Supreme Court of California Decisions 2020

People v. Turner  
Date: November 30, 2020
Docket Number: S154459

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's conviction of fetal murder and affirmed his convictions of ten counts of murder, holding that hearsay was improperly admitted on the question of fetal viability. Defendant was conv...

In re Long  
Date: November 30, 2020
Docket Number: S249274

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal reversing the judgment of the trial court granting Defendant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus and reinstating Defendant's conviction, holding that tria...

People v. Schultz  
Date: November 23, 2020
Docket Number: S114671

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first degree murder and finding true the special circumstance allegations that the murder was committed while Defendant was engaged in th...

People v. Flinner  
Date: November 23, 2020
Docket Number: S123813

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and grand theft, mingling a harmful substance with food or drink, and solicitation to commit murder, and sentence of d...

P. v. Silveria and Travis
Date: September 24, 2020
Docket Number: S062417M
United Auburn Indian Community of Auburn Rancheria v. Newsom  
Date: August 31, 2020
Docket Number: S238544

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal concluding that the Governor acted lawfully when he concurred in the determination of the United States Secretary of the Interior (Interior Secretary) to all...

Reilly v. Marin Housing Authority  
Date: August 31, 2020
Docket Number: S249593

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that a Section 8 beneficiary's compensation for providing in-home care for a severely disabled adult daughter should be excluded from income in calculating the rental subsidy. Plaintiff had an ad...

Gund v. County of Trinity  
Date: August 27, 2020
Docket Number: S249792

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that when Norma and James Gund suffered a violent attack after being asked by law enforcement to check on a neighbor who had called 911 requesting help, the only remedy available to the Gunds was t...

Protecting Our Water & Environmental Resources v. County of Stanislaus  
Date: August 27, 2020
Docket Number: S251709

Justia Opinion Summary: In this action challenging Stanislaus County's classification of well construction permits the Supreme Court held that the blanket classification of all permit issuances as ministerial was unlawful and that under the ord...

People v. Peterson  
Date: August 24, 2020
Docket Number: S132449

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court overturned the death penalty for Scott Peterson, who, in 2002, was convicted of killing his wife, Laci Peterson, and the couple's unborn son, holding that the trial court made a series of clear and sign...

Jarman v. HCR ManorCare, Inc.  
Date: August 17, 2020
Docket Number: S241431

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the monetary cap of $500 in statutory damages in Cal. Health & Safety Code 1430(b) applies per action, not per regulatory violation. Section 1430(b) gives a current or former nursing care pat...

Facebook, Inc. v. Superior Court
Date: August 14, 2020
Docket Number: S245203A
People v. Silveria  
Date: August 13, 2020
Docket Number: S062417

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the of the trial court convicting Defendants of first degree murder and other crimes and sentencing both defendants to death, holding that no prejudice resulted from any error...

People v. Suarez  
Date: August 13, 2020
Docket Number: S105876

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions for four counts of first degree murder and other crimes and sentence of death, holding that, considering any actual or assumed errors altogether, their cumulative effect...

Facebook, Inc. v. Superior Court  
Date: August 13, 2020
Docket Number: S245203

Justia Opinion Summary: Here, the Supreme Court addressed the propriety of a criminal defense subpoena served on Facebook seeking restricted posts and private messages of one of its users, who was a victim and critical witness in the underlying...

People v. Duong  
Date: August 10, 2020
Docket Number: S114228

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of three counts of first degree murder and one count of second degree murder with a multiple murder special circumstance and various gun use enhancements, holding that th...

People v. Morales  
Date: August 10, 2020
Docket Number: S136800

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of four counts of first degree murder and other crimes, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion during the guilt phase or penalty phase of trial. Specific...

B.B. v. County of Los Angeles  
Date: August 10, 2020
Docket Number: S250734

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that *Cal. Civ. Code 1431.2, subdivision (a) does not authorize a reduction in the liability of intentional tortfeasors for noneconomic damages based on the extent to which the negligence of other...

Wilde v. City of Dunsmuir  
Date: August 3, 2020
Docket Number: S252915

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the exemption in Cal. Const. art. II, 9, subd.(a) applies to measures setting municipal water rates, and therefore, municipal water rates and other local utility charges are not subject to ref...

Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc.  
Date: August 3, 2020
Docket Number: S256927

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that tortious interference with at-will contracts requires independent wrongfulness and that a rule of reason applies to determine the validity of a settlement provision requiring Forward Pharma to...

People v. Henderson  
Date: July 30, 2020
Docket Number: S098318

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first degree murder, attempted deliberate and premeditated murder, and other crimes, holding that Defendant's statements were improperly...

Alameda County Deputy Sheriff's Ass'n v. Alameda County Employees' Retirement Ass'n  
Date: July 30, 2020
Docket Number: S247095

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act's (PEPRA), Stats. 2012, ch. 296, 1, amendment of the County Employees Retirement Law (CERL), Cal. Gov. Code 31450 et seq., did not violate t...

Kirzhner v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC  
Date: July 27, 2020
Docket Number: S246444

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case where Plaintiff selected the remedy of restitution under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, Cal. Civ. Code 1790 et seq. after Mercedes-Benz USA LLC (Mercedes) was unable to repair defects in the vehicl...

In re Conservatorship of O.B.  
Date: July 27, 2020
Docket Number: S254938

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that when reviewing a finding that a fact has been proved by clear and convincing evidence, the appellate court must view the record in light most favorable to the prevailing party below and give d...

Speier v. Brace  
Date: July 23, 2020
Docket Number: S252473

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court answered a question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit regarding which presumption governs the characterization of joint tenancy property in a dispute between a couple and the...

People v. Anderson  
Date: July 23, 2020
Docket Number: S253227

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal affirming Defendant's sentence in connection with his convictions for several offenses, including five counts of second degree robbery, holding that the tria...

Robinson v. Lewis  
Date: July 20, 2020
Docket Number: S228137

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court answered a question posed by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit regarding the time gap between the denial of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in a lower California court and the filing of...

Legislature of State of California v. Padilla  
Date: July 17, 2020
Docket Number: S262530

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted the emergency petition filed by the Legislature for a peremptory writ of mandate seeking relief from redistricting deadlines set by California law in light of the delay of census data collection...

Weiss v. People ex rel. Department of Transportation  
Date: July 16, 2020
Docket Number: S248141

Justia Opinion Summary: In this inverse condemnation action, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal reversing the judgment of the trial court, holding that the trial court erred in borrowing section 1260.040 from the Emi...

People v. Vargas  
Date: July 13, 2020
Docket Number: S101247

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of first degree murder and other crimes and sentence of death, holding that there was no prejudicial error in the trial proceedings. Specifically, the Supreme Court held...

Ward v. United Airlines, Inc.  
Date: June 29, 2020
Docket Number: S248702

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the question of whether Plaintiffs, pilots and flight attendants who resided in California but performed most of their work in airspace outside California's jurisdiction, were entitled to Cali...

Oman v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.  
Date: June 29, 2020
Docket Number: S248726

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case concerning the application of various California wage and hour laws to flight attendants who work primarily outside California's territorial jurisdiction, the Supreme Court held that California's wage statem...

Saint Francis Memorial Hospital v. State Department of Public Health  
Date: June 29, 2020
Docket Number: S249132

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that equitable tolling can lessen the otherwise strict time limit on the availability of writs of administrative mandate under Cal. Gov't Code 11523. The State Department of Public Health (the Dep...

P. v. Flores
Date: June 25, 2020
Docket Number: S116307M
Abbott Laboratories v. Superior Court of Orange County  
Date: June 25, 2020
Docket Number: S249895

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200 et seq., is not limited to the geographic boundaries of Orange County and therefore does not preclude a district attorney from in...

In re Scoggins  
Date: June 25, 2020
Docket Number: S253155

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal stemming from a first degree murder judgment the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal denying Petitioner's petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging the jury's special circumstan...

People v. Stamps  
Date: June 25, 2020
Docket Number: S255843

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court remanded this matter to the superior court to allow Defendant an opportunity to seek relief under Senate Bill 1393, holding that the court of appeals properly concluded that a certificate of probable ca...

People v. Frahs  
Date: June 18, 2020
Docket Number: S252220

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal conditionally reversing Defendant's convictions and sentence with instructions for the trial court to consider Defendant's eligibility for diversion under Ca...

People v. Miles  
Date: May 28, 2020
Docket Number: S086234

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant's motion to modify the jury's verdicts of burglary and first degree murder, first degree forcible rape, second degree robbery and false impriso...

Montrose Chemical Corp. of Cal. v. Superior Court
Date: May 28, 2020
Docket Number: S244737M
National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward  
Date: May 28, 2020
Docket Number: S252445

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeal reversing the judgment of the trial court granting a petition for writ of mandate directing the City of Hayward to refund to a records requester the charges...

In re White  
Date: May 21, 2020
Docket Number: S248125

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal finding that the trial court acted within its discretion when it denied bail to Petitioner, holding that the trial court's decision to order Petitioner detai...

People v. Rodriguez  
Date: May 21, 2020
Docket Number: S251706

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeal reversing Defendant's conviction of two counts of assault by an inmate with a deadly weapon and other offenses, holding that the prosecutor impermissibly vou...

Hart v. Keenan Properties, Inc.  
Date: May 21, 2020
Docket Number: S253295

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal, holding that, under the facts of this case, a witness's observation of a company's name and logo appearing on an invoice was circumstantial evidence of iden...

People v. Flores  
Date: May 4, 2020
Docket Number: S116307

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of three counts of first degree murder and his sentence of death, holding that the three or four minor errors at Defendant's trial were harmless and did not interfere wit...

In re A.N.  
Date: May 4, 2020
Docket Number: S242494

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction in a formal wardship proceeding on the basis of the minor having four or more truancies within one school year under Cal. Welf & Inst. Code 601(b)...

Nationwide Biweekly Administration, Inc. v. Superior Court of Alameda County  
Date: April 30, 2020
Docket Number: S250047

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court decided in this case that when the government seeks civil penalties as well as an injunction or other equitable remedies under the unfair competition law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200 et seq., or...

People v. Lopez  
Date: April 30, 2020
Docket Number: S250829

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that section Cal. Penal Code 459.5(b) prohibits charging shoplifting and theft of the same property, even in the alternative, and that, as a general rule, section 459.5(b) prohibits a prosecutor fr...

People v. Guerrero  
Date: April 30, 2020
Docket Number: S253405

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal with instructions to remand to the trial court to reduce Defendant's forgery conviction to a misdemeanor, holding that the mere fact that a defendant posses...

People v. Maya  
Date: April 9, 2020
Docket Number: S255371

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeal affirming the judgment of the trial court denying Appellant's request for expungement of his misdemeanor conviction under Cal. Penal Code 1203.4a, subd. (a),...

Montrose Chemical Corp. of California v. Superior Court  
Date: April 6, 2020
Docket Number: S244737

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case concerning the sequence in which Montrose Chemical Corporation, which was sued by causing environmental damage in the Los Angeles area, may access its excess insurance policies covering the period from 1961...

People v. Fayed  
Date: April 2, 2020
Docket Number: S198132

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in its entirety the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first degree murder and of conspiracy to commit murder and sentencing Defendant to death, holding that there was no preju...

Rockefeller Technology Investments (Asia VII) v. Changzhou SinoType Technology Co.  
Date: April 2, 2020
Docket Number: S249923

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Convention) does not apply when parties have agreed to waive formal service of proc...

People v. Orozco  
Date: March 26, 2020
Docket Number: S249495

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeal ruling that Proposition 47's revision to Cal. Penal Code 496, making the offense of receiving stolen property a misdemeanor when the value of the property is...

People v. Bullard  
Date: March 23, 2020
Docket Number: S239488

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case involving whether Proposition 47 requires a court to draw a distinction under Cal. Veh. Code 10851 between permanent and temporary vehicle takings, the Supreme Court held that a person who has unlawfully tak...

Kim v. Reins International California, Inc.  
Date: March 12, 2020
Docket Number: S246911

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal affirming the judgment entered for Employer in this labor dispute, holding that employees do not lose standing to pursue a claim under the Labor Code Private...

People v. Jimenez  
Date: March 2, 2020
Docket Number: S249397

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal concluding that a felony for misuse of personal identifying information under Cal. Penal Code 530.5, subdivision (a) can be reduced to misdemeanor shopliftin...

People v. Perez  
Date: February 27, 2020
Docket Number: S248730

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal concluding that a defense counsel's failure to object at trial, before People v. Sanchez, 63 Cal.4th 665 (2016), was decided, forfeited a claim that a gang e...

People v. Veamatahau  
Date: February 27, 2020
Docket Number: S249872

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that the admission of expert testimony did not violate the prohibition against communication of case-specific hearsay set forth in People v. Sanc...

People v. McKenzie  
Date: February 27, 2020
Docket Number: S251333

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeal's judgment ordering four of Defendant's sentence enhancements stricken, holding that a convicted defendant who is placed on probation after imposition of sentence is suspend...

Scholes v. Lambirth Trucking Co.  
Date: February 20, 2020
Docket Number: S241825

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeal affirming the trial court's grant of Defendant's demurrer and dismissing Plaintiff's complaint alleging that Defendant negligently allowed a fire to spread f...

In re G.C.  
Date: February 20, 2020
Docket Number: S252057

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the appellate court dismissing a minor's appeal challenging the juvenile court's neglect of its mandatory duty under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code 702 to declare a wobbler offense to...

P. v. Johnson
Date: February 13, 2020
Docket Number: S029551M
P. v. Beck and Cruz
Date: February 13, 2020
Docket Number: S029843M
In re Gay  
Date: February 13, 2020
Docket Number: S130263

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted Petitioner habeas corpus relief, holding that Petitioner was denied his constitutional right to the assistance of competent counsel at the guilt phase of his criminal trial, and trial counsel's...

Frlekin v. Apple Inc.  
Date: February 13, 2020
Docket Number: S243805

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted the request of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to decide a question of California law regarding Industrial Welfare Commission wage order No. 7-2001 (Wage Order 7), which...

People v. Frederickson  
Date: February 3, 2020
Docket Number: S067392

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first-degree murder, finding Defendant was sane at the time of the crimes, and sentencing Defendant to death, but struck an improperly im...

People v. Hoyt  
Date: January 30, 2020
Docket Number: S113653

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of first-degree murder and kidnapping and sentence of death, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief. Specifically, the Court held (1) the superior court did...

K.J. v. Los Angeles Unified School District  
Date: January 30, 2020
Docket Number: S241057

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeal dismissing an appeal of an order directing an attorney to pay sanctions because the notice of appeal identified the attorney's client as the appealing party...

P. v. Leon
Date: January 23, 2020
Docket Number: S143531
People v. Leon  
Date: January 23, 2020
Docket Number: S143531A

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder and sentence of death for one murder and life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the other murde...

People v. Partee  
Date: January 23, 2020
Docket Number: S248520

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal affirming Defendant's conviction of four felony counts of accessory after the fact to murder and one misdemeanor count of contempt of court, holding that a w...

Barefoot v. Jennings
Date: January 23, 2020
Docket Number: S251574
Barefoot v. Jennings  
Date: January 23, 2020
Docket Number: S251574A

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the Probate Code grants standing in probate court to individuals who claim that trust amendments eliminating their beneficiary status arose from incompetence, undue influence, or fraud, thus r...

United Educators of San Francisco, AFT/CFT v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board  
Date: January 16, 2020
Docket Number: S235903

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case addressing whether the limitation under Cal. Unemp. Ins. Code 1253.3 that public school employees are not eligible to collect unemployment benefits under certain circumstances applies to substitute teachers...

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