November 7, 2011

California Supreme Court will hear argument this week in several important cases

In July, we listed some of the important cases we’re watching. On that list were Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, S166350, and O’Neil v. Crane Co., S177401. Since then, we also have been watching California Redevelopment Assn. v. Matosantos, S194861. All three of these cases will be argued this week in San Francisco, and two of those arguments will be televised.

The Supreme Court has set oral argument in Brinker for tomorrow, November 8, at 9:00 a.m. Brinker “presents issues concerning the proper interpretation of California’s statutes and regulations governing an employer’s duty to provide meal and rest breaks to hourly workers.” You can watch the argument live on The California Channel.

On Wednesday, November 9, at 9:00 a.m., the Court will hear argument in O’Neil, the subject of a recent article by Kate Moser in The Recorder. That products liability case presents the question whether the defendants, who manufactured valves and pumps that the Navy installed on its ships in the 1940’s, can be strictly liable for injuries that allegedly occurred when a Navy seaman was exposed in the 1960’s to asbestos fibers released from insulation and sealants that the Navy used in conjunction with the defendants’ valves and pumps. (Full disclosure: Horvitz & Levy LLP is counsel for the defendant in O’Neil.)

Argument in Matosantos is scheduled for this Thursday, November 10, at 9:00 a.m. The case will decide the fate of California’s redevelopment agencies. As in Brinker, The California Channel will be televising the argument.

UPDATE: This article by Howard Mintz in the Silicon Valley Mercury News includes a summary of the Brinker argument. Mintz reports that the justices appeared to side with the defense and to balk at the stricter standards for ensuring meal and rest breaks proposed by the plaintiffs. For further coverage of the argument, check out this Washington Post article.

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