Actions of note at the Supreme Court’s Wednesday conference yesterday included:

  • The court granted review in Barefoot v. Jennings, where the Fifth District Court of Appeal, in a published opinion, held a child had no standing to raise a challenge — for trustor incompetency — to a trust amendment that disinherited her, because she was not a beneficiary of that amendment, but was a beneficiary only of prior, superseded amendments.
  • The court also granted review in Villanueva v. Fidelity National Title Co., an Unfair Competition Law class action matter.  In this case, the court limited the issues, to these:  “(1) Insurance Code section 12414.26 provides:  ‘No act done, action taken, or agreement made pursuant to the authority conferred by Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 12401) or Article 5.7 (commencing with Section 12402) of this chapter shall constitute a violation of or grounds for prosecution or civil proceedings under any other law of this state heretofore or hereafter enacted which does not specifically refer to insurance.’  Does this statute provide immunity to an underwritten title company for charging consumers for services for which there have been no rate filings with the Insurance Commissioner?  Stated otherwise, by charging unfiled rates, did Fidelity act ‘pursuant to the authority conferred by Article 5.5’?  (2) Does the Insurance Commissioner have exclusive jurisdiction over any action against an underwritten title company for services charged to the consumer, but not disclosed to the Department of Insurance?”  In a published opinion, the Sixth District found immunity and exclusive Insurance Commissioner jurisdiction.
  • The court issued a grant-and-hold order in Serova v. Sony Music EntertainmentSerova will be waiting for a decision in FilmOn v. DoubleVerify, Inc., which raises this anti-SLAPP issue:  in determining whether challenged activity furthers the exercise of constitutional free speech rights on a matter of public interest within the meaning of Civil Code section 425.16, should a court take into consideration the commercial nature of that speech, including the identity of the speaker, the identity of the audience and the intended purpose of the speech?  The Second District, Division Two, Serova published opinion held the superior court should have granted a portion of an anti-SLAPP motion brought by defendants who had marketed a posthumous Michael Jackson album.
  • The court asked for supplemental briefing in People v. Mateo regarding the effect of new felony-murder legislation.
  • The court denied review in People v. Cruz-Lopez, but Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar recorded a vote to grant.  The First District, Division One published opinion in the case rejected a claim that defendant’s attorney had not properly advised him of adverse immigration consequences of several guilty pleas.
  • Justice Leondra Kruger also recorded a vote in a case where the court denied review — GameStop, Inc. v. Superior Court.  The Fourth District, Division Two’s published opinion interpreted Code of Civil Procedure section 394 and held an Unfair Competition Law action — alleging violations of the Secondhand Dealers Law — filed by a district attorney was properly venued in that district attorney’s county.
  • In a death penalty habeas corpus proceeding — In re Watson— the court exercised its discretion under Proposition 66 to retain the case for decision, although it ordered cause to be shown in the superior court regarding whether the death row inmate is entitled to relief on the ground of ineffective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase of the trial in failing to obtain an adequate mental health examination.
  • There were three criminal case grant-and-holds, four former grant-and-holds dismissed, and a dozen criminal case grant-and-transfers.