There were no straight grants at the Supreme Court’s Wednesday conference, but actions of note included:
- The court apparently is not ready just yet to write another opinion about what are permissible methods of limiting pension benefits. Instead of un-holding and ordering briefing, it transferred for reconsideration or dismissed review in four pension grant-and-holds — Hipsher v. Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (see here), Marin Association of Public Employees v. Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association (see here and here), McGlynn v. State of California (see here), and Wilmot v. Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association (see here) — in light of the July decision in Alameda County Deputy Sheriff’s Association v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association. In 2019, the court decided a different pension case, Cal Fire Local 2881 v. California Public Employees’ Retirement System.
- The court also transferred another grant-and-hold — In re Certified Tire and Service Centers Wage and Hour Cases (see here) — for reconsideration in light of the June decision in Oman v. Delta Air Lines, Inc. Uncommonly, the transfer order includes citations to specific portions of the Oman opinion.
- The court granted-and-held in one civil case, Domondon v. Three Olives Inc., which is now one of a few waiting for a decision in Sheen v. Wells Fargo Bank (see here). In Sheen, the court is expected to decide whether a mortgage servicer owes a borrower a duty of care to refrain from making material misrepresentations about the status of a foreclosure sale following the borrower’s submission of, and the servicer’s agreement to review, an application to modify a mortgage loan. The Second District, Division Eight, Court of Appeal, issued the Sheen opinion now under review and also the unpublished opinion in Domondon, which, among other rulings, follows Sheen in holding that a lender does not “owe[ ] a tort duty to a distressed borrower in negotiating a loan modification.”
- The court denied an original writ petition that, according to the court’s order, asked “for an emergency order waiving the California bar examination requirement for admission to the practice of law and granting immediate diploma privilege admission to applicants who have graduated from law school with either a J.D. or an LL.M degree; who are currently registered for the October 2020 California Bar Examination; and who otherwise meet all qualifications for admission to the State Bar of California.” (See reports by Henrik Nilsson in the Daily Journal; by Sam Skolnik, Joyce E. Cutler, and Chris Opfer in Bloomberg Law; and by Mike LaSusa in Law360.) The court has twice postponed the bar exam (now scheduled for October 5 and 6), and it lowered the exam’s passing score and directed temporary provisional licensing for 2020 law school graduates. (See here.)
- The denied another original writ petition, this one for certiorari, in Whitfield v. Appellate Division. According to an invitation to the Judicial Council to informally respond, the petition challenged “the validity of Appendix I Emergency Rules Related to COVID-19, Rule 1.” That rule, which the Judicial Council has since ended, temporarily halted most unlawful detainer actions in the state. Chief Justice — and Judicial Council chair — Tani Cantil-Sakauye was recused. (See here, here, here, and here.)
- The court denied review in People v. Rougely, but Justice Goodwin Liu recorded a vote to grant. The Second District, Division Six, unpublished opinion rejected a Batson/Wheeler challenge to the prosecution’s peremptory challenge of a Black prospective juror, an issue of special interest to Justice Liu (see here). The appellate court also ruled on a number of other issues, however, so it’s uncertain what prompted Liu’s unexplained vote.
- There were 12 criminal case grant-and-holds: Nine more holding for a decision in People v. Lewis (see here); one more holding for People v. Tirado (see here); one holding for People v. Garcia and People v. Valencia (see here); and one more holding for People v. Raybon (see here).
- Two criminal case grant-and-holds were transferred to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration in light of the July decision in People v. Anderson.