Week In Review (April 30, 2018)

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Week of:                      April 23, 2018
Publication Date:       April 30, 2018

From the First Appellate District –

  • The People v. Donicia Athena Espinoza; where the court of appeals summarily rejected Ms. Espinoza’s appeal of a specific probation condition placed on her following a plea of no contest to a felony count of cemetery vandalism. The court held that Ms. Espinoza was required to obtain a certificate of probable cause prior to filing an appeal, as she had specifically waived her right to appeal by pleading no contest.  As the court of appeal had no authority to hear the case, the merits of the appeal were not reached.
  • Eduardo Magana v. The Superior Court of San Mateo County [Real Party in Interest] The People; here, the court of appeals upheld the trial court’s removal of Mr. Magana’s defense attorney after finding that Defendant attorney’s continual delays were depriving Mr. Magana’s two alleged rape victims, the prosecution, and the defendant a speedy trial. The trial court had “no faith that [defendant’s attorney, Mr.] Everett would be prepared to take the case to trial on a timely basis” after four trial continuances, two peremptory challenges of trial judges, moving then withdrawing a motion for recusal of the second trial judge, and then failing to move for an appointment of an expert to testify to his client’s purportedly involuntary confession until the second day of trial.  A copy of this opinion will be forwarded to the State Bar of California.

From the Second Appellate District –

  • Martha L. Welborne v. Ryman-Carroll Foundation; where the court reversed entry of judgment against Ms. Welborne on a quasi-contract claim arising out of Ms. Welborne’s investment in the Ryman-Carroll Foundation when one of the members of the Board of Directors of the Foundation, a Mr. Foster, purportedly paid back a loan made to another company controlled by Mr. Foster using Ms. Wilborne’s and other’s investments. In its opinion, the court of appeals held that there was sufficient evidence that the Foundation was on notice of Mr. Foster’s acts such that the case cannot be summarily adjudicated.
  • Baker Marquart LLP v. James R. Kantor; where the court of appeals reversed and remanded with instructions the trial court’s confirmation of an arbitration award against Baker Marquart LLP. The issue addressed was whether Mr. Kantor’s submission of an undisclosed, confidential, arbitration brief to the arbitration panel which Baker Marquart was unable to respond, constituted the type of “corruption, fraud or other undue means” that justifies the vacation of an arbitration award.  The court of appeals held that the tactics used by Mr. Kantor ultimately prevented a fair adversarial hearing and gave Mr. Kantor an unfair advantage in the arbitration – such that the arbitration award must be vacated.
  • Integrated Lender Services, Inc. v. County of Los Angeles [as Appellant with] Juan Velazquez, as Trustee, et cetera, et alterius [as Respondent]; where the court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s determination that the County of Los Angeles could not properly assert the right to recover surplus funds from the sale of a convicted fraudster’s house. Although the County had filed a lis pendis, the trial court and the court of appeals held that this did not entitle the County to the funds ahead of other liens because the decision in the underlying fraud case did not order that the property be levied upon to satisfy the restitution award.

From the Third Appellate District –

  • The People v. Colleen Ann Harris; where the court denied Ms. Harris’ motion for recall and remittitur under Senate Bill 620’s new requirements for considering gun enhancements when Ms. Harris’ sentence was final more than one year before the provisions of the Senate Bill took effect, rendering relief unavailable.
  • Jerald Glaviano v. Sacramento City Unified School District; Mr. Glaviano was a school teacher who interceded in a fight between two students, which caused the School District to place him on unpaid leave pending an investigation. The investigation and administrative proceeding that followed vindicated Mr. Glaviano and the School District reinstated him and paid his lost wages.  Glaviano was also entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees for his expenses for defending the administrative proceeding.  The trial court held that the fees he was entitled to were limited to those he actually paid, but the court of appeals reversed and held that the reasonable attorney’s fees must be calculated using the lodestar method.

From the Fourth Appellate District –

  • IIG Wireless, Inc. v. John Yi [Both Appellants] with Defendant Lauren Kim [As Respondent]; where the court of appeal affirmed entry of judgement in the underlying case in a dispute between shareholders and owners of IIG Wireless. The Court held that there was substantial evidence to support the verdict of $401,860 in favor of IIG against Mr. Yi, $122,000 in favor of Mr. Yi against IIG, and nonsuit in favor of Ms. Kim.
  • Sadie M. Curry v. Equilon Enterprises, LLC; Equilon is a company that owns several hundred Shell gas stations and Ms. Curry was an employee of Equilon from 2001 to 2003 when Equilon changed its business model from one of direct ownership of gas stations to a leaseholder of the stations, operated by independent companies. Curry was hired by one of these independent companies, recruited as a manager, then promoted to a multi-store manager where she routinely worked in excess of 40 hours per week with no rest or meal-breaks.  Ms. Curry filed suit against Equilon for wage and hour causes of action, and both the trial court and the court of appeals held that the evidence presented in summary judgment could not support the allegations against Equilon, and that Ms. Curry could not establish any facts to support an inference that she was an employee of Equilon.
  • Estate of Norman Casserley, Deceased [OR] Theresa Hawkins, as administrator, et cetera v. Emerita Cruz Joya; where Ms. Joya argued that her lien following a 1997 judgment against the Decedent entitled her to priority over all other lienholders. The trial court and the appeals court held that because the lean was not recorded until June 2016, nearly one year after Decedent’s death, the lien was not entitled to priority.

From the Fifth Appellate District –

No published cases this week.

Finally, From the Sixth Appellate District –

  • Bruce Holloway v. Showcase Realty Agents, Inc. et alterius [Together with the Separate Case] Bruce Holloway v. Gregory Dildine et alterius; on appeal from a demurrer, the court of appeals held that a contract where the San Lorenzo Valley Water District acquired real property using an agent who was married to one of the members of the board of directors was void under the facts alleged in the complaint and that Mr. Holloway had standing as a taxpayer to bring the suit.
  • In re J.R., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law [OR] The People v. J.R.; this matter was transferred back to the court of appeals from the Supreme Court with instructions for the court of appeal to vacate and reconsider its opinion in light of People v. Page (2017) 3 Cal.5th 1175, which held that Proposition 47 included crimes related to attempting to unlawfully dive or take a vehicle without the owner’s consent, which comprised part of the underlying facts in J.R.’s criminal conviction. The court of appeal ultimately reversed the conviction and remanded for a new jurisdictional hearing in juvenile court in light of the new guidance from the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court – Roundup

A reminder that the California Supreme court will be hearing oral arguments this week on May 01, 2018.  You can catch the argument live online at the Court’s website.  This week’s oral arguments include:

  • S234969 – TROESTER v. STARBUCKS CORPORATION
  • S230899 – JAMESON v. DESTA
  • S235357 – LOPEZ v. SONY ELECTRONICS
  • S240918 – SAMARA v. MATAR
  • S141210 – ABELINO MANRIQUEZ ON H.C.
  • S057242 – PEOPLE v. CHRISTOPHER ALAN SPENCER

This Week, the Supreme Court published 4 cases, including:

  • Samuel Heckart v. A-1 Self Storage, Inc., et alterius; when Mr. Heckart rented a storage unit from A-1 that included optional insurance coverage that Mr. Heckart could elect to enroll in, or not, depending on whether he purchased his own outside insurance. When he did not purchase outside insurance he was automatically enrolled for $10 per month, and brought a suit based on the rental agreement not complying with the Insurance Code.  The Supreme Court ultimately held that because the primary purpose of the contract was not one of insurance, but of a rental agreement, and that insurance was incidental to the primary purpose of the agreement, A-1 did not need to comply with the Insurance Code regulations.
  • The People v. Lorenzo Chavez; here, the supreme court determined whether a trial court judge may expunge a criminal defendant’s record under the broader provision in Penal Code §1385, which grants such authority “in the furtherance of justice” or whether such expungement must occur under the provisions of Penal Code §1203.4, which allows for such expungement after probation is completed. On review the Court held that the trail court lacks jurisdiction to expunge a record under §1385 after the term of probation is completed, as the section only applies prior to a final judgment, which ends at the expiration of probation.
  • The People v. James Anthony Daveggio and Michelle Lyn Michaud; on an automatic death penalty appeal for their convictions on multiple instances of kidnapping, rape with special circumstances, and murder, the Supreme Court held that there were no errors sufficient to justify reversal. Accordingly, their convictions and sentencing to death were affirmed.
  • In re I.C., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law [OR] Alameda County Social Services Agency v. Alberto C.; where the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s removal of 3-year-old I.C. based on out-of-court statements about alleged sexual abuse by her father made by I.C. that the trial court found to be unclear, confusing, not credible, and unreliable in significant respects. The Court ultimately reversed because the statements made by I.C. about the sexual abuse were “strikingly similar to descriptions” of a recent act of molestation by an 8-year-old neighbor whom I.C. had recently re-encountered at the time of her allegations against her father.  Given the inconsistencies and inaccuracies woven through her core allegations, the Court held that the statements were insufficient to justify I.C.’s removal.

In the Supreme Court’s Weekly Summary of Accepted Cases, the court has announced that 3 cases were accepted during the week of April 23, 2018, including:

  • People v. Ovieda; where the Supreme Court will determine if the superior court incorrectly applied the “community caretaking” exception to the Fourth Amendment as a basis for denying Defendant’s motion to suppress drug manufacturing equipment and an assault weapon after Police responded to an emergency phone call involving Defendant’s threats to commit suicide when the Police encountered him outside of his house, and then entered it without a warrant.
  • In re Webb; on a habeus corpus writ, the court will address whether the superior court has statutory or inherent authority to impose conditions of bail on felony defendants when the defendant posts bail at or above the amount specified in the superior court’s bail schedule.
  • People v. Acosta; will address whether the trial court can impose an “electronics search condition” on a minor as a condition of his probation when it had no relationship to the crimes he committed but was justified on appeal as reasonably related to future criminality under because it would facilitate his supervision?

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