February 28, 2013

Summary of February 27, 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, February 27, 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.

Review Granted

Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, S208173—Review Granted—February 27, 2013

The question presented is whether design professionals owe a duty to third party purchasers of residential construction. A community association alleged that two design professionals involved in the construction of condominiums were responsible for various construction defects. The association alleged that the design professionals owed a duty of care to both the association and to future residents, and that their professional negligence caused the project to violate residential construction standards. The trial court sustained the design professionals’ demurrers on the ground that the professionals owed no duty to the association or its members.

In a published opinion, Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (2012) 211 Cal.App.4th 1301, the Court of Appeal, First District, Division Five, held design professionals owe a duty to third party purchasers of residential construction, and therefore reversed the trial court’s order sustaining the demurrers. [Full disclosure: Horvitz & Levy LLP represents the petitioners in Beacon Residential.]

Central Coast Forest Association v. California Fish and Game Commission, S208181—Review Granted—February 27, 2013

The Supreme Court granted review, limited to the following issue: “’Under the California Endangered Species Act, Fish and Game Code section 2050 et seq., may the Fish and Game Commission consider a petition to delist a species on the ground that the original listing was in error? If so, does the petition at issue here contain sufficient information to warrant the Commission’s further consideration?”

In a published opinion, Central Coast Forest Association v. California Fish and Game Commission (2012) 211 Cal.App.4th 1433, the Third District Court of Appeal held a petition to delist a species classified as endangered may not be used to challenge a final determination by the Fish and Game Commission. The court reasoned that the delisting procedure is not a method “by which new information may be submitted on the merits of a final determination.” Administrative mandamus is the only method of judicial review of the merits. Additionally, the court held that the parties were bound by the agency’s decision that southern and northern coho salmon are a single evolutionary species subject to protection.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

None.

Depublished

None.

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