August 30, 2013

Summary of August 28, 2013 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, August 28, 2013. 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 briefing in a case that had previously been the subject of a grant-and-hold.

Review Granted

Tract 19051 Homeowners v. Kemp, S211596—Review Granted and Issues Limited—August 28, 2013

The question presented is this: Is a homeowner who prevailed in an action initiated by the homeowners association to enforce its governing documents entitled to attorney fees under Civil Code section 1354, when the homeowner prevailed because the subdivision was not a common interest development and its governing documents had not been properly reenacted?

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Four, held in an unpublished opinion, Tract 19051 Homeowners Association v. Kemp (May 15, 2013, B235015) 2013 WL 1993667, that the prevailing homeowner was not entitled to attorney fees under section 1354. Since the subdivision was not a common interest development, section 1354 was inapplicable. The statute governs only when a homeowners association of a common interest development seeks to enforce its governing documents against a homeowner.

Briefing Ordered

Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc., S208345—Briefing Ordered—August 28, 2013

The question presented is whether an arbitration clause in an employment application is unenforceable as substantively unconscionable for lack of mutuality.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division One, held in a published opinion, Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc. (2012) 212 Cal.App.4th 221, that the arbitration agreement was not substantively unconscionable for lack of mutuality because: (1) the agreement did not exempt any claims of the employer from arbitration nor was the availability of injunctive relief tied to specific claims; (2) the employer was not more likely than the employee to seek injunctive relief; and (3) injunctive relief is available under agreements like this one that are covered by the California Arbitration Act.

In March 2013, the Court granted review in Baltazar and deferred briefing pending resolution of similar issues before the Court in Wisdom v. Accentcare, S200128. The parties in Wisdom settled last month. The Court has now ordered briefing in Baltazar.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

None.

Depublished

None.

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