigration law preempt state law and thereby preclude an undocumented worker from obtaining, as a remedy for a violation of “state labor and employment laws” (Lab. Code, § 1171.5; Civ. Code, § 3339; Gov. Code, § 7285; Health & Saf. Code, § 24000), an award of compensatory remedies, including backpay? (See Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB (2002) 535 U.S. 137.)

Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers:  This case presents questions concerning the determination of whether common issues predominate in a proposed class action relating to claims that turn on whether members of the putative class are independent contractors or employees.

Last June, the court order the parties to file supplemental briefs discussing the relevance of Martinez v. Combs (2010) 49 Cal.4th 35, 52-57, 73, and IWC wage order No. 1-2001, subdivision 2(D)-(F) (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11010, subd. 2(D)-(F)), to the issues in this case. (See also Sotelo v. Medianews Group, Inc. (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 639, 660-662; Bradley v. Networkers Internat., LLC (2012) 211 Cal.App.4th 1129, 1146-1147.)

People v. Brown:  [This is an automatic appeal from a February 1996 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

People v. Sattiewhite:  [This is an automatic appeal from an April 1994 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

People v. DeBose:  [This is an automatic appeal from a July 1999 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

People v. Trinh:  [This is an automatic appeal from an April 2003 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. Swift Distribution, Inc.:  Did the allegations of the complaint constitute disparagement for purposes of insurance coverage or the duty to defend under the “advertising injury” provision of defendant’s insurance policy?  [Disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy filed an amicus curiae brief in this case.]

Iskanian v. CLS Transportation of Los Angeles LLC:  (1) Did AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 563 U.S. __ [131 S. Ct. 1740, 179 L.Ed.2d 742] impliedly overrule Gentry v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 443 with respect to contractual class action waivers in the context of non-waivable labor law rights? (2) Does the high court’s decision permit arbitration agreements to override the statutory right to bring representative claims under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.)? (3) Did defendant waive its right to compel arbitration?  [Disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy filed an amicus curiae brief in this case.]

In re Marriage of Valli:  Did the Court of Appeal err in concluding that an insurance policy on the husband’s life was the wife’s separate property upon dissolution of the marriage, even though the policy was purchased during the marriage and the premiums prior to the couple’s separation were paid with community funds, because the policy listed the wife as the owner?

M. v. Superior Court:  Could the restitution order in this case of felony vandalism for acts of graffiti be based on the victim city’s average cost of removing, cleaning, and repairing incidents of graffiti on an annual basis, or was proof of the actual costs of mitigating the graffiti at issue in this case required?

People v. Scott:  Was defendant entitled to a county jail commitment under the Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 when the trial court imposed and suspended execution of a prison sentence before the Act’s effective date, but revoked probation and ordered execution of the sentence after the Act went into effect?

People v. Goldsmith:  (1) What testimony, if any, regarding the accuracy and reliability of the automated traffic enforcement system (ATES) is required as a prerequisite to admission of the ATES-generated evidence? (2) Is the ATES evidence hearsay and, if so, do any exceptions apply?  [To translate, this is a case about the use of red-light camera evidence.]

One Response to “A dozen cases for the Supreme Court’s April calendar”

  1. People v Goldsmith
    The question is how can the California Legislature enact SB 1303 and codify the Appellate Decision in People vs Goldsmith by amending California Evidence Code section 1551 & 1552 and California Vehicle Code section 21455.5 (e) simply be asserting that the declaration submitted by Redflex personal is not testimony and therefore no right to confrontation exists under the 6th & 14th amendments?

    I have filed a Petition for Cert in the U S Supreme Court address these unconstitutional acts of the California Legislature as well as the California Supreme court denial of Writ of Prohibition and Stay.

    SB 1303 is clearly unconstitutional on its face according to Crawford v Washington, Bullcoming v. New Mexico

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