The Supreme Court today announced it would hear arguments in four cases next month. That continues a string of lighter than usual calendars. There haven’t been more than five arguments in a month since the court heard seven cases last June.

The smaller number of oral arguments might be due in part to Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar’s retirement. Although Cuéllar announced his retirement 147 days ago and left the court at the end of October, Governor Gavin Newsom has yet to appoint a replacement.  Vacancies hamper the court because, among other things, the court typically delays scheduling arguments in cases where the six permanent justices are tentatively evenly divided.

Like all calendars since April 2020, and for the foreseeable future, the March calendar will be remote and based in San Francisco.  (See herehereherehere, and here.)  The arguments will be live streamed, as all arguments have been since May 2016.

Because of the vacancy caused by Justice Cuéllar’s retirement, a Court of Appeal justice will be sitting on each of the March cases.  The pro tems have yet to be chosen and will be assigned on a mostly alphabetical basis. It will be the sixth straight calendar will pro tem justices.

On March 1, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or limited by the court itself):

Pulliam v. HNL Automotive Inc.: Does the word “recovery” as used in the Holder Rule (16 C.F.R. § 433.2) include attorney fees? The court granted review in April 2021. (Horvitz & Levy submitted a letter in Pulliam requesting depublication of the appellate court’s opinion, whether or not the court granted review.  The court denied depublication.)

Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc.: (1) Does a violation of Labor Code section 226.7, which requires payment of premium wages for meal and rest period violations, give rise to claims under Labor Code sections 203 and 226 when the employer does not include the premium wages in the employee’s wage statements but does include the wages earned for meal breaks? (2) What is the applicable prejudgment interest rate for unpaid premium wages owed under Labor Code section 226.7? The court granted review in January 2020.

People v. Padilla: When a judgment becomes final, but is later vacated, altered, or amended and a new sentence imposed, is the case no longer final for the purpose of applying an intervening ameliorative change in the law? The court granted review in August 2020. The court yesterday transferred a related case — People v. Federico — to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration in light of recent legislation.

People v. Parker: This is an automatic direct appeal from a February 2003 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for death penalty appeals.  Counsel was appointed in June 2008. Briefing was completed in August 2019.

[February 17 update: Pro tems announced for March calendar.]