December 2, 2010

The new Chief Justice’s first calendar

As the current Chief Justice prepares for his last oral arguments next week, the Supreme Court today posted its January calendar, which will be the incoming Chief Justice’s first.

It’s a relatively light calendar, just five arguments on one day. (Next week, the court will hear eight cases over two days; last month, the court heard ten cases.) Uncommonly, four of the five cases are civil; the fifth is a death penalty appeal. The four civil cases (and the issues presented, as stated on the court’s website) are:

Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc.: Does a retailer violate the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971 (Civ. Code, section 1747 et seq.), which prohibits retailers from recording a customer’s “personal identification information” when the customer uses a credit card in a transaction, by recording a customer’s zip code for the purpose of later using it and the customer’s name to obtain the customer’s address through a reverse search database?

Bruns v. E-Commerce Exchange, Inc.: Does a stay of discovery constitute a stay of the action within the meaning of Code of Civil Procedure section 583.340, subdivision (c), such that the period during which discovery was stayed should be excluded in determining the time within which the action had to be brought to trial? (Horvitz & Levy is appellate counsel for E-Commerce Exchange, Inc.)

Century-National Insurance Co. v. Garcia: May an insurer enforce an exclusion clause in a fire insurance policy that denies coverage to innocent insureds for damages from a fire intentionally caused by a coinsured, or does such a clause impermissibly reduce coverage that is statutorily mandated?

Tarrant Bell Property LLC v. Superior Court: Does the trial court have discretion to deny a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 638 to refer a dispute to a referee in accordance with the pre-dispute agreement of the parties?

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