Here are some of the actions of note at yesterday’s Supreme Court conference:

Third review grant. The court granted review in In re Hernandez after a 2-1 Fifth District Court of Appeal unpublished opinion affirmed the denial of an application to vacate a conviction due to inadequate advice about the immigration consequences of pleading guilty or nolo contendere to sale or transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. The majority found “the immigration consequences were clear, and the advisement given to appellant was equally clear,” while the dissent said “the language in the plea form indicating appellant ‘will’ be deported is confusing and ambiguous” because it was “followed by the sentence explaining that ‘some’ offenses require mandatory deportation.” This is the third time the Supreme Court has granted review in the case after a Fifth District affirmance. In 2020, the court granted and held pending the decision in People v. Vivar (2021) 11 Cal.5th 510 (see here) and it then remanded for reconsideration in light of that opinion. After the appellate court’s second opinion, the Supreme Court again granted and held, this time waiting for the decision in People v. Espinoza (2023) 14 Cal.5th 311 (see here) and it ordered reconsideration in light of Espinoza. Now, after a third Fifth District opinion and out of grant-and-hold options, the Supreme Court has taken the case as a straight grant.

Workers compensation exclusivity. The court also agreed to hear Ranger v. Alamitos Bay Yacht Club to resolve a conflict in decisions. The Second District, Division Eight, published opinion held an injured yacht club’s maintenance worker could not sue his employer under federal maritime law because Congress in the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act has relegated club employees to state workers’ compensation remedies, which preclude tort lawsuits. Division Eight said it “respectfully but profoundly differ[ed] with” the federal Fifth Circuit decision in Green v. Vermilion Corp. (5th Cir. 1998) 144 F.3d 332 and with the First District, Division Three, opinion in Freeze v. Lost Isle Partners (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 45, which Division Eight found “relied on Green without adding to its analysis.” The appellate court concluded that “Green’s approach clashes with our deep national strain of federalism that celebrates states as laboratories of experimentation.” The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in Green ((1999) 526 U.S. 1017) and the California Supreme Court denied review in Freeze.

COVID insurance grant-and-hold. JRK Property Holdings v. Colony Insurance Company is another grant-and-hold for Another Planet Entertainment v. Vigilant Insurance Co. (see here), where the court has agreed to answer this question posed by the Ninth Circuit: “Can the actual or potential presence of the COVID-19 virus on an insured’s premises constitute ‘direct physical loss or damage to property’ for purposes of coverage under a commercial property insurance policy?” The Second District, Division Seven’s partially published opinion in JRK answered the question “yes.” The appellate court also rejected an argument that a pollution exclusion bars coverage, but it went on to find that a pathogen exclusion does get two of the defendant insurers off the hook. Besides Another Planet, the Supreme Court has agreed to decide another COVID insurance case — John’s Grill, Inc. v. The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. — and has granted-and-held others. (See hereherehere, here, and here.) But it has also denied review and/or depublication in cases that rejected COVID insurance claims. (See here.)

Dissenting vote. The court denied review in People v. Alejandro, but Justice Joshua Groban recorded a vote to grant. The reason for the dissent is not clear because the Fourth District, Division Three, unpublished opinion addressed three issues and Justice Groban didn’t say which issue or issues were of interest to him. (See here.) Division Three held (1) a warrantless home arrest of the defendant suspected of driving under the influence was justified by the exigent circumstances of “the dissipation of blood alcohol evidence” while a warrant was obtained, (2) the defendant’s hit-and-run conviction was valid despite his contention there was insufficient evidence he had actual or constructive knowledge the accident had caused injury, and (3) the superior court had not conducted an adequate Pitchess review of the arresting officers’ personnel files.

Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were seven criminal case grant-and-holds:  one more waiting for a decision in People v. Lynch (see here); one more on hold for Lynch and the finality of last month’s opinion in People v. Salazar; one more holding for People v. Mitchell (see here); one more waiting for a decision in People v. Hardin (see here and here), which was argued two weeks ago; one on hold for People v. Arellano (see here) and for People v. Lopez (see here); and two more waiting for People v. Fletcher (see here).