Supreme Court of California Decisions 2014

Rashidi v. Moser  
Date: December 15, 2014
Docket Number: S214430

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff sued Defendants for medical malpractice and medical battery. Before trial, Plaintiff settled with two defendants, and the case went to trial against the third defendant, Dr. Franklin Moser. The jury found that...

Packer v. Superior Court  
Date: December 11, 2014
Docket Number: S213894

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner was charged with three counts of first degree murder and related charges. Petitioner filed a motion to recuse the lead prosecutor on the case on grounds that the prosecutor allegedly knew one of the victims in...

People v. Lavender  
Date: December 8, 2014
Docket Number: S209975

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendants were convicted of kidnapping, first degree murder, and torture. Defendants filed a motion for new trial, asserting that that the jurors improperly discussed and considered during their deli...

People v. Centeno  
Date: December 4, 2014
Docket Number: S209957

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of committing lewd acts on a child under the age of fourteen and one misdemeanor count of annoying or molesting a child under the age of eighteen. During trial, t...

Riverside County Sheriff's Dep’t v. Stiglitz  
Date: December 1, 2014
Docket Number: S206350

Justia Opinion Summary: The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department fired Deputy Kristy Drinkwater for falsifying her payroll forms. On administrative appeal, Drinkwater sought discovery of redacted records from personnel investigations of eleven...

People v. Smith  
Date: November 20, 2014
Docket Number: S210898

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant, a member of a violent criminal street gang, was convicted of the murders of two of his fellow gang members even though he neither personally killed them nor desired their deaths. Defendant...

Teal v. Superior Court  
Date: November 6, 2014
Docket Number: S211708

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1996, Petitioner was convicted of making a criminal threat and sentenced to a total term of twenty-five years to life pursuant to the Three Strikes Law. In 2012, Petitioner filed a petition for recall of his sentence,...

People v. Eroshevich  
Date: November 3, 2014
Docket Number: S210545

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of conspiracy. Based on the insufficiency of the evidence, the trial court granted Defendant’s motion for a new trial and dismissed the two conspiracy counts. The...

People v. Adams  
Date: October 30, 2014
Docket Number: S118045

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and carjacking. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in its entirety,...

People v. Gonzalez  
Date: October 20, 2014
Docket Number: S207830

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with oral copulation of an unconscious person (count 1) and oral copulation of an intoxicated person (count 2), based on the same act. A jury convicted Defendant of both charges. The court of appeal...

P. v. Bryant, Smith and Wheeler
Date: October 2, 2014
Docket Number: S049596M
Patterson v. Domino’’s Pizza, LLC  
Date: August 28, 2014
Docket Number: S204543

Justia Opinion Summary: A male supervisor employed by a franchisee allegedly subjected a female subordinate to sexual harassment while working together at the franchisee’s pizza store. Plaintiff, the victim, sued the franchisor, the franchisee,...

People v. Chandler  
Date: August 28, 2014
Docket Number: S207542

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of attempted criminal threat. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that the crime of attempted criminal threat requires a find...

People v. Bryant  
Date: August 25, 2014
Docket Number: S049596

Justia Opinion Summary: A jury convicted Defendants Stanley Bryant, Donald Franklin Smith, and Leroy Wheeler of various crimes relating to the fatal shooting of four individuals. Bryant and Wheeler were convicted of four counts of first degree...

People v. Lucas  
Date: August 21, 2014
Docket Number: S012279

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of three counts of first degree murder, one count of attempted murder, and two counts of kidnapping. The jury found, among other things, that Defendant personally used a kni...

People v. Merriman  
Date: August 18, 2014
Docket Number: S097363

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, among other crimes. The jury found true the special circumstance allegations that the murder was committed while Defendant was engaged in the commission...

People v. Shazier  
Date: August 18, 2014
Docket Number: S208398

Justia Opinion Summary: Three trials were held on the State’s petition to commit Defendant for secure confinement and treatment as a sexually violent predatory (SVP) under the Sexually Violent Predators Act. After a third jury trial and a secon...

People v. McCurdy  
Date: August 14, 2014
Docket Number: S061026

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first degree murder and kidnapping with the purpose to commit a lewd act on a child under fourteen years old. The jury found true the special circumstance allegation of kidn...

People v. Banks  
Date: August 14, 2014
Docket Number: S080477

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial in 1998 Defendant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder, among other crimes. The jury found true the allegation that the attempted murder was committed wi...

People v. Tom  
Date: August 14, 2014
Docket Number: S202107

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant broadsided at high speed a vehicle driving by Loraine Wong. Wong’s younger daughter, Sydney, was killed, and her older daughter, Kendall, sustained serious injuries. A jury convicted Defendant of vehicular mans...

Steen v. Appellate Div., Superior Court  
Date: August 11, 2014
Docket Number: S174773

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner was charged in a misdemeanor complaint electronically generated by a superior court clerk with willfully violating her written promise to appear. Petitioner pled no contest to the conviction. Petitioner subseq...

Steen v. Appellate Division, Super. Ct.
Date: August 11, 2014
Docket Number: S174773A
Tuolumne Jobs & Small Bus. Alliance v. Superior Court  
Date: August 7, 2014
Docket Number: S207173

Justia Opinion Summary: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. sought to expand its store in the City of Sonora. The City Council postponed its vote on the project while a voter-sponsored initiative was circulated, which proposed to adopt a plan for the contemp...

People v. Capistrano  
Date: August 4, 2014
Docket Number: S067394

Justia Opinion Summary: In this automatic appeal, defendant was convicted of one count of attempted willful, premeditated murder; six counts of first degree robbery; three counts of carjacking; one count of first degree burglary; two counts of...

People v. Carrasco  
Date: August 4, 2014
Docket Number: S077009

Justia Opinion Summary: In this automatic appeal, defendant was convicted of first degree murder, second degree robbery and escape from jail, and was sentenced to death. The court concluded that the trial court acted within its discretion in de...

Gregory v. Cott  
Date: August 4, 2014
Docket Number: S209125

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff filed suit against defendants for negligence and premises liability, as well as battery. At issue was whether patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease are liable for injuries they inflict on health care work...

People v. Hensley  
Date: July 31, 2014
Docket Number: S050102

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. After the penalty phase, the trial court declared a mistrial because the jury was unable to reach a penalty verdict. After a second penalt...

People ex rel. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transp., Inc.  
Date: July 28, 2014
Docket Number: S194388

Justia Opinion Summary: The People filed a complaint against Defendants, Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc. (Pac Anchor) and Alfredo Barajas, for violating the unfair competition law (UCL), alleging that Defendants misclassified drivers as indepen...

P. ex rel. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc.
Date: July 28, 2014
Docket Number: S194388A
People v. Boyce  
Date: July 24, 2014
Docket Number: S092240

Justia Opinion Summary: During the course of one evening, Defendant and another man burglarized two businesses, robbing several people inside, and killing off-duty peace officer Shayne York. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first...

People v. Whitmer  
Date: July 24, 2014
Docket Number: S208843

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant, while acting as manager for a motorcycle dealership, arranged for the fraudulent sale of twenty vehicles to fictitious buyers. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of twenty counts of grand theft, one c...

P. v. Hajek and Vo
Date: July 23, 2014
Docket Number: S049626M
Peabody v. Time Warner Cable, Inc.  
Date: July 14, 2014
Docket Number: S204804

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff, who formerly worked for Time Warner Cable, Inc. as a commissioned salesperson, filed a class action suit against Time Warner, alleging wage and hour violations. Time Warner paid Plaintiff through biweekly payc...

People v. Vargas  
Date: July 10, 2014
Docket Number: S203744

Justia Opinion Summary: The assumption under the Three Strikes law is that a defendant has had two prior opportunities to reform before being found incorrigible and receiving a life sentence. At issue in this case was whether an offender’s two...

People v. Eid  
Date: July 10, 2014
Docket Number: S211702

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants Reynaldo Junior Eid and Alaor Docarmo Oliveira were charged in an amended information with two counts of kidnapping for ransom, which is punishable by life in prison. A jury found Defendants guilty of the less...

People v. Weatherton  
Date: July 7, 2014
Docket Number: S106489

Justia Opinion Summary: One of the jurors in Defendant’s criminal case prematurely decided to vote guilty, repeatedly talked about the case outside deliberations, prematurely reached a conclusion regarding the veracity of certain testimony, and...

In re Conservatorship of McQueen  
Date: July 7, 2014
Docket Number: S209376

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff prevailed at trial in an action for financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult. The judgment was affirmed on appeal. After judgment, Plaintiff brought a separate action seeking to prevent or reverse Defenda...

City of Los Angeles v. County of Kern  
Date: July 7, 2014
Docket Number: S210150

Justia Opinion Summary: Under 28 U.S.C. 1367 federal courts may assume supplemental jurisdiction over related state claims that form part of the same case or controversy. If the federal basis for jurisdiction dissolves but supplemental claims r...

Paratransit, Inc. v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd.  
Date: July 3, 2014
Docket Number: S204221

Justia Opinion Summary: An employee (Claimant) was asked by his employer to sign a written disciplinary notice regarding Claimant’s alleged misconduct. Claimant refused to sign the notice, claiming that he wished to consult with his union first...

Beacon Residential Cmty. Ass’n. v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill  
Date: July 3, 2014
Docket Number: S208173

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants, two architectural firms, were the sole entities that provided architectural services for a collection of condominium units in San Francisco. The homeowners association sued several parties involving in the co...

People v. Sattiewhite  
Date: June 30, 2014
Docket Number: S039894

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of murder, rape, and kidnapping and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in its entirety, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in fin...

People v. Avila  
Date: June 30, 2014
Docket Number: S135855

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of kidnapping, committing two counts of lewd and lascivious acts on, and murdering a five-year-old girl. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death. The Supreme Court affirme...

Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc.  
Date: June 30, 2014
Docket Number: S206874

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant published a daily newspaper and contracted with individual carriers to deliver the paper. Named plaintiffs were four newspaper carriers for Defendant. Plaintiffs sued on behalf of a putative class of carriers,...

Salas v. Sierra Chem. Co.  
Date: June 26, 2014
Docket Number: S196568

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff, an unauthorized alien, was injured while working for his employer (Defendant) and was later was laid off during Defendant’s seasonal reduction of workers. Plaintiff sued, alleging that Defendant violated the C...

Iskanian v. CLS Transportation
Date: June 26, 2014
Docket Number: S204032A
Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC  
Date: June 23, 2014
Docket Number: S204032

Justia Opinion Summary: An Employee filed a class action complaint against his Employer. The Employee, however, had entered into an arbitration agreement with his Employer that waived his right to class proceedings. The Employee also sought to...

Verdugo v. Target Corp.  
Date: June 23, 2014
Docket Number: S207313

Justia Opinion Summary: Mary Ann Verdugo died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while shopping at a Target department store. Target did not have an automated external defibrillator (AED) in its store. Plaintiffs, Verdugo’s mother and brot...

Luis M. v. Superior Court  
Date: June 19, 2014
Docket Number: S207314

Justia Opinion Summary: Luis M., a juvenile, admitted that he had committed felony vandalism. The offense involved nine acts of graffiti at six locations. The juvenile court ordered restitution in the amount of $3,881.88, which was a crime prev...

In re Champion
Date: June 18, 2014
Docket Number: S065575M
Hartford Cas. Ins. v. Swift Distrib., Inc.  
Date: June 12, 2014
Docket Number: S207172

Justia Opinion Summary: Hartford Casualty Insurance Company issued a commercial general liability policy to Ultimate Support Systems, a company that sold the Ulti-Cart. The policy covered “personal and advertising injury,” which included claims...

People v. Debose  
Date: June 5, 2014
Docket Number: S080837

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first degree murder, attempted premeditated murder, two counts of second degree robbery and arson causing great bodily injury. The jury returned a verdict of death. The Supr...

P. v. Debose
Date: June 5, 2014
Docket Number: S080837
People v. Trinh  
Date: June 5, 2014
Docket Number: S115284

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of three counts of first degree murder with a multiple-murder special circumstance, one count of attempted murder, and firearm enhancements for the shootings and attempted shoo...

People v. Goldsmith  
Date: June 5, 2014
Docket Number: S201443

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was found guilty of failing to stop at a red traffic light at an intersection. Defendant's conviction was based on evidence generated by an automated traffic enforcement system (ATES), otherwise known as a red...

People v. Brown  
Date: June 2, 2014
Docket Number: S052374

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first degree murder, sodomy, and forcible lewd act on a minor. Defendant was sentenced to death for the murder conviction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial...

People v. Elmore  
Date: June 2, 2014
Docket Number: S188238

Justia Opinion Summary: If a defendant commits a killing out of an unreasonable belief in the need for self-defense, he or she may be convicted of voluntary manslaughter but not murder. After a jury trial in this case, Defendant was convicted o...

People v. Chiu  
Date: June 2, 2014
Docket Number: S202724

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of first degree willful, deliberate and premeditated murder on the theory that the Defendant either directly aided and abetted the murder or that Defendant aided and abetted...

Long Beach Police Officers Ass’n. v. City of Long Beach  
Date: May 29, 2014
Docket Number: S200872

Justia Opinion Summary: The Los Angeles Times asked the City of Long Beach to release the names of the police officers involved in certain shootings. The Long Beach Police Officers Association (“Union”) sought injunctive relief against the City...

Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n  
Date: May 29, 2014
Docket Number: S200923

Justia Opinion Summary: Loan officers for U.S. Bank National Association (USB) sued USB for unpaid overtime, asserting that they made been misclassified as exempt employees under the outside salesperson exemption. The trial court certified a cl...

P. v. Montes
Date: May 21, 2014
Docket Number: S059912M
People v. Scott  
Date: May 19, 2014
Docket Number: S211670

Justia Opinion Summary: This appeal centered on the Realignment Act, which changed the punishment for some felony convictions. The Legislature provided that the sentencing changes “shall be applied prospectively to any person sentenced on or af...

Marr. of Valli
Date: May 16, 2014
Docket Number: S193990A
In re Marriage of Valli  
Date: May 15, 2014
Docket Number: S193990

Justia Opinion Summary: Before Husband and Wife separated, Husband used community property funds from a joint bank account to buy an insurance policy on his life, naming Wife as the sole owner and beneficiary. At the parties’ marital dissolutio...

People v. Hajek  
Date: May 5, 2014
Docket Number: S049626

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants, Stephen Edward Hajek and Loi Tan Vo, were convicted of, among other crimes, the murder of Su Hung. The jury found true lying-in-wait and torture-murder special circumstances as to both defendants. The jury al...

People v. Chism  
Date: May 5, 2014
Docket Number: S101984

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of first degree murder, attempted robbery, and second degree robbery. Following a retrial of the penalty phase trial, the jury sentenced Defendant to death for the murder convi...

People v. Gutierrez  
Date: May 5, 2014
Docket Number: S206365A

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants in these cases were both seventeen-year-old offenders who were convicted of special circumstance murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole under Cal. Penal Code 190.5(b). Afte...

Loeffler v. Target Corp.  
Date: May 1, 2014
Docket Number: S173972

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff-consumers brought an action against Defendant-retailer under two consumer protection statutes, alleging that Defendant improperly charged them sales tax reimbursement on sales of hot coffee sold “to go,” when,...

People v. Suff  
Date: April 28, 2014
Docket Number: S049741

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial in 1995, Defendant was convicted of twelve counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Defendant’s victims abused drugs and worked as prostitutes. The trial court sentenced Defenda...

Holland v. Assessment Appeals Bd.
Date: April 16, 2014
Docket Number: S205876M
In re Champion  
Date: April 14, 2014
Docket Number: S065575

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Petitioner and his codefendant were convicted of burglarizing the home of Bobby Hassan and of robbing and murdering Bobby and his son, Eric. Petitioner and his codefendant were sentenced to death in 1...

People v. Arriaga  
Date: April 7, 2014
Docket Number: S199339

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1986, Defendant, a native of Mexico and a lawful permanent resident of the United States, pled guilty to possessing a sawed-off shotgun. In 2010, Defendant moved to vacate his conviction, asserting that he had not bee...

In re Alonzo J.  
Date: April 3, 2014
Docket Number: S206720

Justia Opinion Summary: Alonzo J. was charged in a juvenile court delinquency petition with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. The juvenile court appointed attorney Jo Ann...

In re D.B.  
Date: April 3, 2014
Docket Number: S207165

Justia Opinion Summary: A Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code 602 wardship petition was filed alleging that D.B. committed a series of criminal offenses, including serious or violent offenses. A juvenile court found the allegations true, sustained the peti...

People v. Black  
Date: March 27, 2014
Docket Number: S206928

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of animal cruelty. During voir dire, the trial court denied Defendant’s challenges to two prospective jurors on incompetence grounds, after which Defendant used t...

People v. Montes  
Date: March 13, 2014
Docket Number: S059912

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of first degree murder, kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking, carjacking, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. After the penalty phase, the trial court...

People v. Gray  
Date: March 13, 2014
Docket Number: S202483

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2006, Culver City installed a red light camera at a certain intersection. In 2008, that camera photographed a car registered to Defendant driving through a red traffic light. Defendant was subsequently convicted of v...

People v. Jackson  
Date: March 3, 2014
Docket Number: S086269

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of the first degree murder of Monique Cleveland, the willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder of Robert Cleveland, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. A...

P. v. Shockley
Date: February 26, 2014
Docket Number: S189462M
Ennabe v. Manosa  
Date: February 24, 2014
Docket Number: S189577

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant hosted a party at a residence owned by her parents without their consent. Alcohol was available for consumption at the party. Some of the guests, most of whom were under twenty-one, were charged an admission fe...

People v. Rodriguez  
Date: February 20, 2014
Docket Number: S122123

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of the first degree murder of her husband under the special circumstances of murder by administering poison and murder for financial gain. At the penalty trial, the prosecution...

Fahlen v. Sutter Cent. Valley Hosps.  
Date: February 20, 2014
Docket Number: S205568

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff, a hospital staff physician, claimed the hospital’s decision to terminate his staff privileges was an act of retaliation for his reports of substandard performance by hospital nurses and thus a violation of Cal...

People v. Infante  
Date: February 20, 2014
Docket Number: S206084

Justia Opinion Summary: Under California law, unlawfully carrying a concealed firearm and unlawfully carrying a loaded firearm in public are generally misdemeanors but become felonies when committed by an active participant in a criminal street...

In re Lira  
Date: February 3, 2014
Docket Number: S204582

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was a life inmate. In 2005, the Board of Parole Hearings denied Defendant parole for the ninth time. The superior court ordered a new parole hearing, and in 2008, the Board found Defendant suitable for parole....

People v. Duff  
Date: January 30, 2014
Docket Number: S105097

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder with robbery and multiple-murder special circumstances and sentenced to death. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in its en...

In re Glass  
Date: January 27, 2014
Docket Number: S196374

Justia Opinion Summary: Stephen Glass, the infamous journalist from the late 1990s who fabricated material for more than forty articles for The New Republic magazine and other publications, passed the California bar examination in 2006 and appl...

In re Grant on Discipline
Date: January 23, 2014
Docket Number: S197503
Holland v. Assessment Appeals Bd.  
Date: January 23, 2014
Docket Number: S205876

Justia Opinion Summary: The County Assessor reassessed two mobile home parks owned by resident-controlled nonprofit corporations after some residents sold both their mobile homes and their interests in the corporation. The mobile homes, classif...

In re Garcia on Admission
Date: January 2, 2014
Docket Number: S202512
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