November 19, 2010

Summary of November 17, 2010 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, November 17, 2010. The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted (not including grant-and-transfers), (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal, or (4) the Court has denied a Court of Appeal’s publication request. Note that, for the second straight week, Justice Kennard cast the only dissenting vote from an order denying review.

Review Granted

Kirby v. Immoos Fire Protection, S185827—Review Granted & Issues Limited—November 17, 2010

This case raises issues about an employer’s ability to collect attorney’s fees for successfully defending against allegations of labor law violations brought by two former employees. The Supreme Court did not accept review of all the issues raised in the plaintiff’s petition, but limited the issues to: (1) whether Labor Code section 1194 applies to a cause of action alleging meal and rest period violations or whether attorney’s fees may be awarded under Labor Code section 218.5; and (2) whether the claims for meal and rest periods are brought alone or are accompanied by claims for minimum wage and overtime affect the analysis of the decision.

The Court of Appeal held in a published opinion that: (1) Labor Code section 1194, which provides for unilateral fee-shifting for employees in unpaid minimum and overtime wage causes of action, does not prevent a defendant employer from recovering attorney fees; (2) employer was entitled to fees incurred defending against a cause of action alleging that it failed to provide a second rest period during the work day; (3) employer, which was a subcontractor, was not entitled to recover attorney fees incurred defending a cause of action alleging that contractors entered into contracts with employer knowing that contracts did not provide sufficient funds to comply with labor and wage laws; and (4) employer was not entitled to attorney fees incurred on Unfair Practices Act cause of action.

Brookler v. Radioshack Corporation, S186357—Review Granted & Held—November 17, 2010

The issue is whether an employer has a duty to provide meal and rest breaks to hourly workers, the same issue that is before the court in Brinker Restaurant v. Superior Court, S166350.

Denied Review (with dissenting justices)

Khan v. Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System, S186213—Review Denied [Kennard, J., voting for review]—November 17, 2010

This petition asked the court to decide whether the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS) has reciprocity with the Judicial Retirement System (JRS), such that a superior court judge who had worked for the City of Los Angeles as a city attorney could retire from LACERS at his higher judicial salary. The Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division One) held in a published opinion that LACERS had no reciprocity with JRS.



Denied Court of Appeal Publication Request


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