Articles Posted in California Courts of Appeal

by
There is no equal protection violation for the procedural difference between when a supervising agency files a petition to modify, revoke, or terminate a criminal defendant’s parole or postrelease community supervision, its petition must be accompanied by a written report containing information specified by statute and the California Rules of Court, and when a district attorney files such a petition, its petition need not be accompanied by such a report. Therefore, the Court of Appeal held that the trial court correctly overruled the demurrer in this case. View "People v. Castel" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Toyota, for discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Gov. Code, 12900 et seq., as well as for wrongful discharge. The trial court granted summary judgment for Toyota. The Court of Appeal reversed and held that plaintiff presented sufficient evidence that a substantial motivating factor for his termination was invidious sex or gender stereotyping related to his sexual orientation (the perception that he was "too gay"). However, the court held that plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of material fact to support his FEHA retaliation and related common law tort claim. Accordingly, the court remanded for the trial court to enter an order granting Toyota's alternative motion for summary adjudication as to these causes of action. View "Husman v. Toyota Motor Credit Corp." on Justia Law

by
Defendant argued that the ability of a district attorney to petition for revocation of parole without first completing certain procedural steps and including in the petition information required when a revocation petition has been filed by the supervising parole agency violated his and other parolees' right to equal protection of the law under the state and federal constitutions. The Court of Appeal held that defendant's challenge to the sufficiency of the parole revocation petition was properly denied; the statutory scheme under which the district attorney's petition was filed did not violate parolees' right to equal protection of the law; and thus the superior court did not err in overruling the demurrer and denying the motion for sanctions. View "People v. Zamudio" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, a middle school math teacher, filed suit against various defendants after she was involuntarily detained for mental health evaluation and treatment. Plaintiff alleged that school defendants did not have probable cause to detain her under Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150, that hospital defendants lacked probable cause to continue to detain her and to admit her to the hospital where she spent one night before being released, and that she was entitled to monetary damages for various alleged violations of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, Welfare and Institutions Code 5000 et seq., and of her civil rights. The Court of Appeals concluded that there was no private right of action for the violations of the Act plaintiff alleged; the school district and the school police were immune from liability under 42 U.S.C. 1983; the individual officers were entitled to qualified immunity; the hospital and physician were not state actors for purposes of plaintiff's section 1983 claims; most of the provisions of the California Constitution plaintiff invoked did not create causes of action for damages; plaintiff failed to state a claim for violations of those provisions that might provide such a cause of action; and, because the hospital defendants were not state actors for purposes of section 1983, they cannot be liable for plaintiff's alleged violations of the California Constitution. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision sustaining the hospital defendants' demurrers to plaintiff's third amended complaint and granting the school defendants' motion for summary judgment. View "Julian v. Mission Community Hospital" on Justia Law

by
Psychotherapist-patient privilege does not protect subpoenaed records from disclosure to the Department of Consumer Affairs, because Business and Professions Code section 2225, a statute enacted after codification of the privilege, permits disclosure of records that the privilege would otherwise shelter when the Department and the Board are investigating potential improper prescribing of controlled substances by a psychiatrist. Furthermore, a psychiatric patient's constitutional right to privacy requires the Department to demonstrate a subpoena for the patient's records is supported by a compelling interest and that the information demanded is "relevant and material" to the particular investigation being conducted. In this case, the State had a compelling interest in investigating excessive or otherwise improper prescribing of controlled substances, and petitioner's declaration established most of the records demanded by the subpoena were relevant and material to that investigation. However, further narrowing of the Department's subpoenas was required to comport with the weighty privacy interests at stake. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals granted the petition in part and vacated in part. View "Cross v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs Phillip Baranchik and Eric Baranchik filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging, among other things, claims of excessive force, false arrest, and malicious persecution. The trial court subsequently granted a motion to strike Eric's malicious prosecution claim, denied a motion to reinstate the claim, and granted summary adjudication in favor of defendants on Eric's excessive force claim and Phillip's false arrest claim. The court concluded that the undisputed facts were sufficient to support the legal conclusion that Officer Fizulich had a reasonable basis to believe that Phillip was intoxicated and unable to care for the safety of others, in violation of Penal Code section 647, subdivision (f); the court rejected Eric's contention that the trial court erroneously concluded his excessive force claims against Officer Ho were barred under Heck v. Humphrey; Eric's civil claim for excessive force was barred under Heck because the criminal jury necessarily found Officer Ho's conduct to be lawful and not an unreasonable use of force; because Officer Ho fired his taser when Eric was ignoring commands to stay back, the actions were part of a continuous interaction and the Heck bar applies; dismissal under section 1203.4 does not invalidate Eric's conviction; and the court rejected Eric's malicious prosecution claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Baranchik v. Fizulich" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer, SCPMG, alleging that the company refused to rescind her resignation in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Gov. Code, 12940 et seq., and public policy. Plaintiff alleged that while she was working for the company, she suffered a temporary disability, which arose as a result of a relatively uncommon side effect of the medication she was taking. The adverse drug reaction she suffered allegedly caused her to suffer from an altered mental state. While she was experiencing this altered mental state, she resigned from her job at SCPMG. After the company declined to rescind the resignation, plaintiff filed suit, alleging that SCPMG acted with discriminatory animus by refusing to allow her to rescind her resignation. The court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment for SCPMG, concluding that the company's refusal to allow plaintiff to rescind her resignation was not an adverse employment action under the FEHA, and that plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the SCPMG employees who accepted and promptly processed her resignation knew of her alleged temporary disability at the time they took those actions. In this case, summary judgment was appropriate because plaintiff failed to present evidence raising a triable issue of material fact about the legality of SCPMG's actions. View "Featherstone v. Southern California Permanente Medical Group" on Justia Law

by
Shantel Jackson filed suit against former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., alleging, inter alia, claims for invasion of privacy, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff's claims were based, either entirely or in part, on Mayweather's social media postings about the termination of Jackson's pregnancy and its relationship to the couple's separation and his comments during a radio interview concerning the extent to which Jackson had undergone cosmetic surgery procedures. Mayweather filed a special motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, (the Anti-SLAPP statute). The trial court denied the motion. The court concluded that the challenged causes of action arose from protected activity under section 426.16, subdivision (e)(3); the statements concerned an issue of public interest; and Jackson failed to demonstrate a probability of prevailing on her cause of action for defamation and most aspects of her causes of action for invasion of privacy. Accordingly, the court reversed with respect to Jackson's causes of action for defamation and false light portrayal and her cause of action for public disclosure of private facts based on Mayweather's comments about cosmetic surgery. The court affirmed in all other respects. View "Jackson v. Mayweather, Jr." on Justia Law

by
Officials of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (the Department) challenged the trial court's order granting a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by Gregory Rhoades, a Native American prisoner incarcerated at Calipatria State Prison (Calipatria). In granting Rhoades's petition, the trial court concluded that the prohibition on the use of straight tobacco during prisoners' Native American religious ceremonies violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) and it ordered the California Department of Corrections to "formulate and implement policies permitting and reasonably regulating the possession and use of straight tobacco" during those ceremonies. The Court of Appeals concluded the trial court improperly granted relief in favor of Rhoades without holding an evidentiary hearing on disputed factual issues, and reversed and remanded matter with directions that the trial court hold an evidentiary hearing. View "In re Rhoades" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, the president and CEO of American Apparel, filed suit against Standard General, alleging several causes of action stemming from his claim that Standard General's press release, regarding investigations into allegations against plaintiff, contained false and defamatory information about him. The trial court granted Standard General's anti-SLAPP motion, Code Civ. Proc., 425.16. The court held that plaintiff failed to satisfy his burden of showing there was a minimal chance his claims would succeed at trial. In this case, the court rejected plaintiff's claim that the press release falsely stated he was investigated by an independent third party because such a claim did not allege a falsehood about plaintiff himself. Furthermore, because the press release did not articulate why plaintiff was terminated, plaintiff's allegation that it falsely stated he was terminated for "cause" did not constitute an actionable defamation. Therefore, the court affirmed the trial court's order. View "Charney v. Standard General, LP" on Justia Law