At its conference yesterday, a double one, the Supreme Court ruled on a robust 164 matters. Actions of note included:

Forum selection. The court granted review in EpicentRx, Inc. v. Superior Court, a shareholder lawsuit, after the Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal, in a published opinion, refused to enforce Delaware forum selection provisions in the defendant company’s certificate of incorporation and bylaws. Division One held “enforcement of the forum selection clauses . . . would operate as an implied waiver of [the plaintiff’s] right to a jury trial—a constitutionally-protected right that cannot be waived by contract prior to the commencement of a dispute.” The Supreme Court has a similar forum selection case under review — Gerro v. BlockFi Lending LLC — but it’s on hold under a bankruptcy stay. (See here.) EpicentRx already has its own grant-and-hold. (See below.)

Workers’ compensation. Granting a two-day-late petition for review (related: Getting relief for a late petition for review might not be a hopeless cause; and see herehere, and here), the court also agreed to hear California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. The Fourth District, Division Two, published opinion held the statutory workers’ compensation “compensation” that is increased when an injury is caused by an employer’s serious and willful misconduct “does not include industrial disability leave,” which “is available to certain state officers and employees.” The case concerns a correctional officer who was attacked by inmates. Division Two says its decision is in tension with the Fifth District opinion in Brooks v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 1522. The Supreme Court denied review in Brooks.

Animal rights. The court denied a habeas corpus petition in In re Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc., which sought relief for three elephants that are allegedly “unlawfully imprisoned at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.” The petition asked for “recognition of the elephants’ common law right to bodily liberty protected by habeas corpus.” But animals fared better in the Second District, Division Five, published opinion in Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center v. County of Los Angeles, which the Supreme Court also declined to hear. Division Five held that Los Angeles County cannot withhold a dog from a qualified animal adoption or rescue organization and euthanize the dog “based upon its determination that the animal has a behavioral problem or is not adoptable or treatable.” The appellate court also found, however, that “the County has discretion to determine whether and how a nonprofit organization qualifies as an animal adoption or rescue organization.”

Sex offender registration separate statement. The court denied review and depublication in People v. Manzoor. Justice Joshua Groban agreed the case “is not an appropriate case in which to grant review” (see: Wait for it: issue percolation, right vehicles, and legislative inaction), but he wrote a separate concurring statement urging legislative action. The First District, Division One, published opinion concluded the defendant could not be relieved from a mandatory lifetime sex offender registration requirement despite his felony conviction for attempting to distribute harmful material to a minor having been reduced to a misdemeanor. Had the defendant’s conviction been of a misdemeanor instead of later reduced to a misdemeanor, lifetime registration would have been discretionary instead of mandatory. Justice Groban wrote, “I . . . encourage the Legislature to consider whether an individual in defendant’s position should at least have an opportunity to seek relief from lifetime registration as a sex offender.”

COVID insurance grant-and-holdEndeavor Operating Company v. HDI Global 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?” In Endeavor, the Second District, Division Two, held in a published opinion that “the ephemeral existence of COVID-19 or its predecessor virus on property does not constitute ‘direct physical loss or damage to property’ as a matter of law.” 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, and here.) But it has also denied review and/or depublication in cases that rejected COVID insurance claims. (See here.)

Government employment grant-and-hold. Krug v. Board of Trustees of the California State University is a grant-and-hold for Stone v. Alameda Health System (see here), which is expected to address the applicability to public entities of various statutory employment requirements. In Krug, the Second District, Division One, published opinion held Labor Code section 2802, requiring employer reimbursement of certain job-related expenses incurred by employees, doesn’t apply to the California State University because the statute “would impair the entity’s sovereignty” by “infring[ing] on the broad discretion CSU enjoys under the Education Code to set its own equipment reimbursement policies.”

Forum selection grant-and-hold. Lockton Companies v. Superior Court is a grant-and-hold for EpicentRx, Inc. v. Superior Court (see above). The Second District, Division Two, summarily denied the writ petition in the case.

COVID vaccination requirement. The court denied review in Rossi v. Sequoia Union Elementary School, where the Fifth District’s published opinion upheld the firing of an instructional aide because, during the pandemic, she disobeyed an order of State Public Health Officer requiring school workers to provide verification of their COVID-19 vaccination status or to undergo weekly testing.

Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were nine criminal case grant-and-holds:  one more holding for decisions in two death penalty appeals — People v. Bankston and People v. Hin (see here); two more waiting for the finality of last month’s opinion in People v. Salazar; one on hold for both Salazar‘s finality and for a decision in People v. Lynch (see here); two more waiting for People v. Hardin (see here and here), which was argued last week; one holding for People v. Patton (see here); and two more waiting for People v. Emanuel (see here).