The following is our summary of the Supreme Court’s actions on petitions for review in civil cases from the Court’s conference on Wednesday, August 18, 2010. The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted (not including grant-and-transfers), (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal, or (4) the Court has denied a Court of Appeal’s publication request.

Review Granted

Greb v. Diamond International, S183365—Review Granted—August 18, 2010

The issue presented is whether California Corporations Code section 2010, which permits lawsuits to be filed against a dissolved corporation irrespective of the date of dissolution, applies to a dissolved Delaware corporation.

The Court of Appeal, First District, Division One, held that: (1) a dissolved Delaware corporation was amenable to suit for only three years under Delaware law, and (2) the California statute providing that dissolved corporations may be sued irrespective of the date of dissolution does not apply to out-of-state corporations.

Serrano v. Stefan Merli Plastering, S183372—Review Granted—August 18, 2010

The issue is whether the plaintiffs enforced an important right affecting the public interest so as to be entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees under the private attorney general statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5. The plaintiffs successfully challenged as unreasonable the fee a court reporter charged the non-noticing party for an expedited deposition transcript and seek their attorneys’ fees.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Three, held that the plaintiffs did not enforce an important right affecting the public interest and were not entitled to attorneys’ fees under the private attorney general doctrine. Justice H. Walter Croskey dissented.

Professional Engineers in California Government v. Schwarzenegger, S185404—Review Granted & Held—August 18, 2010

The issue is whether the Governor has the authority to direct the unpaid furlough of state employees, the same issue that is before the court in Professional Engineers in California Government et al. v. Arnold Schwarzenegger et. al., S183411, which is scheduled for oral argument on Wednesday, September 8, 2010.

Retired Employees Assoc. v. County of Orange, S184059—Certified Question of State Law; Request Granted—August 18, 2010

The Ninth Circuit certified the following question to the Court: Whether, as a matter of California law, a California county and its employees can form an implied contract that confers vested rights to health benefits on retired county employees.

In the Ninth Circuit proceeding, 610 F.3d 1099, an association of retired county employees sued a county, seeking an injunction prohibiting the county from splitting a pool of active and retired employees, which action resulted in significantly increased premiums for retirees’ health care benefits. The plaintiffs claim constitutional violations by impairment of contract, and that a prior consistent practice of pooling created an implied contract to continue pooling through the retirees’ lifetimes. The federal district court granted the county summary judgment on the ground that the county cannot be liable for any obligation it did not enter through an explicit Board resolution.

Review Denied (with dissenting justice)




Court of Appeal Publication Request Denied