February 1, 2013

Summary of January 30, 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, January 30, 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

Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc., S206874—Review Granted—January 30, 2013

The question presented is whether the trial court properly denied certification of a class of newspaper home delivery carriers. Plaintiffs, three home delivery carriers, allege that their newspaper violated California labor laws by classifying home delivery carriers as independent contractors rather than employees. The trial court denied class certification, holding that common issues did not predominate among the carriers because there were numerous variations in how the carriers performed their jobs.

In a published opinion, Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc. (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 77, the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Four, held the variations in job performance do not present individual issues, which preclude class certification, and therefore, the trial court erred in refusing to certify the class.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center v. County of Siskiyou (Roseburg Forest Productions), S206918—Review Denied [Kennard, J., voting for review]—January 30, 2013

The question presented was whether the trial court properly denied a petition for writ of mandate claiming that approval of a project expanding a wood veneer manufacturing facility for cogeneration of electricity for resale, and the related certification of the project’s environmental impact report (EIR), violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the EIR did not sufficiently analyze possible alternatives and failed to disclose, analyze, and mitigate pollution caused by the project.

In a published opinion, Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center v. County of Siskiyou (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 184, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment, holding that although the EIR contained minor deficiencies and inaccuracies, those errors did not prejudice the environmental review process.



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