January 5, 2017
As it was finishing up its January calendar today, the Supreme Court announced next month’s lineup of arguments. There are six cases, and four of them are civil (five, if you count the habeas corpus case), which is a higher percentage than usual.
On February 7, in Sacramento, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as stated on the court’s website):
DisputeSuite.com, LLC v. Scoreinc.com: Were defendants entitled to an award of attorney fees under Civil Code section 1717 as the prevailing parties in an action on a contract when they obtained the dismissal of the action on procedural grounds pursuant to a Florida forum selection clause?
Park v. Board of Trustees of the California State University: Does Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 authorize a court to strike a cause of action in which the plaintiff challenges only the validity of an action taken by a public entity in an “official proceeding authorized by law” (subd. (e) ) but does not seek relief against any participant in that proceeding based on his or her protected communications?
Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc.: At the Ninth Circuit’s request, the court will answer these questions: “(A) California Labor Code section 551 provides that ‘[e]very person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day’s rest therefrom in seven.’ Is the required day of rest calculated by the workweek, or is it calculated on a rolling basis for any consecutive seven-day period? (B) California Labor Code section 556 exempts employers from providing such a day of rest ‘when the total hours of employment do not exceed 30 hours in any week or six hours in any one day thereof.’ (Emphasis added.) Does that exemption apply when an employee works less than six hours in any one day of the applicable week, or does it apply only when an employee works less than six hours in each day of the week? (C) California Labor Code section 552 provides that an employer may not ’cause his employees to work more than six days in seven.’ What does it mean for an employer to ’cause’ an employee to work more than six days in seven: force, coerce, pressure, schedule, encourage, reward, permit, or something else?”
In re Kirchner: When a juvenile offender seeks relief from a life-without-parole sentence that has become final, does Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (d)(2), which permits most juvenile offenders to petition for recall of a life-without-parole sentence imposed pursuant to Penal Code section 190.5 after 15 years, provide an adequate remedy under Miller v. Alabama (2012) 567 U.S. ___ [132 S.Ct. 2455], as recently construed in Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016) 577 U.S. ___ [136 S.Ct. 718]?
Lengthy juvenile sentences are of continuing interest to the Supreme Court.
Shaw v. Superior Court: (1) Did the Court of Appeal err by reviewing plaintiff’s right to a jury by writ of mandate rather than appeal? (See Nessbit v. Superior Court (1931) 214 Cal. 1.) (2) Is there a right to jury trial on a retaliation cause of action under Health and Safety Code section 1278.5?
[January 26 update: the Supreme Court yesterday directed that counsel in Shaw should “be prepared at oral argument to address, in connection with the constitutional jury trial issue, the relationship between an employee’s action for wrong termination under Tameny v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (1980) 27 Cal.3d 157 and such an employee’s action for retaliatory termination under Health and Safety Code section 1278.5, subdivision (g), including the relevance of the provisions of Health and Safety Code section 1278.5, subdivision (m).”]
People v. Becerrada: This is an automatic appeal from a February 2009 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.