March 30, 2012

Summary of March 28, 2012 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 28, 2012. 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

Los Angeles Unified School District v. Garcia, S199639—Ninth Circuit’s Certification Request Granted—March 28, 2012

As we noted here, the Court granted the Ninth Circuit’s request to answer the question, “Does California Education Code § 56041 — which provides generally that for qualifying children ages eighteen to twenty-two, the school district where the child’s parent resides is responsible for providing special education services — apply to children who are incarcerated in county jails?”

Wisdom v. Accentcare, S200128—Review Granted—March 28, 2012

This is an action by employees against their employer alleging they were not paid for overtime and time they spent handling off-hour calls. The employer filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion. The Court of Appeal, Third District, affirmed in a published decision, Wisdom v. AccentCare, Inc. (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 591, finding the arbitration agreement was procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The question presented for review is whether an arbitration clause in an employment application that provides “I agree to submit to binding arbitration all disputes and claims arising out of the submission of this application” is unenforceable as substantively unconscionable for lack of mutuality, or does the language create a mutual agreement to arbitrate all such disputes? (See Roman v. Superior Court (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 1462.)

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

Maurizio, R. v. L.C., S199410—Review Denied—March 28, 2012 [Kennard, J. voting for review]

This was a petition for return of an abducted child, filed by an Italian father against his estranged American wife under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention), as implemented by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, title 42 United States Code section 11601 et seq. The trial court denied the father’s petition. The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division One, reversed in a published decision, Maurizio R. v. L.C. (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 616. The question presented was whether the trial court properly imposed conditions on the child’s repatriation to Italy, which conditions hinged on the abducting mother’s cooperation and required the petitioning father to fulfill a requirement beyond his control.

Baeza v. Superior Court, S199565—Review Denied—March 28, 2012 [Kennard, J. voting for review]

This was an action by homeowners against a developer, alleging construction defects. The developer moved to compel some homeowners to comply with contractual provisions for nonadversarial prelitigation procedures including mediation and judicial reference, and to compel others to comply with statutory nonadversarial prelitigation procedures and contractual provisions for mediation and arbitration. The trial court granted the developer’s motion.

The Court of Appeal, Fifth District, denied the homeowners’ writ petition in a published decision, Baeza v. Superior Court (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 1214. The questions presented were: (1) whether, under the Right to Repair Act, Civil Code sections 895 through 945.5, the homeowners were released from the requirement of complying with the statutory or contractual prelitigation procedures as a result of the developer’s failure to comply with certain statutory disclosure requirements; and (2) whether the prelitigation nonadversarial procedures in question were unenforceable because some of the homeowners’ contracts contained provisions limiting damages that violated related statutes.



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