October 21, 2010

Summary of October 20, 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, October 20, 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.

Review Granted

City of Alhambra v. County of Los Angeles, S185457—Review Granted—October 20, 2010

The issue presented is the proper calculation under Revenue and Taxation Code section 97.75 of the fee a county may charge local governmental entities within its jurisdiction for property tax administration services the county performs under two designated tax statutes, Triple Flip (Rev. & Tax. Code, § 97.68) and the Vehicle License Fee Swap (Rev. & Tax Code, § 97.70).

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Three, held in a published opinion, City of Alhambra v. County of Los Angeles (2010) 186 Cal.App.4th 537, that: (1) the statute authorizing recovery of Vehicle License Fee Swap and Triple Flip administration costs did not authorize recovery of costs of the property tax system as a whole, and (2) the county could not include Vehicle License Fee Swap and Triple Flip payments in calculating cities’ general property tax administration fees.

Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions, S184929—Review Granted—October 20, 2010

The issues presented are whether the doctrine of continuing violations should be applied to violations of the Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code section 17200, et seq. (UCL), and whether the UCL cause of action of a lessee of copier equipment accrued more than four years before he filed his action against the equipment’s lessor.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Eight, held in a published decision, Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions (2010) 185 Cal.App.4th 1159, that the lessee’s action was time-barred under the UCL’s four-year statute of limitations (Bus, & Prof. Code, §17208) because: (1) the continuing violations doctrine did not apply to the lessee’s UCL claim, and (2) the lessee was bound by his admission in his initial complaint that the lessor first made wrongful charges more than four years before the lessee filed his action. Justice Laurence Rubin dissented, writing: “I part with the majority because, in my view, there are several claims alleged in the operative second-amended complaint that do not appear on the face of the pleading to be barred by the statute of limitations even if others are legally stale.”

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

Snatchko v. Westfield, LLC, S186415—Review Denied [Baxter and Chin, JJ., voting for review]

The issue presented was whether a private shopping center’s rule that regulated conversations in common areas of the mall about topics unrelated to the commercial activities of the mall and its tenants violated the right to free speech under Article I, Section 2 of the California Constitution. The mall permitted third parties to use designated portions of its common areas for “non-commercial expressive activities.” The mall required, however, that such third parties submit an application in advance and limit their expressive activities to the designated areas within the mall.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice of California nominee Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the Third District Court of Appeal held in a published opinion, Snatchko v. Westfield LLC (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 469, that: (1) the mall’s rule was a content-based restriction on speech that distinguished between commercial and non-commercial speech and was therefore subject to strict scrutiny; (2) the mall’s owner failed to demonstrate that the rule was necessary to serve the mall’s interests; (3) the owner failed to demonstrate that its rule was the least restrictive means of serving its interests; and (4) the rule was impermissibly overbroad and vague because the mall’s owner could not define with precision the “expressive activities” subject to its rules.

Full disclosure: Horvitz & Levy LLP represented the mall owner in the Court of Appeal.



Court of Appeal Publication Request Denied


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