May 12, 2017

Summary of May 10, 2017 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 May 10, 2017. 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

Mathews v. Harris, S240156 – Review Granted – May 10, 2017

In a published decision, Mathews v. Harris (2017) 7 Cal.App.5th 334, the Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Two, affirmed the trial court’s judgment that a provision of the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), requiring therapists to report patient disclosures that they have accessed child pornography, did not violate patients’ constitutional rights to privacy.  The court determined no fundamental right existed in this case, and CANRA satisfied the rational basis test because the state had a legitimate interest in identifying and protecting sexually abused children.

This case includes the following issues: (1) Does a psychotherapy patient have a constitutional right of privacy in seeking psychotherapeutic treatment, even if the treatment entails a communication with a psychotherapist that refers to conduct constituting a crime? (2) Does the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (Pen. Code, § 11164 et seq.) violate a patient’s rights under the California Constitution by compelling disclosure of communications demonstrating “sexual exploitation,” which includes, among other things, downloading, streaming, and accessing through any electronic or digital media a depiction of a child engaged in an act of obscene sexual conduct?

Daniel v. Wayans, S240704 – Review Granted and Held – May 10, 2017

In a published decision, Daniel v. Wayans (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 367, the Court of Appeal, Second District, Division One, affirmed the trial court’s order granting a special motion to strike an actor’s complaint that alleged defendant had racially harassed the actor while filming a movie.  The trial court held that filming of the movie constituted an act of free speech protected under the anti-SLAPP statute, the film concerned an issue of public interest within the statute’s protection, and that plaintiff failed to meet his burden of prevailing on the merits.

The Supreme Court ordered briefing deferred pending its decision in Park v. Board of Trustees of California State University, S229728, which was decided on May 4, but is not yet final.  In Park, the Court held, “a claim is not subject to a motion to strike simply because it contests an action or decision that was arrived at following speech or petitioning activity, or that was thereafter communicated by means of speech or petitioning activity.  Rather, a claim may be struck only if the speech or petitioning activity itself is the wrong complained of, and not just evidence of liability or a step leading to some different act for which liability is asserted.”

In re Samantha D., S240694 – Review Granted and Held – May 10, 2017

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Four, affirmed orders in a juvenile dependency proceeding in a nonpublished opinion, In re Samantha D., B270405.  The Supreme Court ordered briefing deferred pending decision in In re R.T., S226416, which presents the following issue:  Does Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision (b)(1), authorize dependency jurisdiction without a finding that parental fault or neglect is responsible for the failure or inability to supervise or protect the child?

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)




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