The following is our summary of the Supreme Court’s actions on petitions for review in civil cases from the Court’s conference on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted, (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, or (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal. This week we also note an original writ proceeding in the Supreme Court, which challenges aspects of the First District Court of Appeal’s electronic filing system.
Judicial Council of California v. Superior Court (Bean), S218055—Review Granted and Transferred—June 11, 2014
The Judicial Council filed a petition for writ of mandate in the Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Five. (To our chagrin, we have not been able to determine the nature of the relief sought in the petition.) The Court of Appeal denied the writ petition. The Supreme Court granted the Judicial Council’s petition for review and transferred the matter back to the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court directed the Court of Appeal to vacate its order denying the petition and issue a new order directing the trial court to show cause why the relief sought should not be granted.
Review Denied (with dissenting justices)
Dodd v. Cruz (Medical Finance), S217534–June 11, 2014
In Dodd, the Court of Appeal had held, consistent with the holdings in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc. (2011) 52 Cal.4th 541 and Corenbaum v. Lampkin (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 1308, that a defendant is entitled to discovery to determine how much a medical finance company actually paid for a receivable representing the cost of medical services.
The plaintiff sustained injuries from a car accident, for which he sought medical treatment to a medical provider. The medical provider sold the receivable for the services performed to a third-party medical finance company. The medical finance company contended the plaintiff was liable for 100 percent of the face amount of the receivable, i.e., 100 percent of the billed amount. After the plaintiff sued the defendant for injuries sustained in the accident, the defendant served th medical finance company with a subpoena for production of business records in order to prove collusion between the plaintiff and the medical finance company. The medical finance company moved to quash the subpoena, arguing the documents were confidential, proprietary, and irrelevant. The trial court granted the motion on the ground that the information sought by the subpoena was irrelevant.
In a published opinion, Dodd v. Cruz (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 933, the Court of Appeal reversed. It held the trial court abused its discretion in granting the motion and awarding sanctions. The Court of Appeal held the defendant was allowed discovery into the facts and circumstances surrounding this transaction, including how much the medical finance company actually paid for the receivable. The Supreme Court ordered the Court of Appeal’s opinion depublished. [Full disclosure: Horvitz & Levy LLP represented the defendant and appellant in this matter.]
Court of Appeal Directed to Provide Status Report
Schwinn v. First District Court of Appeal (Montgomery), S218548–June 11, 2014
This case was initiated in the Supreme Court via a petition for writ of mandate or prohibition against the First District Court of Appeal, with a request for stay, challenging aspects of the First District’s electronic filing system (EFS). The Supreme Court directed the Court of Appeal to file a status report with the Supreme Court by July 11, 2014, indicating whether ImageSoft, the operator of the EFS, has made any changes to its conditions requiring EFS users to submit to the laws of the State of Michigan and to the jurisdiction of the courts in Michigan, or whether the court itself has made any amendment to the requirement in its Local Rule 16 that attorneys use the EFS. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.70.)
As of March 17, 2014, the First District generally required all civil filings to be made through the court’s EFS, operated by ImageSoft TrueFiling. (Ct. App., First Dist., Local Rules of Ct., rule 16, Electronic filing.)