The Supreme Court yesterday announced it will hear six oral arguments in April, tying last week’s argument session as the biggest calendar of the term. One case involves UC Berkeley’s controversial plan to build student housing at People’s Park.

On Wednesday, April 3, in Los Angeles, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or limited by the court itself):

Make UC a Good Neighbor v. Regents of University of California: As the Court of Appeal described it, the case involves UC Berkeley’s “immediate plan to build student housing on the current site of People’s Park, a historic landmark and the well-known locus of political activity and protest.” The issues are: (1) Does the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) (CEQA) require public agencies to consider as an environmental impact the increased social noise generated by student parties that a student housing project might bring to a community? (2) Under CEQA, when a lead agency has identified potential sites for future development and redevelopment in a programmatic planning document, is the agency required to revisit alternative locations for a proposed site-specific project within the program? The court granted review in May 2023 and later requested supplemental briefing on the significance of post-review-granted legislation that might resolve the case. More about the case here and here. Horvitz & Levy represents the Regents and other defendants in the Supreme Court.

Truck Insurance Exchange v. Kaiser Cement: When the court granted review in April 2022, it limited the issue to: “May a primary insurer seek equitable contribution from an excess insurance carrier after the primary policy underlying the excess policy has been exhausted (vertical exhaustion), or is equitable contribution from an excess insurance carrier available only after all primary policies have been exhausted (horizontal exhaustion)?” More about the case here.

Himes v. Somatics, LLC: In June 2022, the court agreed to answer this question posed by the Ninth Circuit: “Under California law, in a claim against a manufacturer of a medical product for a failure to warn of a risk, is the plaintiff required to show that a stronger risk warning would have altered the physician’s decision to prescribe the product? Or may the plaintiff establish causation by showing that the physician would have communicated the stronger risk warnings to the plaintiff, either in their patient consent disclosures or otherwise, and a prudent person in the patient’s position would have declined the treatment after receiving the stronger risk warning?” More about the case here and here.

Needham v. Superior Court: Does the Sexually Violent Predator Act (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq.) allow the People to retain a private expert to testify at trial as to whether a defendant is a sexually violent predator, or are the expert witnesses limited to those designated by the State Department of State Hospitals (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 6601 & 6603)? The court granted review in October 2022. More about the case here.

In re Harris: When the court granted review in March 2022, it limited the issue to: “What evidence may a trial court consider at a bail hearing when evaluating whether the facts are evident or the presumption great with respect to a qualifying charged offense, and whether there is a substantial likelihood the person’s release would result in great bodily harm to others? (Cal. Const., art. I, § 12, subd. (b).)” More about the case here.

People v. Nadey: This is an automatic direct appeal from an April 2000 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for death penalty appeals. Counsel was appointed in February 2006. Briefing was completed in January 2015.

The arguments will be live streamed, and opinions in the cases should file by July 1.