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The Appellate Strategist

Insights on appellate issues, trial consultations, and evaluating appeals

Category Archives: California

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Join Us Wednesday for “The California Supreme Court: What to Expect in 2015″

Posted in Announcements, California
On Wednesday, April 29th at 11:00 AM Pacific/2:00 PM Eastern, Sedgwick’s Appellate Task Force will present its webinar “The California Supreme Court: What to Expect in 2015.” Highlights of the hour-long CLE presentation include: Data Analytics and the Court: We’ll preview our group’s new data analytics database on the Court’s work since 2000. We’ll discuss… Continue Reading

Join Us on April 29 for “The California Supreme Court: What To Expect in 2015”

Posted in California
On Wednesday, April 29th at 11:00 AM Pacific/2:00 PM Eastern, Sedgwick’s Appellate Task Force will present its first webinar of 2015, “The California Supreme Court: What to Expect in 2015.”  We’ll preview our group’s analytical data library on the Court’s 600+ civil decisions since 2000, and take a look at the highlights of the Court’s… Continue Reading

Testing Liability: The Legacy of Brown v. Superior Court in Products Liability

Posted in California, Products Liability
Now over 25 years old, Brown v. Superior Court established a significant precedent regarding medical products liability, and products liability generally. In addition to its specific holdings, Brown has been credited with articulating the three separate theories of products liability—manufacturing defect, design defect, and failure to warn—at a time when these were often lumped into… Continue Reading

Governor Brown Taps Cuellar to Fill Latest Vacancy on California Supreme Court

Posted in California
  Governor Jerry Brown has nominated Stanford law professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar to fill the most recent vacancy on the California Supreme Court created by the impending retirement of Justice Marvin Baxter. Cuellar is “a renowned scholar who has served two presidents and made significant contributions to both political science and law,” Brown said.  “His vast knowledge… Continue Reading

When Numbers Lie: The Limits of Statistical Methodology in California Class Action Management

Posted in California
Courts that oversee class actions can use class sampling and other statistical methods to manage litigation involving large numbers of plaintiffs and the vast amount of data associated with them. In California, however, those methods must be reliable, and cannot strip defendants of the right to litigate affirmative defenses. The California Supreme Court recently announced its… Continue Reading

The Iskanian Decision: California Supreme Court Partly Retreats on Arbitration

Posted in California
Yesterday, the California Supreme Court at least partially retreated from a long-standing reluctance to enforce many business arbitration agreements. In an opinion by Justice Goodwin Liu, a 6-1 court affirmed in most respects the decision of the Court of Appeal in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles LLC, including on the crucial point of class action… Continue Reading

Waiting for Iskanian, Part 6 – California Supreme Court to Hand Down Its Opinion This Morning

Posted in California
The California Supreme Court has announced that it will hand down its much-anticipated decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC this morning. According to the Court’s Pending Issues Summary, Iskanian presents the following issues: (1)    Did AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 563 U.S. __ [131 S. Ct. 1740, 179 L.Ed.2d 742] impliedly overrule… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court to Clarify What’s In, What’s Out in the Five-Years-to-Trial Rule

Posted in California
According to Section 583.310 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, "An action shall be brought to trial within five years after the action is commenced against the defendant." On the surface, it seems like a simple rule. But as with so many things, the devil is in the details. During last week’s conference, the California Supreme… Continue Reading

One Step Forward, One Step Back: Court of Appeal Denies Arbitration in Imburgia

Posted in California
Fresh on the heels of signs during the Iskanian oral argument that the California Supreme Court might at least partially fall in line behind the rule of Concepcion (subscr. req.), we received a reminder that arbitration clauses continue to receive an uncertain reception in the Courts of Appeal. In Imburgia v. DirecTV, Inc., Division One of the… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Temp Disability Benefits for Police Officers

Posted in California
In the only civil review grant from last week’s conference, the California Supreme Court agreed to review the Third District’s decision in Larkin v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Larkin involves an issue of what temporary disability payments might be available to full-time, salaried peace officers. The petitioner filed a claim for temporary disability payments after he… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Depublishes Decision on Finality from the Register of Actions

Posted in California
Depublication orders usually aren’t exactly the most earthshaking thing on the California Supreme Court’s weekly conference summaries. Nevertheless, I took particular notice of one on last week’s summary: Dattani v. Lee. Dattani is worthy of note for a couple of reasons. First, the Court took the unusual step of depublishing the Court of Appeal’s opinion on its own… Continue Reading

The Future is Here – Is the Internet a Place?

Posted in California
The California Supreme Court has certified a question for review posed by the Ninth Circuit – Is the internet a “place of public accommodation” as described in the California Disabled Persons Act (“DPA”), Civil Code §§ 54, et seq.? The DPA provides at § 54.1(a)(1) that “[i]ndividuals with disabilities shall be entitled to full and equal… Continue Reading

Waiting for Iskanian, Part 5: The Parties’ Briefs on the Merits

Posted in California
With tomorrow’s oral argument before the California Supreme Court in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, our series of previews concludes with a look at the parties’ merits briefs. To read all the briefs in Iskanian, check out the National Chamber Litigation Center’s page on the case here. The argument in plaintiff’s opening brief begins… Continue Reading

Waiting for Iskanian, Part 2: Italian Colors, Sonic-Calabasas and Iskanian

Posted in California
One would have thought in the wake of Concepcion that Gentry was doomed: Concepcion expressly killed off Discover Bank; Gentry was expressly described by the Court itself as a gloss on Discover Bank; therefore, Concepcion must overturn Gentry. In the wake of the Concepcion defeat, the plaintiffs’ bar made a strategic retreat, insisting that Gentry… Continue Reading

Waiting for Iskanian, Part 1 — Gentry, Discover Bank and Concepcion

Posted in California
On Thursday, the California Supreme Court will hear arguments in the highly-anticipated Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC. Iskanian has produced several inches worth of paper from a host of interested parties in the past few months, and in these final days before the argument, we’ll be taking a look at the briefing. But first, let’s… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court to Tackle Labor and Insurance Issues

Posted in California, Employment, Insurance
The California Supreme Court has five civil cases scheduled for its April calendar, each addressing important questions of labor and insurance law.   Independent Contractors or Employees – Class Actions: In Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc., S206874, the court will address the determination of whether and when common issues dominate in a class action in… Continue Reading

The Perils of Small Errors: California Supreme Court Publishes Lower Court’s Foreclosure Opinion

Posted in California
  In its second noteworthy action during Wednesday’s conference, the California Supreme Court granted a request to publish an August 2013 opinion from the Appellate Division of the Santa Clara County Superior Court in The Bank of New York Mellon v. Preciado. Preciado carries noteworthy lessons about the perils of small errors in foreclosure cases. Certain… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court To Consider Causation in Workers Comp for Medication-Related Injuries

Posted in California
In Wednesday’s conference, the California Supreme Court agreed to review South Coast Framing v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, an unpublished decision from Division One of the Fourth District. South Coast Framing poses an interesting question: how does the legal standard for causation in a workers’ comp matter apply when an injured worker apparently dies as a… Continue Reading

Coming Soon – The Jurisdictional Implications of Social Media Posts

Posted in California
In the second significant order to come off the civil side of the California Supreme Court’s docket in the wake of Wednesday’s conference, the Court entered a “grant-and-transfer” order in Burdick v. Superior Court (Sanderson), granting the petition for review and shipping the case back to the Fourth Appellate District, Division Three. Ordinarily, G&T orders don’t… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Potentially High-Stakes Employment Issue

Posted in California
    During its Wednesday conference, the California Supreme Court agreed to answer an issue certified for its decision by the Ninth Circuit: what standard should an employer use to determine whether employees are entitled a "suitable seats" during their working hours pursuant to California law? The question arises from two consolidated cases, Kilby v.… Continue Reading

California Confirms Preemption by FAA Over State Rule Barring Employee Waiver – Mostly

Posted in California, Federal
In Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno (Sonic II), the California Supreme Court addressed an employee’s waiver of access to an administrative hearing, in this case a Berman hearing, in an arbitration agreement imposed as a condition of employment. The unanimous court concluded that a categorical rule prohibiting such waivers is preempted by the Federal Arbitration… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rejects Erosion of One Final Judgment Rule: “Final Means Final”

Posted in California
On October 3, 2013, the California Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Kurwa v. Kislinger, S201619, confirming that under settled California practice, as codified in Code of Civil Procedure section 904.1(a), to be appealable a judgment must dispose of all causes of action pending between the parties. The Court rejected arguments submitted by the California… Continue Reading