May 5, 2016

A dozen cases on the late-May calendar

May is the only month with two oral argument calendars, and both are typically larger than normal.  So, as the court today finishes its 15-case early-May calendar, it announces a 12-case late-May calendar.

Two of the cases made their ways onto this calendar by procedurally rare routes.  One is a death penalty case in which the court granted rehearing more than a year ago.  The other is a case in which review was granted on the court’s own motion.

On May 26 and 27, in San Francisco, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as stated on the court’s website):

City of Montebello v.Vasquez:  Did votes by city officials to approve a contract constitute conduct protected under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 despite the allegation that they had a financial interest in the contract?

City of Perris v. Stamper:  (1) Is the constitutionality of an otherwise reasonably probable dedication requirement that a governmental entity claims it would have required in order to grant the property owner permission to put his or her property to a higher use a question that must be resolved by a jury pursuant to article I, section 19 of the California Constitution?  (2) Was the dedication requirement claimed by the City of Perris a “project effect” that the eminent domain law requires to be ignored in determining just compensation?
This argument was continued at the last minute from the early-May calendar.

McLean v. State of California:  (1) When bringing a putative class action to recover penalties against an “employer” under Labor Code section 203, may a former state employee sue the “State of California” instead of the specific agency for which the employee previously worked?  (2) Do Labor Code section 202 and 203, which provide a right of action for an employee who “quits” his or her employment, authorize a suit by an employee who retires?

People v. Vidana:  Can a defendant be convicted of both embezzlement (Pen. Code, § 503) and grand theft by larceny (Pen. Code, § 487(a)) for the same conduct?

People v. Simon:  This is an automatic appeal from a November 2001 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.

People v. Grimes:  This is the rehearing case and it will be the third argument in the matter.  It’s an automatic appeal from a January 1999 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals, but one of the issues is the standard of review for whether an error is prejudicial.  In another case, at the end of last year, the court indicated how the justices might divide on that issue.

Laffitte v. Robert Half International Inc.:  Does Serrano v. Priest (1977) 20 Cal.3d 25 permit a trial court to anchor its calculation of a reasonable attorney’s fees award in a class action on a percentage of the common fund recovered?

Maas v. Superior Court:  Does Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6 permit a peremptory challenge to be asserted, before an order to show cause has issued, against a judge who is assigned to assess a petition for writ of habeas corpus?
This is the case in which the court granted review on its own motion.

People v. Nelson:  This is an automatic appeal from a September 1995 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.

People v. Burgener:  This is an automatic appeal from a December 2009 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.

People v. Rodriguez:  (1) Does Penal Code section 1538.5, subdivision (p) vest the trial court with discretion to determine whether the judge who heard a defendant’s original motion to suppress is “available” to hear a subsequent motion, and if so, what considerations should guide the trial court in exercising that discretion?  (2) Did the trial court err in concluding that the original judge was “unavailable” to hear a renewed motion to suppress within the meaning of Penal Code section 1538.5, subdivision (p)?

People v. Moran:  Was the condition of probation barring defendant from all Home Depot stores and their parking lots after he was convicted of shoplifting at a single Home Depot store unconstitutionally overbroad as impinging on his constitutional right to travel?
Like the City of Perris case, this case was continued from the early-May calendar.

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