At its conference yesterday, a double one, the court granted the petitions for review of two public entities, one county and one city. Those decisions and other actions of note were:

  • Clemency for two, including another commutation of an LWOP sentence.
  • Issues limited in Prop. 22 case.
  • Commercial property tax. The court granted Los Angeles County’s petition for review in Olympic and Georgia Partners, LLC v. County of Los Angeles, where a 2-1 published opinion (with a pro tem justice in the majority) of the Second District, Division Eight, Court of Appeal held County tax assessors overvalued a large convention center hotel. The appellate court concluded the County violated Supreme Court case law “requir[ing] assessors to subtract income fairly ascribed to intangible assets, including those directly necessary to the productive use of the property.” The dissent claimed the majority misread precedent and said, “The valuation of hotels presents issues that do not arise with office or other buildings that generate income only from the real property.”
  • Subdivision Map Act. Oakland has successfully petitioned the Supreme Court for review in Crescent Trust v. City of Oakland after the First District, Division One, belatedly published opinion ordered the city to issue a certificate of compliance for a single lot under the Subdivision Map Act. As Division One summarized and answered in the affirmative, “the issue before us boils down to the following—since lot 18 was conveyed in conjunction with three or fewer other lots prior to the enactment of any local ordinance governing such subdivisions, is the lot presumptively legal for purposes of the Subdivision Map Act pursuant to section 66412.6, subdivision (a).” (Link added.)
  • COVID insurance grant-and-hold: Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation California v. Lexington Insurance Company is a grant-and-hold for Another Planet Entertainment v. Vigilant Insurance Co., where the Supreme Court in March agreed to answer this question for 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 the Chumash case, a Second District, Division Six, published opinion concluded the plaintiff “did not present sufficient evidence to show that the COVID-19 virus caused physical property damage to its casino and resort so as to fall within the property damage coverage provisions of the Lexington insurance policy.” Including Another Planet, the Supreme Court has agreed to decide two COVID insurance cases and it has granted-and-held two others. (See here, here, and here.) But it has also denied review in one case and denied depublication in another, both of which rejected COVID insurance claims. (See here and here.)
  • Youth sentencing. The court denied review in People v. Fredrickson, but Justice Joshua Groban recorded a vote to grant. The First District, Division Five, published opinion held the superior court did not abuse its discretion in failing to apply legislation — Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (b)(6)(B) — generally requiring a shorter prison sentence if the fact the defendant was less than 26 years old at the time of the crime “was a contributing factor in the commission of the offense.” Division Five found nothing in the record to establish the defendant’s youth was a “contributing factor.”
  • Attorney discipline. The court sent Derieg on Discipline back to the State Bar Court “to reconsider whether respondent George Martin Derieg may be culpable of violations of Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (a) based solely on his predicate violations of Probate Code sections 10830 and 10831, which, by their terms, are not disciplinable offenses under the State Bar Act (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6000 et seq.). (In the Matter of Lilley (Review Dept. 1991) 1 Cal. State Bar Ct. Rptr. 476 [‘[S]ection 6068[, subdivision] (a) [serves] as a conduit by which attorneys may be charged and disciplined for violations of other specific laws which are not otherwise made disciplinable under the State Bar Act.’].)” (Links added.) Section 6068(a) imposes a duty on attorneys “[t]o support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this state.” The Probate Code statutes concern compensation for personal representatives of estates and for the representatives’ attorneys.
  • Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were nine criminal case grant-and-holds:  three more waiting for a decision in People v. Lynch (see here); one on hold for Lynch, People v. Salazar (see here), and People v. Reyes, which was decided last month; one more holding for decisions in two death penalty appeals — People v. Bankston and People v. Hin [July 15 update: see here]; one more is holding for In re Vaquera (see here), which has been fully briefed for over three years; another one on hold for People v. Reynoza (see here); one more waiting for People v. Clark (see here); and one more holding for People v. Walker (see here).