The Supreme Court today posted its February oral argument calendar, which we now know will be Justice Carlos Moreno’s last. Like the January calendar (conducted yesterday), the court will hear only five cases next month. These are lighter-than-average calendars, which may be attributable in part to there being a new Chief Justice or to the fact that the court has been granting full review in fewer cases. The arguments will all take place on February 8 in San Francisco (February arguments are normally held in Sacramento, but the court building there is being renovated).

The five February cases (and the issues presented, as stated on the court’s website) are:

Pooshs v. Philip Morris USA, Inc.: When multiple distinct personal injuries allegedly arise from smoking tobacco, does the earliest injury trigger the statute of limitations for all claims, including those based on a later injury? (For those interested in the Ninth Circuit’s recent referral of the Prop. 8 case to the California Supreme Court and in knowing how long it might take the Supreme Court to act on the referral, note that Pooshs is also a case in which the Ninth Circuit asked the Supreme Court to answer a state law question. The Supreme Court granted the Ninth Circuit’s request in Pooshs 6 weeks after it was docketed and is now hearing argument more than 20 months after granting the request.)

Cabral v. Ralphs Grocery Company: (1) Does a big-rig truck driver owe a duty of care to freeway motorists not to park for non-emergency reasons in an “Emergency Parking Only” area at the side of a freeway? (2) Was the driver’s act of parking in the “Emergency Parking Only” area not a substantial factor, as a matter of law, in causing plaintiff’s injuries in this case?

In re Baycol Cases I and II: Did the “death knell doctrine” require plaintiff to immediately appeal the sustaining of a demurer as to class claims when the ruling resolved both individual and class claims, or did the one final judgment rule apply and require a single appeal from the subsequent entry of final judgment on all claims?

People v. Hernandez (Arturo Jesus): Did the trial court abuse its discretion in requiring a uniformed, armed deputy sheriff to stand or sit immediately behind the defendant during his testimony?

People v. Murtishaw (David Leslie): [This is an automatic appeal from a death sentence. The court’s website does not list issues for such appeals.]