April 26, 2012

Summary of April 25, 2012 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 25, 2012. 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 note that the Court has ordered a Court of Appeal opinion in a civil case depublished for the fifth time this year, and it’s only April. It’s too early to tell whether this reflects a significant shift in the court’s thinking regarding its depublication powers, but our interest is piqued.

Review Granted

None.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

Barber v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, S200999—Review Denied [Kennard, J., voting to review]—April 25, 2012

The questions presented were: (1) whether the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBRA) permits a former peace officer to review his personnel and internal affairs files from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR); and (2) whether the CDCR adequately responded to the record request?

The Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Two, held in Barber v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 638, that: (1) the former peace officer “did not have a right under POBRA section 3306.5 to review his records after he was no longer employed with CDCR,” reasoning that both the language of section 3306.5 and the Legislative intent indicate that only current employees are entitled to review their records; and (2) the CDCR adequately responded to the records request and did not violate POBRA because, even if section 3306.5 applied, “prior to the effective date of termination, CDCR provided the [former employee] notice of termination and copies of all records relied upon” in his termination.

Depublished

Moody v. Bedford, S200174—Depublished Court of Appeal Opinion—April 25, 2012

This was a wrongful death action by minor surviving children and their guardian ad litem against defendants arising out of head-on automobile collision that killed the children’s mother. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants pursuant to the so-called “one-action rule” (Code Civ. Proc., § 377.60), concluding that an insurer’s prelitigation, policy-limits settlement of a wrongful death insurance claim with one heir, who had represented that she was the only heir, barred the plaintiffs’ subsequent wrongful death action.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Five, held in a published decision, Moody v. Bedford (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 745, that “the one-action rule does not apply to the prelitigation settlement in issue and therefore does not bar plaintiffs’ wrongful death claims against defendants.” The Supreme Court ordered the Court of Appeal’s opinion depublished. Here is our firm’s eBulletin regarding the depublication order. [Full disclosure: Horvitz & Levy LLP filed an amicus curiae letter in support of the defendants’ petition for review.]

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