June 21, 2013

Summary of June 12, 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, June 12, 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

Webb v. Special Electric Co., Inc., S209927–Review Granted–June 12, 2013

The questions presented are: (1) whether a defendant who supplied raw asbestos to a manufacturer of products should be found liable to the plaintiffs on a failure to warn theory; and (2) whether it was procedurally improper for the trial court to treat the defendant’s pre-trial motions for nonsuit and for a directed verdict as a post-trial motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and if so, whether that decision was sufficiently prejudicial to warrant reversal.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division One, held in a published decision, Webb v. Special Electric Co., Inc. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 595, that the trial court erred by granting judgment notwithstanding the jury’s verdict. The Court of Appeal reasoned that the trial court’s order for judgment notwithstanding the verdict was procedurally impermissible because the court lacked authority to grant judgment notwithstanding the verdict when it did. In addition, the court held the trial court-initiated motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict lacked written notice of motion and notice of the grounds for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, both of which the Code of Civil Procedure requires.

Compton v. Superior Court (American Management Services), S210261–Review Granted & Held–June 12, 2013

The court ordered briefing deferred pending decision in Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co. LLC, S199119, which includes the following issue: Does the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. § 2), as interpreted in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Conception (2011) 563 U.S. __, 131 S.Ct. 1740, preempt state law rules invalidating mandatory arbitration provisions in a consumer contract as procedurally and substantively unconscionable?

In re A.A., S209511–Review Granted & Transferred–June 12, 2013

The question presented is whether a man’s sexual abuse of a female child in his care and in the presence of the man’s male children is sufficient by itself to support a finding that the male children are at substantial risk of sexual abuse.

The petition for review was granted and the matter is transferred to the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division One, with directions to vacate its decision and to reconsider the cause in light of In re I.J. (2013) 56 Cal.App.4th 766.

Lantz v. W.C.A.B., S209756–Review Granted & Transferred–June 12, 2013

An employee died in a motor vehicle accident on the way home from his second shift, a hold over assignment. The question presented is whether the hold over assignment constitutes extraordinary activity in relation to the employee’s routine duties, which would activate the special mission exception to the going and coming rule. If the special mission exception applies, then the employee’s beneficiaries would be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits. Therefore, the issue is whether the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board erred when it found the employee’s holdover assignment did not constitute a special mission for the employer.

Review was granted and the matter is transferred to the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, with directions to vacate its order denying the petition for writ of review and to issue a writ of review.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)




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