At the Supreme Court’s Wednesday conference, notable actions included:

  • In Presbyterian Camp and Conference Centers, Inc. v. Superior Court, the court agreed to resolve a split in Court of Appeal authority about whether a corporation can be vicariously liable for the costs of suppressing and investigating fires its agents or employees negligently set, allow to be set, or allow to escape.  [Disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy filed the petition for review.]  In a published opinion, the Second District, Division Six, Court of Appeal, agreed with the dissent in a 2017 Third District decision and held two statutes permit vicarious liability.  If affirmed, the decision would allow the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to continue its action against a corporation for costs the Department incurred regarding a 7,500-acre fire in 2016.
  • The court granted review in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, and limited the issue to, “Did the Legislature intend the term ‘regular rate of compensation’ in Labor Code section 226.7, which requires employers to pay a wage premium if they fail to provide a legally compliant meal period or rest break, to have the same meaning and require the same calculations as the term ‘regular rate of pay’ under Labor Code section 510(a), which requires employers to pay a wage premium for each overtime hour?”  A divided Second District, Division Three, ruled for the employer in a published opinion, concluding the phrases have different meanings.  The dispute is whether “regular rate of compensation” means just an employee’s hourly rate or whether it also includes nondiscretionary bonuses.
  • The court denied review in Cal200, Inc. v. Apple Valley Unified School District, but it depublished the opinion of the First District, Division Two.  The appellate court held a petitioner could not obtain an injunction, but only mandamus relief (to which the respondents agreed the petitioner was entitled), to enforce a statute requiring a minimum amount of physical education in schools.
  • The court denied review in Short v. Superior Court, but Justice Joshua Groban recorded a vote to grant.  In a case involving allegations of sex abuse of the defendant’s adopted daughter, the Sixth District’s published opinion addressed what it called a first impression issue:  “whether the [statutory] bar on successive prosecutions bars the addition of new charges following a trial where the jury acquitted on some counts, convicted on others, and could not agree on the remainder.”  The appellate court allowed the prosecution to add new charges.
  • There were six criminal case grant-and-holds and one criminal case grant-and-transfer.