April 7, 2017

There will be a 10-case early-May calendar

The Supreme Court today announced its early-May calendar.  May is the only month with two oral argument sessions, and those calendars — and the one in June — are often larger than normal, because the court is putting extra cases into the pipeline before the argument-free months of July and August.

On May 3 and 4, in San Francisco, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as stated on the court’s website):

Mountain Air Enterprises, LLC v. Sundowner Towers, LLC:  (1) Does the assertion of an agreement as an affirmative defense implicate the attorney fee provision in that agreement?  (2) Does the term “action” or “proceeding” in Civil Code section 1717 and in attorney fee provisions encompass the assertion of an affirmative defense?

Lewis v. Superior Court:  (1) Do a physician’s patients have a protected privacy interest in the controlled substance prescription data collected and submitted to the California Department of Justice under Health and Safety Code section 11165?  (2) If so, is disclosure of such data to the Medical Board of California justified by a compelling state interest?

Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority:  (1) Does the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act [ICCTA] (49 U.S.C. § 10101 et seq.) preempt the application of the California Environmental Quality Act [CEQA] (Pub. Res. Code, § 21050 et seq.) to a state agency’s proprietary acts with respect to a state-owned and funded rail line or is CEQA not preempted in such circumstances under the market participant doctrine (see Town of Atherton v. California High Speed Rail Authority (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 314)?  (2) Does the ICCTA preempt a state agency’s voluntary commitments to comply with CEQA as a condition of receiving state funds for a state-owned rail line and/or leasing state-owned property?

People v. DeLeon:  In light of the changes made to the parole revocation process in the 2011 realignment legislation (Stats. 2011, ch. 15; Stats. 2012, ch. 43), is a parolee entitled to a probable cause hearing conducted according to the procedures outlined in Morrissey v. Brewer (1972) 408 U.S. 471 before parole can be revoked?

Lynch v. California Coastal Commission:  (1) Did plaintiffs, who objected in writing and orally to certain conditions contained within a coastal development permit approved by defendant California Coastal Commission and who filed a petition for writ of mandate (Code Civ. Proc., § 1094.5) challenging those conditions, waive their right to challenge the conditions by subsequently executing and recording deed restrictions recognizing the existence of the conditions and constructing the project as approved?  (2) Did the permit condition allowing plaintiffs to construct a seawall on their property, but requiring them to apply for a new permit in 20 years or to remove the seawall, violate Public Resources Code section 30235 or the federal Constitution?  (3) Were plaintiffs required to obtain a permit to reconstruct the bottom portion of a bluff-to-beach staircase that had been destroyed by a series of winter storms, or was that portion of the project exempt from permitting requirements pursuant to Public Resources Code section 30610, subdivision (g)(1)?

Williams v. Superior Court:  (1) Is the plaintiff in a representative action under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.) entitled to discovery of the names and contact information of other “aggrieved employees” at the beginning of the proceeding or is the plaintiff first required to show good cause in order to have access to such information?  (2) In ruling on such a request for employee contact information, should the trial court first determine whether the employees have a protectable privacy interest and, if so, balance that privacy interest against competing or countervailing interests, or is a protectable privacy interest assumed?  (See Hill v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1; Pioneer Electronics (USA), Inc. v. Superior Court (2007) 40 Cal.4th 360.)

Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments:  Must the environmental impact report for a regional transportation plan include an analysis of the plan’s consistency with the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals reflected in Executive Order No. S-3-05 to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.)?

In re R.T.:  Does Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision (b)(1), authorize dependency jurisdiction without a finding that parental fault or neglect is responsible for the failure or inability to supervise or protect the child?

In re Albert C.:  (1) Did the juvenile court violate minor’s due process rights by detaining him well past the 120-day limit established in the Los Angeles County Superior Court Juvenile Division’s “Amended Competency to Stand Trial Protocol” (Protocol), without evidence of progress toward attaining competency?  (2) Does a violation of the Protocol establish a presumption of a due process violation?

People v. Estrada:  Did the trial court improperly rely on the facts of counts dismissed under a plea agreement to find defendant ineligible for resentencing under the provisions of Proposition 36?

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