October 26, 2012

Summary of October 24, 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, October 24, 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

Caron v. Mercedes Benz Financial Services USA, S205263—Review Granted & Held—October 24, 2012

The question presented is whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) pre-empts California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act’s (CLRA) prohibition against class action waivers. The Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three, held in a published opinion, Caron v. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 7, that the FAA pre-empts the CLRA’s prohibition against class action waivers.

The Supreme Court ordered briefing deferred pending decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, S204032, which includes the issue of whether AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 563 U.S. __ [131 S. Ct. 1740, 179 L.Ed.2d 742] impliedly overrules Gentry v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 443, with respect to contractual class action waivers in the context of non-waivable labor law rights.

American States Insurance Company v. Ramirez, S205073—Review Granted—October 24, 2012

The question presented is whether a “stuffer” included in the envelope containing an employers’ insurance policy documents sent to the insured, and which requested information about employees driving their own cars on company business, was part of the policy, such that the insured employer had an objectively reasonable expectation of coverage for an employee’s accident that occurred while the employee was driving his own car in the course of the employer’s business.

The Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Two, held in an unpublished decision, American States Insurance Company v. Ramirez, that it would not have been objectively reasonable to believe that the “stuffer” was part of the policy, and even if the “stuffer” was part of the policy, it was not objectively reasonable to believe that it broadened the coverage provided in the policy. (Full disclosure: Horvitz & Levy LLP is counsel for American States Insurance Company in this matter.)

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

Goldstone v. County of Santa Cruz (Alimur Park Homeowners Association), S204943—Review Denied [Kennard, J. and Werdegar, J. voting for review]—October 24, 2012

The question presented was whether, under Government Code section 66427.5, a county may take into account the results of a resident survey when deciding whether to grant an application to convert a mobile home park from rental ownership to resident ownership.

The Court of Appeal, Sixth District, held in a published opinion, Goldstone v. County of Santa Cruz (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 1038, that the county could take into account the results of a resident survey in deciding whether to grant or deny the application.

Depublished

Harris v. Superior Court (Liberty Mutual Insurance Company), S205097—Depublished Court of Appeal Opinion and Review Denied [Kennard, J voting for review]—October 24, 2012

The issue is whether, under regulations promulgated by California’s Industrial Welfare Commission, an administrative exemption to overtime compensation requirements applies to insurance claims adjusters.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division One, held in a published opinion, Harris v. Superior Court (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 1225, that insurance adjusters are not primarily engaged in work that is directly related to management policies or general business operations and therefore are not exempt administrative employees.

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