April 14, 2011

Summary of April 13, 2011 conference report for civil cases

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, April 13, 2011. The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted (not including grant-and-transfers), (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal, or (4) the Court has denied a Court of Appeal’s publication request.

Review Granted

Ralphs Grocery v. United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 8, S191251 —Review Granted and held pending decision in lead case, Ralphs Grocery Company v. United Food and Commercial Workers Union, S185544—April 13, 2011.

This is a grocery chain’s appeal from the denial of its request for a preliminary injunction to bar representatives of a labor union from picketing on the chain’s property in violation of rules set by the chain. The trial court concluded that two statutes designed to protect labor picketing activity, Code of Civil Procedure section 527.3 and Labor Code section 1138.1, precluded it from issuing a preliminary injunction. The question presented is whether the two statutes violate constitutional protections of free speech.

The Court of Appeal, Fifth District, held in a published opinion, Ralphs Grocery Co. v. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 8 (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 200, that (1) strict scrutiny analysis is applied to content discrimination in speech rights created by statute, and (2) the statutes protecting labor picketing violate the liberty of speech provision of the state constitution. The majority wrote: “Our concern here is with the state establishing a priority for particular speech based on its content. The point is not that labor speech is undeserving of legislative protection but, instead, that there is no compelling reason for the state to single it out as the only form of speech that can be exercised despite the objection of the owner of private property upon which the speech activity occurs.”

Acting Presiding Justice Wiseman dissented, writing: “The majority’s approach attempts to drive the square peg of an invasion of property rights into the round hole of a constitutional free-speech violation. In doing so, the majority adjudicates the rights of nonparties where their interests are not at issue, establishes a new constitutional analysis, and, whether or not it intends to, exceeds its proper authority by circumventing the Legislature and establishing new constitutional law without legal necessity.”

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

Ringgold v. Superior Court (ASAP Copy & Print), S191797 —Review Denied [Kennard, J., voting for review]—April 13, 2011.

Underlying case not found, possibly because it was a Court of Appeal juvenile case, a paternity case, or a confidential case.



Court of Appeal Publication Request Denied


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