December 23, 2011

Summary of December 21, 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, December 21, 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, or (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal.

Review Granted

United Parcel Service Wage and Hour Cases, S197722—Review Granted and Held—December 21, 2011

The court ordered briefing deferred pending the decision in Kirby v. Immoos Fire Protection, Inc., S185827, which presents the following issues for review: “(1) Does Labor Code section 1194 apply to a cause of action alleging meal and rest period violations, or may attorney’s fees be awarded under Labor Code section 218.5? (2) Is our analysis affected by whether the claims for meal and rest periods are brought alone or are accompanied by claims for minimum wage and overtime?”

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Eight, held in an unpublished decision that the defendant was not entitled to recover attorney’s fees under Labor Code section 218.5 for successfully defending a claim for alleged failure to pay meal and rest break premiums under Labor Code section 226.7. This is the same issue the Second District, Division Eight, decided in United Parcel Service Wage and Hour Cases (McGann), S191908, in which review has also been granted and held.

Estate of Giraldin, S197694—Review Granted—December 21, 2011

The question presented is: When, during his lifetime, the settlor of a revocable intervivos trust appoints someone other than himself to act as trustee, after the settlor dies and the trust becomes irrevocable, do the remainder beneficiaries have standing to sue the trustee for breaches of fiduciary duty allegedly committed during the period of the trust’s revocability?

The Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three, held in a published opinion, In re Estate of Giraldin (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 577, that, during the settlor’s life, the trustee owed a duty only to the settlor and not to the trust beneficiaries. Thus, the beneficiaries lacked standing to complain of any alleged breach of duty that occurred before the settlor’s death.

Hillside Memorial Park v. Golden State Water Company, S197767—Review Granted and Held—December 21, 2011

This is an action by water companies and a city to determine ground water rights and to enjoin alleged annual overdraft. The court ordered briefing deferred pending further order of the court.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Five, held in a published decision, Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary v. Golden State Water Co. (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 658, that: (1) the trial court had jurisdiction to consider a motion to amend a 1961 judgment imposing a physical solution on the West Coast Groundwater Basin; (2) the trial court erred in denying the motion to amend the judgment to allow use of “dewatered” acreage without holding an evidentiary hearing; and (3) the trial court erred in requiring that the moving parties obtain environmental impact reports under the California Environmental Quality Act before litigating a physical solution to the issue of dewatered acreage. The court reversed the order denying the motion to amend the judgment and remanded to the trial court for a full hearing on a physical solution to the water storage issue.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)




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