The Supreme Court’s first calendar of 2020 will have six cases on it.

One is People v. Fayed, an automatic direct death penalty appeal that was originally scheduled for argument in September.  The case was pulled from that calendar, however, and the court ordered and received briefing regarding whether any laws were violated when a deputy district attorney who had prosecuted the defendant in the case later became a partner in the law firm currently representing the defendant on appeal.  (Related:  here, here, and here.)  It’s unclear if the rescheduling of the argument means the court is satisfied with defense counsel’s response.

On January 7, in San Francisco, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or stated by the court itself):

Montrose Chemical Corporation of California v. Superior Court:  When continuous property damage occurs during several periods for which an insured purchased multiple layers of excess insurance, does the rule of “horizontal exhaustion” require the insured to exhaust excess insurance at lower levels for all periods before obtaining coverage from higher level excess insurance in any period?  Sixth District Court of Appeal Justice Franklin Elia and First District, Division Four, Justice Tracie Brown are sitting pro tem, in place of Justices Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan, who are recused.  The court granted review in November 2017.

Rockefeller Technology Investments (Asia) VII v. Changzhou Sinotype Technology Co., Ltd.:  Can private parties contractually agree to legal service of process by methods not expressly authorized by the Hague Convention?  At stake is a $414 million judgment.  The court granted review in September 2018.

Kim v. Reins International California, Inc.:  Does an employee bringing an action under the Private Attorney General Act (Lab. Code, § 1698 et seq.) lose standing to pursue representative claims as an “aggrieved employee” by dismissing his or her individual claims against the employer?  The court granted review in March 2018.

People v. Bullard:  Does Proposition 47 (“the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act”) apply to the offense of unlawful taking or driving a vehicle (Veh. Code, § 10851), because it is a lesser included offense of Penal Code section 487, subdivision (d), and that offense is eligible for resentencing to a misdemeanor under Penal Code sections 490.2 and 1170.18?  The court granted review in February 2017, but deferred action pending the court’s November 2017 opinion in People v. Page.  In February 2018, the court un-held Bullard and directed the parties to brief: “‘Does equal protection or the avoidance of absurd consequences require that misdemeanor sentencing under Penal Code sections 490.2 and 1170.18 extend not only to those convicted of violating Vehicle Code section 10851 by theft, but also to those convicted for taking a vehicle without the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession?’  (See People v. Page (2017) 3 Cal.5th 1175, 1188, fn. 5.)”

People v. Fayed:  This is an automatic direct appeal from a November 2011 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such cases.  Uncommonly, there is retained counsel in this automatic appeal.  Initial briefing was completed in October 2015.

People v. Orozco:  Can a felony conviction for receiving a stolen vehicle in violation of Penal Code section 496d be reclassified as a misdemeanor under Proposition 47 in light of Penal Code section 496, subdivision (a), which provides that receiving other stolen property is a misdemeanor when the value of the property does not exceed $950?  The court granted review (for a second time) in August 2018.