Supreme Court of California Decisions 2018

People v. Powell  
Date: September 17, 2018
Docket Number: S043520

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in its entirety the judgment of the trial court imposing a sentence of death after a jury convicted Defendant of first degree murder, holding that no reversible error occurred in the proceeding...

P. v. Spencer
Date: September 13, 2018
Docket Number: S057242M
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Manufacturing Co.  
Date: August 30, 2018
Docket Number: S232946

Justia Opinion Summary: In this dispute between a law firm and the party it previously represented, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal insofar as it reversed the superior court’s judgment entered on an arbitration aw...

Troester v. Starbucks Corporation
Date: August 30, 2018
Docket Number: S234969M
In re C.B.  
Date: August 30, 2018
Docket Numbers: S237801, S237762

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the passage of Proposition 47, which reclassified various drug and property offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, did not entitle Appellants, juveniles who were declared wards of the court b...

Citizens for Fair REU Rates v. City of Redding  
Date: August 27, 2018
Docket Number: S224779

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that voter approval was not required for a transfer from a utility’s enterprise fund to the city’s general fund. Cal. Const. art. XIIIC prohibits local governments from imposing or increasing any...

Kim v. Toyota Motor Corp.  
Date: August 27, 2018
Docket Number: S232754

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether evidence of industry custom and practice may be introduced in a strict products liability action. William Jae Kim (Kim) and his wife brought this strict products liability suit against Toyota Motor...

People v. Gonzales  
Date: August 27, 2018
Docket Number: S240044

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was what relationship, if any, must exist between a person’s convictions for forgery and identity theft for the identity theft conviction to result in denial of the relief an individual could otherwise receive u...

P. v. Mora & Rangel
Date: August 23, 2018
Docket Number: S079925M
King v. CompPartners, Inc.  
Date: August 23, 2018
Docket Number: S232197

Justia Opinion Summary: In this action alleging that a utilization reviewer caused Plaintiff additional injuries by denying his treating physician’s request to continue prescribing certain medication for his injuries without authorizing a weani...

City of Morgan Hill v. Bushey  
Date: August 23, 2018
Docket Number: S243042

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the people of a county or city can challenge by referendum a zoning ordinance amendment that would bring the ordinance into compliance with a change to the county’s or city’s general plan, at...

Connor v. First Student, Inc.  
Date: August 20, 2018
Docket Number: S229428

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal concluding that some overlap between the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA), Cal. Civ. Code 1786 et seq. and the Consumer Credit Reporting...

P. v. Case
Date: August 16, 2018
Docket Number: S057156M
P. v. Lopez
Date: August 16, 2018
Docket Number: S099549M
Bianka M. v. Superior Court  
Date: August 16, 2018
Docket Number: S233757

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal upholding the ruling of the superior court denying the requests of Bianka M., a minor, for an order placing her in her mother’s sole custody and for findings...

People v. Powell  
Date: August 13, 2018
Docket Number: S137730

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first degree murder and sentencing him to death following a second penalty proceeding, holding that there was no error requiring reversal...

De La Torre v. CashCall, Inc.  
Date: August 13, 2018
Docket Number: S241434

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the interest rate on consumer loans of $2,500 or more may render the loans unconscionable under section 22302 of the Financial Code. Defendant, a lender of consumer loans to high-risk borrowe...

Ramirez v. City of Gardena  
Date: August 13, 2018
Docket Number: S244549

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether the immunity from damages for collisions resulting from police chases provided by Cal. Veh. Code 17004.7 is available to a public agency only if all peace officers of the agency certify in writing th...

P. v. Ghobrial
Date: August 9, 2018
Docket Number: S105908M
Boling v. Public Employment Relations Board  
Date: August 2, 2018
Docket Number: S242034

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was what standards of review apply to the Public Employment Relations Board’s (PERB) legal interpretations and findings of fact when a final decision by PERB under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA), Cal. Gov’t...

People v. Buycks  
Date: July 30, 2018
Docket Number: S231765

Justia Opinion Summary: These three consolidated cases presented similar issues concerning Proposition 47’s effect on felony-based enhancements in resentencing proceedings under Cal. Penal Code 1170.18. Proposition 47, or the Safe Neighborhoo...

In re Manriquez  
Date: July 26, 2018
Docket Number: S141210

Justia Opinion Summary: After issuing an order to show cause with respect to Petitioner habeas claim that prejudicial juror misconduct occurred when a juror did not timely disclose a history of childhood abuse, the Supreme Court discharged the...

Troester v. Starbucks Corp.  
Date: July 26, 2018
Docket Number: S234969

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court accepted the Ninth Circuit’s request for certification and answered (1) California’s wage and hour statutes and regulations have not adopted the de minimis doctrine found in the federal Fair Labor Stand...

Liberty Surplus Ins. Corp. v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction Co.
Date: July 26, 2018
Docket Number: S236765M
People v. Woodruff  
Date: July 19, 2018
Docket Number: S115378

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the sentence of death imposed in connection with Defendant’s conviction for the first degree murder of a police officer and the attempted murder of a police officer, holding that the trial cour...

People v. Spencer  
Date: July 12, 2018
Docket Number: S057242

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant, after a jury trial, of murdering James Madden and sentencing Defendant to death. On appeal, Defendant raised a number of issues, most of w...

Jameson v. Desta  
Date: July 5, 2018
Docket Number: S230899

Justia Opinion Summary: As applied to in forma pauperis litigants who are entitled to a waiver of official court reporter fees, the San Diego Superior Court’s general policy of not providing official court reporters in most civil trials while p...

Lopez v. Sony Electronics, Inc.  
Date: July 5, 2018
Docket Number: S235357

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was which statute of limitations applies to a suit brought by a child allegedly harmed by in utero exposure to hazardous chemicals: that for toxic exposure claims - Cal. Code Civ. Proc. 340.8(a) - or that for pr...

People v. Mora  
Date: July 2, 2018
Docket Number: S079925

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendants Joseph Adam Mora and Ruben Rangel of two counts of murder and two counts of attempted robbery and sentencing Defendants to death. On appea...

Hassell v. Bird  
Date: July 2, 2018
Docket Number: S235968

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was the validity of a court order entered upon default judgment in a defamation case, insofar as it directed Yelp Inc. to remove certain consumer reviews posted on its website. Plaintiffs brought the underlying...

People v. Lopez  
Date: June 28, 2018
Docket Number: S099549

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in its entirety the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first degree murder and sentencing him to death. Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder for killing his girlfrie...

People v. Anderson  
Date: June 28, 2018
Docket Number: S138474

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed, as modified, the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary, and two counts of residential burglary, including the judgm...

National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. v. State  
Date: June 28, 2018
Docket Number: S239397

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeal interpreting Cal. Civ. Code 3531 as authorizing a court to declare Cal. Penal Code 31910(b)(7)(A) unenforceable when a complainant alleges, and the court fin...

County of Los Angeles v. Financial Casualty & Surety, Inc.  
Date: June 25, 2018
Docket Number: S230213

Justia Opinion Summary: A jailer’s authority “to set a time and place for the appearance of the arrested person” under Cal. Penal Code 1269b(a) makes that appearance “lawfully required” for purposes of forfeiting bail under Cal. Penal Code 1305...

Samara v. Matar  
Date: June 25, 2018
Docket Number: S240918

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was the claim and issue preclusive significance in future litigation of a conclusion relied on by the trial court and challenged on appeal but not addressed by the appellate court. The Supreme Court overruled Pe...

People v. Ghobrial  
Date: June 21, 2018
Docket Number: S105908

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of the first degree murder of a twelve-year-old boy, finding true the special circumstance that the murder was committed while Defendant was...

People v. Farwell  
Date: June 21, 2018
Docket Number: S231009

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was how to assess the validity of a stipulation entered into by Defendant, through counsel, that admitted all of the elements of a charged crime, making it tantamount to a guilty plea, when Defendant was neither...

In re Cowan  
Date: June 18, 2018
Docket Number: S158073

Justia Opinion Summary: In this habeas case, the Supreme Court held that Juror No. 045882, who, during Petitioner’s criminal proceedings, intentionally concealed that he had previously been convicted of public fighting and was then on probation...

People v. Gonzalez  
Date: June 4, 2018
Docket Number: S234377

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury on murder with malice aforethought or lesser included offenses of murder with malice aforethought, or defenses applicable to murder with malice aforetho...

Liberty Surplus Insurance Corp. v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction Co., Inc.  
Date: June 4, 2018
Docket Number: S236765

Justia Opinion Summary: When a third party sues an employer for the negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of an employee who intentionally injured that third party, the suit alleges an “occurrence” under the employer’s commercial general...

People v. Case  
Date: May 31, 2018
Docket Number: S057156

Justia Opinion Summary: As modified in this opinion, the Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for murdering two people during the commission of a robbery and his sentence of death. On appeal, the Supreme Court found only one error dur...

People v. Penunuri  
Date: May 31, 2018
Docket Number: S095076

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in its entirety the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of three counts of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, second degree robbery, and assault with a firearm and s...

People v. Hardy  
Date: May 31, 2018
Docket Number: S113421

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first degree murder, rape, and other crimes and sentencing Defendant to death. On appeal, the Court held (1) the trial court did not com...

In re Lewis  
Date: May 24, 2018
Docket Number: S117235

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus insofar as one of Petitioner’s claims alleged that he was ineligible for execution because he was intellectually disabled. The Court further vac...

Delano Farms Co. v. California Table Grape Commission  
Date: May 24, 2018
Docket Number: S226538

Justia Opinion Summary: The California Table Grape Commission’s advertisements and related messaging represent government speech, as opposed to private speech, and the Ketchum Act’s (Cal. Food & Agric. Code 65500) scheme providing that the Comm...

Facebook, Inc. v. Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco  
Date: May 24, 2018
Docket Number: S230051

Justia Opinion Summary: Communications configured by the social media user to be public fall within the lawful consent exception to the federal Stored Communications Act’s prohibition on disclosure by social media providers of any communication...

People v. Smith  
Date: May 21, 2018
Docket Number: S065233

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of one count of first degree murder, attempted voluntary manslaughter, and other offenses and sentencing Defendant to death, holding that no...

P. v. Perez
Date: May 17, 2018
Docket Number: S104144M
People v. Ruiz  
Date: May 17, 2018
Docket Number: S235556

Justia Opinion Summary: Imposing a criminal laboratory analysis fee and a drug program fee is appropriate for a conviction of conspiracy to transport a controlled substance, in violation of Cal. Health & Safety Code 11379(a). Defendant pleade...

People v. Rodriguez  
Date: May 17, 2018
Docket Number: S239713

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the convictions of Defendants Edgar Octavio Barajas and Jesus Manuel Rodriguez for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and participation in a criminal street gang, rendered by a jury after a j...

United Riggers & Erectors, Inc. v. Coast Iron & Steel Co.  
Date: May 14, 2018
Docket Number: S231549

Justia Opinion Summary: A direct contractor’s timely payment to its subcontractors may be excused under Cal. Civ. Code 8814(c) only when the direct contractor has a good faith basis for contesting the subcontractor’s right to receive the specif...

People v. Adelmann  
Date: May 10, 2018
Docket Number: S237602

Justia Opinion Summary: A defendant, who has been placed on probation in one county but permanently resides in another and whose whose probation case has been transferred, must file a petition for resentencing under Proposition 47 in the origin...

People v. Reed  
Date: May 7, 2018
Docket Number: S082776

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, the special circumstance of multiple murder, and various enhancements. The Court he...

California Building Industry Association v. State Water Resources Control Board  
Date: May 7, 2018
Docket Number: S226753

Justia Opinion Summary: The State Water Resources Control Board’s adoption of a permit fee schedule was proper and violated neither Cal. Water Code 13260(d)(1)(B) or (f)(1) nor Cal. Const. art. XIII A. By statute, the Board has five members. A...

People v. Perez  
Date: May 7, 2018
Docket Number: S238354

Justia Opinion Summary: The Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012 (Proposition 36), under which an inmate sentenced under the Three Strikes law for a nonferrous, nonviolent felony may petition the trial court for resentencing, permits a trial court...

Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County  
Date: April 30, 2018
Docket Number: S222732

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was what standard applies in determining whether workers should be classified as employees or as independent contract for purposes of California wage orders. Two drivers filed this purported class action allegi...

People v. Soto  
Date: April 30, 2018
Docket Number: S236164

Justia Opinion Summary: In deciding whether a defendant is guilty of murder, the jury is permitted to consider evidence of voluntary intoxication on the question of whether the defendant intended to kill but not on the question of whether he be...

People v. Daveggio & Michaud  
Date: April 26, 2018
Docket Number: S110294

Justia Opinion Summary: Daveggio and Michaud were each convicted of one count of first-degree murder (Pen. Code 187(a)), two counts of oral copulation in concert by force (section 288a(d)), and one count of oral copulation on a person under 18...

In re I.C.  
Date: April 26, 2018
Docket Number: S229276

Justia Opinion Summary: The Alameda County Social Services Agency filed a petition (Welf. & Inst. Code 300) to have I.C., age three, and her brother, age five, declared dependents of the court, alleging that I.C. had been sexually abused by Fat...

People v. Chavez  
Date: April 26, 2018
Docket Number: S238929

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2005, Chavez pleaded no contest to charges that he offered to sell a controlled substance and failed to appear after being released on his own recognizance. The trial court suspended imposition of sentence and placed...

Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. of California
Date: April 25, 2018
Docket Number: S232607M
Heckart v. A-1 Self Storage, Inc.  
Date: April 23, 2018
Docket Number: S232322

Justia Opinion Summary: A-1 Self Storage Inc.’s alternative indemnity agreement was not subject to regulation under the Insurance Code because (1) A-1 was not acting as an agent for an insurer, and (2) the indemnification agreement was incident...

P. v. Contreras
Date: April 11, 2018
Docket Number: S224564M
People v. Buza  
Date: April 2, 2018
Docket Number: S223698

Justia Opinion Summary: The collection requirement of Proposition 69, known as the “DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime and Innocence Protection Act” (DNA Act), is constitutional as applied to an individual who, like Defendant, was validly arrested...

In re Butler  
Date: April 2, 2018
Docket Number: S237014

Justia Opinion Summary: Statutory developments warranted modification of a settlement order between Petitioner and the Board of Parole Hearings (Board) to relieve the Board of any obligation to calculate “base terms” of an inmate serving an ind...

People v. Martinez  
Date: March 29, 2018
Docket Number: S231826

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was not eligible for resentencing under Proposition 47 because if Proposition 47 had been in effect when Defendant committed his offense in 2007, he would still be guilty of a felony not covered by Proposition...

Regents of University of California v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County  
Date: March 22, 2018
Docket Number: S230568

Justia Opinion Summary: Universities have a special relationship with their students and a duty to protect them from foreseeable violence during curricular activities. Damon Thompson, a student at the University of California at Los Angeles (U...

Newport Harbor Ventures, LLC v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism  
Date: March 22, 2018
Docket Number: S239777

Justia Opinion Summary: Subject to the trial court’s discretion to permit late filing, a defendant must move to strike a cause of action under Cal. Code Civ. P. 425.16 - California’s anti-SLAPP statute - within sixty days of service of the earl...

In re Figueroa  
Date: March 12, 2018
Docket Number: S111336

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted Petitioner’s petition for writ of habeas corpus and vacated the judgment of conviction because false evidence was introduced at trial. Petitioner, Vincente Benavides Figueroa, was convicted of...

People v. DeHoyos  
Date: March 12, 2018
Docket Number: S228230

Justia Opinion Summary: Resentencing is available to defendants who were serving felony sentences on Proposition 47’s effective date but whose judgments were on appeal and thus not yet final only in accordance with the statutory resentencing pr...

People v. Garton  
Date: March 5, 2018
Docket Number: S097558

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction for conspiracy to murder Dean Noyes for lack of territorial jurisdiction and affirmed in all other respects the judgment convicting Defendant of first degree murder and c...

Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. of California  
Date: March 5, 2018
Docket Number: S232607

Justia Opinion Summary: In calculating an employee’s overtime pay rate when the employee has earned a flat sum bonus during a single pay period, the divisor for purposes of calculating the per-hour value of the bonus should be the number of non...

Heller Ehrman LLP v. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP  
Date: March 5, 2018
Docket Number: S236208

Justia Opinion Summary: Under California law, a dissolved law firm has no property interest in legal matters handled on an hourly basis and therefore no property interest in the profits generated by the law firm’s former partners’ work on hourl...

People v. Perez  
Date: March 1, 2018
Docket Number: S104144

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for murder, residential robbery, residential burglary, and vehicle theft and Defendant’s sentence of death for the murder, holding that any potential error was harmless...

People v. Contreras  
Date: February 26, 2018
Docket Number: S224564

Justia Opinion Summary: The sentences imposed on Defendants, two juvenile nohomicide offenders, violated the Eighth Amendment as interpreted in People v. Caballero, 55 Cal.4th 262, 268 (2012) and Graham v. Florida, 460 U.S. 48 (2010). Defendan...

City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District
Date: February 22, 2018
Docket Number: S226036M
Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court of Orange County  
Date: February 8, 2018
Docket Number: S222314

Justia Opinion Summary: The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq., does not preempt unfair competition and consumer protection claims based on workplace safety and health violations when, as in Cali...

Kurwa v. Kislinger
Date: February 1, 2018
Docket Number: S234617M
People v. Chatman  
Date: February 1, 2018
Docket Number: S237374

Justia Opinion Summary: Chatman, convicted of robbery in 2001, was sentenced to five years of felony probation plus 180 days in jail. Two years later, Chatman was convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving with alcohol. In 2006-2007 both convict...

People v. Superior Court  
Date: February 1, 2018
Docket Number: S241231

Justia Opinion Summary: The defendant was charged in adult criminal court with sex crimes allegedly committed in 2014 and 2015 when he was 14 and 15 years old. The law then in effect permitted the prosecutor to charge the case directly in adult...

Hernandez v. Restoration Hardware, Inc.  
Date: January 29, 2018
Docket Number: S233983

Justia Opinion Summary: In this class action lawsuit, the court of appeal correctly relied on Eggert v. Pacific States S. & L. Co., 20 Cal. 2d, 199 (Cal. 1942) in ruling that unnamed class members may not appeal a class judgment, settlement, or...

McMillin Albany LLC v. Superior Court of Kern County  
Date: January 18, 2018
Docket Number: S229762

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether this common law action alleging construction defects resulting in both economic loss and property damage was subject to the prelitigation notice and cure procedures set forth in the Right to Repair A...

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