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Supreme Court to Televise Tomorrow’s  Session


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The California Supreme Court announced Friday that it will broadcast its session tomorrow live on television.

Citing its efforts to improve public understanding of state courts, the court said that it will hear three cases in a session from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., including City of Hope National Medical Center v. Genentech, Inc., S129463, an appeal that involves $500 million awarded to the City of Hope stemming from Genentech Inc.’s failure to pay royalties for a breakthrough gene-splicing method.

The broadcast is made possible by California Channel, a public affairs cable network with 5.6 million viewers statewide and an audio-visual team from the Administrative Office of the Courts. California Channel will offer live satellite coverage for other networks and TV stations, and a live Webcast of the oral arguments will be available on the California Channel’s Web site:

In City of Hope, the court will considering whether a fiduciary arrangement arises when an inventor or researcher entrusts a new idea or discovery to another under an arrangement providing for the second party to develop, patent, and commercially exploit the idea or discovery in return for royalties, the breach of which might support tort or punitive damages; or whether the arrangement should be treated like an ordinary contractual agreement, a breach of which would only give rise to contract, and not punitive damages.

The lawsuit grew out of a 1976 royalty agreement. City of Hope sued Genentech in 1999, claiming the South San Francisco-based biotechnology giant concealed licensed sales of protein products, such as hepatitis vaccines, over a 15-year period that were worth about $16.7 billion.

City of Hope, which made the protein manufacturing discovery, contended it was owed $457 million in royalties and interest. The jury awarded $300 million in compensation and $200 million in punitive damages after finding Genentech failed to pay a 2 percent royalty on drugs based on the patents developed by two City of Hope physicians.

Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar will not participate in the case. Justice James R. Lambden of Div. Two of the First District Court of Appeal has been assigned as a justice pro tempore.

The court will also consider automatic appeals from judgments of death in People v. Gay, S093765, and People v. Valencia, S051451.

Kenneth Earl Gay was sentenced to death in 1985 for the 1983 murder of Los Angeles police Officer Paul Verna. Gay’s sentence was previously overturned in 1998 by the Supreme Court, which found that he had incompetent legal representation in his first trial, but was reimposed in 2000 by since-deceased Los Angeles Superior Court Judge L. Jeffrey Wiatt.

Alfredo Valencia, a Mexican national, was sentenced to death in Orange Superior Court in 1996 for the 1993 murder of Roberto Cruz.

Chief Justice Ronald M. George will not participate in Gay. Presiding Justice James J. Marchiano of Div. One of the First District Court of Appeal has been assigned as justice pro tempore.

The session is part of the court’s February calendar session at the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building, 914 Capitol Mall, Sacramento. The court’s complete two-cay calendar with case summaries is available on the California Courts Web site.

The court holds oral argument throughout the year in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.  Once a year, the court also holds oral argument in an additional location as part its annual court-community outreach program.


Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company