At yesterday’s Supreme Court conference, a double one, actions of note included:
- Supreme Court partially opens clemency records.
- Wage violation penalties. The court agreed to hear Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. . . . again. Last year, the court held in the case that the extra-hour’s pay an employer owes for improperly making an employee work during all or part of a meal or rest break period constitutes statutory “wages” that must be reported on required wage statements and be paid by specified deadlines when an employee leaves the job. (Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. (2022) 13 Cal.5th 93.) But the court left it to the Court of Appeal on remand to determine whether the defendant’s violations of those mandates were “willful[ ]” and “knowing and intentional” so as to justify penalty assessments. In a published opinion, the Second District, Division Four, held for the defendant employer on those issues, concluding, among other things, “an employer’s good faith belief that it is not violating [the wage statement requirement] precludes a finding of a knowing and intentional violation.” Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero was recused from the latest grant of review.
- Dissent in private medical records case. The court denied review in Kirchmeyer v. Helios Psychiatry Inc., but Justice Joshua Groban recorded a vote to grant. In an opinion published on request, the First District, Division Three, upheld a subpoena for private medical information by the Medical Board of California, which was investigating a patient’s complaint against a psychiatrist “alleging she inappropriately prescribed controlled substances and violated professional boundaries” in treating a family member. Division Three held that patients have a “robust” but “not absolute” state constitutional privacy right in their medical records and that “substantial evidence supports the trial court’s implied finding that the Board established good cause to order the disclosure of the medical records.”
- Dissent in sentencing case. Justice Groban also recorded a dissenting vote from the denial of review in In re Jackson. The Fourth District, Division Two, had earlier affirmed a habeas corpus petition grant based on the retroactive application of the Supreme Court’s decision in People v. Gallardo (2017) 4 Cal.5th 120, which restricted the fact finding a sentencing court may do in determining the nature of a criminal defendant’s prior conviction. But, after the Supreme Court held in In re Milton (2022) 13 Cal.5th 893 that Gallardo was not retroactive and remanded Jackson for reconsideration in light of Milton, Division Two reversed the habeas grant in an unpublished opinion. Justices Groban and Goodwin Liu dissented in Milton.
- Pandemic masking lawsuit. The court denied review in Birke v. Lowe’s Home Centers, where a Second District, Division Three, unpublished opinion upheld the dismissal by demurrer of a lawsuit by a pro per attorney. The attorney alleged that a store’s employees ignored his pleas for help when, at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, another customer — unmasked in violation of a public health order — “spat in his face after plaintiff, who wore a mask, asked the shopper how he got into the store without wearing a mask and then tracked the maskless man’s location through the store while trying to call the police on his phone.” The appellate court held that “nothing in the express language of the [masking] order requires business proprietors to enforce it against their patrons or customers.” It did, however, reverse the superior court’s imposition of almost $95,000 in sanctions against the plaintiff.
- Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were six criminal case grant-and-holds: two more waiting for a decision in People v. Lynch (see here); one more on hold for People v. Curiel (see here); one more holding for People v. Salazar (see here); one more waiting for People v. Mitchell (see here); and one more on hold for People v. Hardin (see here).
- Still more Delgadillo grant-and-hold disposals. Just when it looked like the court had gotten rid of all the cases on its docket that were waiting for the December decision in People v. Delgadillo (2022) 14 Cal.5th 216, along come four more. All were transferred with orders stating, the “matter is transferred to the Court of Appeal . . . with directions to vacate its decision and reconsider whether to exercise its discretion to conduct an independent review of the record or provide any other relief in light of People v. Delgadillo (2022) 14 Cal.5th 216, 232-233 & fn. 6.”
- Non-Delgadillo disposals. The court dumped an additional 15 cases. Of eleven cases that were waiting for January’s opinion in People v. Espinoza (2023) 14 Cal.5th 311, review was dismissed in four and the other seven were returned to the Courts of Appeal for reconsideration in light of the opinion. Three cases that had been on hold for the April decision in In re Lopez (2023) 14 Cal.5th 562 were sent back for reconsideration and review was dismissed in another Lopez grant-and-hold.