November 12, 2012

Still in the death-penalty-appeal business, Supreme Court announces December calendar

If it had been approved by the voters, Proposition 34 would have eliminated the death penalty in California and significantly lightened the Supreme Court’s caseload. But the initiative lost by almost half a million votes and four percentage points. So, with no change in the law, the Supreme Court heard two automatic capital appeals the day after Election Day and, in its recently announced calendar, has scheduled another for December.

The December calendar will be heard on a single day in Los Angeles. Significantly, it will be one of only two Southern California appearances by the court this term. Because of budget cuts, the Chief Justice last month announced the court would not hear arguments in Los Angeles in June 2013. The court will be back in Los Angeles as usual in April 2013, however.

The court on December 4 will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as stated on the court’s website):

Bourhis v. Lord: If a corporation’s corporate status is suspended due to nonpayment of taxes at the time it files a notice of appeal, can the appeal proceed if the corporation thereafter revives its status even if it does not do so until the time for filing the notice of appeal has expired?

Riverisland Cold Storage, Inc. v. Fresno-Madera Production Credit Assn.: Does the fraud exception to the parol evidence rule permit evidence of a contemporaneous factual misrepresentation as to the terms contained in a written agreement at the time of execution, or is such evidence inadmissible under Bank of America National Trust & Savings Association v. Pendergrass (1935) 4 Cal.2d 258, 263, as “a promise directly at variance with the promise of the writing”?

Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions, Inc.: (1) May the continuing violation doctrine, under which a defendant may be held liable for actions that take place outside the limitations period if those actions are sufficiently linked to unlawful conduct within the limitations period, be asserted in an action under the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code, section 17200 et seq.)? (2) May the continuous accrual doctrine, under which each violation of a periodic obligation or duty is deemed to give rise to a separate cause of action that accrues at the time of the individual wrong, be asserted in such an action? (3) May the delayed discovery rule, under which a cause of action does not accrue until a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position has actual or constructive knowledge of facts giving rise to a claim, be asserted in such an action?

Harris v. City of Santa Monica: Does the “mixed-motive” defense apply to employment discrimination claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code, section 12900 et seq.)?

Greb v. Diamond International Corp.: Does Corporations Code section 2010, which does not limit the time for bringing lawsuits against a dissolved corporation, apply to a dissolved foreign corporation, or does the corporate survival law of the state in which the foreign corporation was incorporated apply?

People v. Williams: [This is an automatic appeal from a November 2000 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]

Aryeh, Harris, and Greb are among the older cases on the court’s docket. Review was granted over two and a half years ago in Harris and more than two years ago in Aryeh and Greb.

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