March 28, 2014

Summary of March 26, 2014 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, March 19, 2014.  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.  As we have already noted, the Court agreed this week to answer another question of state law pursuant to the Ninth Circuit’s request.

Review Granted

None.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

Maral v. City of Live Oak, S215000—Review Denied [Kennard, Werdegar, and Liu, JJ., voting for review]—March 26, 2014

The City of Live Oak passed an ordinance prohibiting the cultivation and sale of marijuana for any purpose within the city limits.  Plaintiffs sued to enjoin the enforcement of the ordinance, arguing that California’s Compassionate Use Act (CUA) and Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) grant them the right to cultivate marijuana.

In a published opinion, the Third District Court of Appeal held the CUA and MMP do not preempt a city’s police power to ban marijuana cultivation within its limits.  Citing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, Inc. (2013) 56 Cal.4th 729, the court stated that the CUA and MMP  do not create a “broad right” to access medical marijuana and neither the CUA nor the MMP preempt city and county authority to regulate or prohibit marijuana distribution facilities.  The Court of Appeal applied Inland Empire’s reasoning to marijuana cultivation in addition to distribution.

Depublished

None.

Granted Ninth Circuit’s Request to Answer Certified Question of State Law

Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness v. Cable News Network, S216351—Ninth Circuit Question of State Law Granted—March 26, 2014

The Ninth Circuit requested that the California Supreme Court answer the following question: The California Disabled Persons Act provides that “[i]ndividuals with disabilities shall be entitled to full and equal access, as other members of the general public, to accommodations, advantages, facilities . . . and privileges of . . . places of public accommodation . . . and other places to which the general public is invited.” Does the Act’s reference to “places of public accommodation” include web sites, which are non-physical places?

The Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. (GLAD) requested that Time Warner Inc., which wholly owns Cable News Network, Inc. (CNN), caption all of the videos on its news web sites (such as CNN.com) so that hearing-impaired visitors could have full access to the online videos. When an agreement could not be reached, GLAD filed suit in state court, alleging violations of the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Disabled Persons Act. CNN removed the action to federal court and filed a motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP statute.

The Ninth Circuit concluded that the action arose from conduct in furtherance of CNN’s free speech rights and that GLAD could not prove a probability of prevailing on its Unruh Act claims. The court deferred decision on whether GLAD could prove a probability of prevailing on its Disabled Persons Act claims pending resolution of the certified question.

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