The Daily Journal today named the recipients of its annual California Lawyer of the Year award. The paper recognized attorneys in 15 cases. Three of the cases resulted in Supreme Court opinions.

One of the three CLAY award Supreme Court decisions is Guardianship of Saul H. (2022) 13 Cal.5th 827 — “Helping a teen boy escape El Salvadorian gangs and become a lawful resident.” In Saul H., the court made things easier for undocumented children to obtain from California courts the findings federal law requires to apply for immigration relief that creates a pathway to permanent resident status. (See here.) Saul H. is also the only one of the three CLAY award Supreme Court cases to also be among the Daily Journal’s “Top Verdicts of 2022.” Horvitz & Levy was pro bono counsel for Saul H. I was the lead brief writer and argued the case. Others sharing the award are Horvitz & Levy’s Beth Jay and Christopher Hu, Marion (Mickey) Donovan-Kaloust of Immigrant Defenders Law Center, and Munmeeth (Meeth) Soni, formerly of Immigrant Defenders and currently with Disability Rights California.

Another CLAY award winning case is Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. (2022) 13 Cal.5th 93 — “Missed break premiums count as wages, State Supreme Court rules.” The Naranjo court held 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. (See here.) Jason Marsili and Howard Rosen represented the prevailing plaintiffs.

The third CLAY award Supreme Court decision is Sheen v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2022) 12 Cal.5th 905 — “Lenders don’t owe borrowers a general duty of care, top state court rules.” Balancing “the interests of homeowners in default against those seeking affordable home loans,” the court in Sheen held a lender does not “owe the borrower a tort duty sounding in general negligence principles to (in plaintiff’s words) ‘process, review and respond carefully and completely to [a borrower’s] loan modification application,’ such that upon a breach of this duty the lender may be liable for the borrower’s economic losses — i.e., pecuniary losses unaccompanied by property damage or personal injury.” (See here.) Benjamin Horwich, David Fry, Rachel Miller-Ziegler, Jeffrey Gerardo, and Steven Dailey represented Wells Fargo Bank.


Supreme Court immigration decision recognized as one of the “Top Verdicts of 2022”