Archives: California

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Divided California Court Finds Specific Jurisdiction over Claims of Nonresidents against an Out-of-State Corporation

In a 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court has found specific jurisdiction over the product liability claims of nonresidents against Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS), a Delaware company headquartered in New York with substantial operations in New Jersey. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v.  Superior Court (Anderson), S221038.  It was undisputed that California plaintiffs had specific jurisdiction for … Continue Reading

Anti-SLAPP Protection Extends To City Council Vote Under Allegations of Conflict of Interest in California

  In a 5-2 decision, the California Supreme Court reversed the appellate court and held that the votes of city officials in favor of a public contract were a protected activity under an anti-SLAPP motion, despite allegations that they each had an improper conflict of interest.  City of Montebello v. Vasquez, S219052.  Through outside counsel, … Continue Reading

California Adopts Sophisticated Intermediary Doctrine

In Webb v Special Electric Company, Inc., the Supreme Court unanimously adopted the sophisticated intermediary doctrine in California, and then split 5-2 on how it should be applied. Webb was injured by exposure to products containing asbestos and sued the raw asbestos supplier – raising the question of what duty the raw material supplier had … Continue Reading

California Limits Ability to Skirt Privilege Using Public Records Request

In Ardon v. City of Los Angeles, the unanimous California Supreme Court narrowly interpreted a statutory waiver included in the California Public Records Act to exclude “inadvertent” disclosures.  In responding to a public records request, a governmental agency can withhold documents under several exemptions, including that the documents are privileged under the Evidence Code, if … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Holds Plaintiffs Entitled to Costs as of Right After Settlement

Last week, a divided California Supreme Court handed down its decision in DeSaulles v. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, holding that as long as a settlement agreement involves a payment of money from defendants to plaintiff – no matter how small in relation to the plaintiff’s demand – the plaintiff is a “prevailing party” … Continue Reading

When Is a Stay Not a Stay? – Defining the 5-year Limit to Bring a Case to Trial

In Gaines v. Fidelity National Title Ins. Co., S215990, a divided California Supreme Court (5-2) upheld the dismissal of this case for failure to bring the matter to trial within five years, as required by Code of Civil Procedure § 583.310. In doing so, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts and rejected plaintiff’s argument … Continue Reading

Real Estate Bubble 2.0 – The California Supreme Court Weighs In

The California Supreme Court recently issued two opinions resulting from the aftermath of the 2009 real estate crash. It addressed both the statutory protections for a homeowner after a short sale (i.e., a sale for less then what is owed on the mortgage) and their ability to sue for wrongful foreclosure. In both cases, the … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court In 2015: A Year In Transition

Originally published on Law360, Feb. 4, 2016. Posted with permission. 2015 was a year of transition for the California Supreme Court as two new justices appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Justices Mariano-Florentino Cuellar and Leondra R. Kruger, took office in early January. Because the new justices replaced Republican appointees, there has been widespread speculation that … Continue Reading

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

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”

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

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

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 and … Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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