On December 4, 2012, the California Supreme Court is scheduled to hold oral arguments in Los Angeles on six matters, five of which are civil matters addressing a variety of business and commercial issues. Presumably these matters will all be submitted at the close of argument, so (barring any order to vacate the submission) the final decisions in these cases will be due by March 4, 2013.  Please note that the substantive briefs for these cases have not yet been posted, but a link to those briefs will be added to the update of pending California Supreme Court cases on this blog.

  • Is a Contemporaneous Factual Misrepresentation of Contract Terms Admissible Under the Parol Evidence Rule? 

In Riverisland Cold Storage, Inc. v. Fresno-Madera Production Credit Assn. (S190581) the Supreme Court will address whether the fraud exception to the parol evidence rule permits evidence of a contemporaneous factual misrepresentation as to the terms contained in a written agreement at the time of execution, or whether such evidence is inadmissible under Bank of America National Trust & Savings Association v. Pendergrass (1935) 4 Cal.2d 258, 263, as “a promise directly at variance with the promise of the writing.”  For more details, see the B & P 17200/Class Actions/Commercial update page.

  • To What Degree Can the Reach of a §17200 Action Be Extended by the Continuing Violation Doctrine, the Accrual Doctrine or the Delayed Discovery Rule?

The scope of the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.) will be addressed in Aryeh v. Canon Business Solutions, Inc. (S184929), in which the Supreme Court will address to what degree, if any, an such an action can be expanded by the following doctrines: (1) the continuing violation doctrine, under which a defendant may be held liable for actions that take place outside the limitations period if those actions are sufficiently linked to unlawful conduct within the limitations period;  (2) the continuous accrual doctrine, under which each violation of a periodic obligation or duty is deemed to give rise to a separate cause of action that accrues at the time of the individual wrong, be asserted in such an action; or, (3) the delayed discovery rule, under which a cause of action does not accrue until a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position has actual or constructive knowledge of facts giving rise to a claim.  For more details, see the B & P 17200/Class Actions/Commercial update page.

  • Can a Corporation Correct Its Suspended Status and Salvage an Appeal Initiated While Suspended? 

In Bourhis v. Lord (S199887 and S199889, consolidated) the Supreme Court accepted review after the Court of Appeal denied a motion to dismiss the appeal before the principle briefing, to address the following issue: If a corporation’s corporate status is suspended due to nonpayment of taxes at the time it files a notice of appeal, can the appeal proceed if the corporation thereafter revives its status even if it does not do so until the time for filing the notice of appeal has expired?  For more details, see the B & P 17200/Class Actions/Commercial update page.

  • Which State Law Controls Whether a Dissolved Corporation Lacks the Capacity To Be Sued?

The Supreme Court will also contribute to the body of choice of law opinions in Greb v. Diamond International (S183365) in the context of whether a California plaintiff alleging personal injuries from asbestos can pursue a claim against a dissolved Delaware corporation when the complaint was filed more than three years after the dissolution of the corporation.  Does California Corporations Code § 2010 or Delaware General Corporation Law § 278 control? For more details, see the Civil Procedure/Evidence/Discovery update page.

  • Is an Employer Entitled to a Jury Instruction on Mixed Motives for Firing an At-Will Employee?

In Harris v. City of Santa Monica (S181004) the Supreme Court will also address whether the “mixed-motive” defense apply to employment discrimination claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, (Gov. Code, § 12900 et seq.).  For more details, see the Employment – Other update page.