Friday, December 30, 2011
2011 IN REVIEW
END OF THE YEAR:
Tani Cantil-Sakauye Takes Oath as Chief Justice...Superior Court Judge Harvey Silberman Acquitted on Election Bribery Charge...Goodwin Liu Appointed to State Supreme Court After Filibuster Blocks Ninth Circuit Bid
3—On Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last day in office, his administration released data showing that more than one-third of all judges appointed by the governor, and more than 40 percent of those appointed in his last year in office, were women….Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Randy Hammock was sworn in and assigned to the Metropolitan Court….Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye was sworn in, as were Third District Court of Appeal Justice Andrea Hoch and Fourth District Justice Carol Codrington.
4—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked the California Supreme Court to determine whether state law allows Proposition 8’s sponsors to defend the measure in the face of the refusal of the attorney general and governor to do so….The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the propriety of injunctions requiring the National Conference of Bar Examiners to allow a legally blind examinee to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam and the Multistate Bar Exam using a computer equipped with assistive technology software…. The federal government’s acquisition of land containing a 29-foot Latin cross—atop a 14-foot base—and its maintenance as part of a war memorial violates the First Amendment because it conveys a message of government endorsement of religion, the Ninth Circuit ruled en banc.
5—The partial strip search and pat-down of a male inmate by a female training cadet was unreasonable as a matter of law under the Fourth Amendment, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled en banc. The limited en banc court, in a 6-5 decision, reversed the ruling of a district judge who upheld the search, as did a 2-1 majority on the Ninth Circuit panel that heard the case in 2009.
6—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld former Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona’s conviction for witness tampering. Carona was sentenced to 66 months in prison on the only count on which he was convicted, that he had attempted to persuade his then-assistant Donald Haidl to withhold testimony at a grand jury proceeding. Carona had been charged with two counts of witness tampering, conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud, and three counts of mail fraud depriving the public of the right of honest services of a public official.
7—A defendant who burglarized a home under construction and stole several objects, including a stove that subsequently fell from his pickup truck, causing the death of a deputy sheriff on his way to work, was properly convicted of first degree murder under the felony-murder rule, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
10—Maxcy D. Filer, a former Compton attorney and civic leader who gained nationwide headlines when he passed the State Bar examination after 48 tries, died at his Compton home. The former Compton councilman and planning commissioner was 80.
13—E-mails sent by a client to her attorney from a computer in her workplace regarding possible legal action against her employer were not protected by privilege, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled. The panel explained that Gina Holmes had knowingly disclosed the information in her communications to a third party since she was aware that using the computer for personal e-mail violated company policy and could be discovered by her employer due to its monitoring of e-mail usage….Communications between attorneys and clients during mediation fall within the purview of mediation confidentiality in the absence of a waiver, the state Supreme Court ruled. Holding that clothing entrepreneur Michael Cassel could not use communications between himself and his former attorneys to sue them for malpractice, the justices unanimously reversed a ruling by this district’s Court of Appeal.
16—Prominent litigator and bar leader James R. Robie of Robie & Matthai APC died at the age of 61, while scuba diving near Catalina island.
19—Background checks of scientists and other workers involved in non-classified research at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory do not violate any constitutional right to informational privacy, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 8-0. A six-justice majority left open the question of whether such a right exists, but said that if it does, it was not violated at JPL, given the significance of the governmental interests at stake, the relatively benign nature of the questions asked of employees and references, and the availability of statutory protection of private information from public disclosure. Two concurring justices argued there is no such constitutional right.
20—Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced the appointments of three new judges for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. Redlands sole practitioner Wayne E. Johnson was appointed to fill a judgeship left vacant by the retirement of Judge Samuel Bufford in August 2010, while Scott C. Clarkson of Torrance and Mark S. Wallace of Los Angeles were named to fill temporary judgeships approved by the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit in 2009.
21—Southwestern Law School Dean Bryant Garth, attorney/conductor Gary S. Greene, and attorney/bar leader Jack Denove were honored as “Persons of the Year” at the 23rd annual Metropolitan News-Enterprise dinner.
27—A consumer who relies on a misrepresentation in purchasing a product, which the person would not otherwise have bought, has suffered sufficient injury to bring an action for violation of the unfair competition or false advertising laws, the state Supreme Court ruled. In a 5-2 decision, the court revived a 10-year-old lawsuit in which Kwikset Corporation, which makes lock sets, stands accused of deceptively representing certain products as “Made in U.S.A.” The court reversed the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. Three, which held that because the Kwikset products were not defective or overpriced, the plaintiffs suffered no loss of money or property and were barred by Proposition 64 from suing….The Legislature cannot dictate the label, title, and summary for ballot measures, whose authorship has been assigned by initiative to the attorney general, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled…. A foreclosed-upon homeowner can sue the lender for falsely telling her it would help her avoid foreclosure if she did not pursue bankruptcy relief, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
31—San Francisco officials are immune from liability for the killing of three members of a local family by an illegal immigrant, the First District Court of Appeal ruled. The Bologna family charged that the deaths were proximately caused by a since-amended policy prohibiting authorities from turning juveniles over to immigration authorities….The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for an African-American man convicted of killing an elderly white couple in Riverside County, rejecting his claim the prosecutor struck three black venire members for racial reasons. With Justices Kathryn M. Werdegar and Carlos Moreno dissenting, the high court affirmed the sentence imposed on Albert Jones in 1996. Justice Ming Chin said the court, absent “exceptional circumstances,” was required to defer to the trial court’s finding that the prosecutor ’s explanations for the challenges were plausible and race-neutral….The high court affirmed the death sentence for Ronald Wayne Moore, convicted of killing Nicole Carnahan, the 11-year-old daughter of his Salinas neighbor, Rebecca Carnahan. The court held there was sufficient circumstantial evidence that Moore went to the victim’s house to steal, supporting a felony-murder conviction and special circumstance.
2—The California Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Barack Obama’s election as president. The justices voted 6-0 not to review an October 2010 ruling by the the Third District Court of Appeal, which said it is up to the political parties and Congress, rather than the courts, to determine the qualifications of the candidates.
3—Police were not required to give Miranda warnings to a murder suspect whom they questioned at the rear of a police vehicle, from which they had just released him, the California Supreme Court ruled. The justices affirmed the death sentence imposed by a Sonoma Superior Court judge on Alex Dale Thomas, a substitute janitor convicted of the 1997 rape-murder of a student at Rio Linda High School in the Grant School District in Sacramento County. The trial was moved to Sonoma County on a change of venue.
8—Police violated the Fourth Amendment rights of a drunk driving/vehicular manslaughter suspect by downloading data from the car’s sensing and diagnostic module without a warrant, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled…The state auditor criticized the Administrative Office of the Courts’ oversight of the development of its controversial statewide case management system...State Auditor Elaine M. Howle said the work undertaken by the AOC since 2003 on developing the California Court Case Management system, known as CCMS, “has lacked sufficient planning and analysis.”
9—Bankruptcy Judge Geraldine Mund of the Central District of California retired.
10—Pepperdine Law School announced its selection of Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Deanell Reece Tacha as dean of its law school, effective June 1….The California Supreme Court revived a putative class action against the Williams-Sonoma company, clarifying that consumer protection statutes prohibit retailers from asking customers paying with a credit card to provide their ZIP code.
11—A public official may be individually sued for civil rights violations if he or she has knowledge of unconstitutional conduct by subordinates and does nothing to stop it, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The judges revived a suit by a former county jail inmate alleging that Sheriff Lee Baca’s indifference to brutality was responsible for the inmate being severely injured in 2006.
12—Retired Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Juaneita Veron, a pioneering woman lawyer who spent more than 20 years on the local bench, died at age 85.
14—A prosecutor from a small town sitting at a bar did not have improper ex parte communications with a juror who worked at that establishment during the capital murder trial, the California Supreme Court ruled. In declining to grant habeas relief to Curtis Price, the high court concluded the interaction between Deputy Attorney General Ronald Bass and a cook for Café Waterfront in Eureka did not establish Price’s claim of jury tampering by a preponderance of the evidence. Price was convicted of the first-degree murders of Elizabeth Ann Hickey, who was bludgeoned to death during an apparent burglary, and Richard Barnes, the father of an inmate who had testified against the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang. Both murders occurred in 1983.
15—The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act does not allow a city to use zoning laws to prevent the building of a church solely because it prefers taxable use of the property, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
16—A Palestinian immigrant who had “jihadist” materials on his laptop computer, and whose family had ties to Hamas, can be returned by the government to the Palestinian territories, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
17—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis A. Aichroth retired….Homeowners whose residence was damaged in a fire started by their adult son, an additional insured under their policy, were entitled to coverage as a matter of statute, the state Supreme Court ruled. In a unanimous decision, the justices held that policy language purporting to exclude coverage for intentional or criminal acts of an insured cannot be construed against innocent insureds because of Insurance Code Secs. 2070 and 2071. Sec. 2071 sets forth standard policy terms for fire insurance and Sec. 2070 requires that all fire policies provide coverage which is “substantially equivalent” to that of the standard policy, or more favorable to the insured.
18—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Conrad R. Aragon retired.
19—Senior Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David R. Thompson died at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco. Thompson, who was 80, had become sick while in San Francisco to hear oral arguments.
21—Retired attorney Howard D. Swainston, a former name partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Breidenbach, Swainston, Crispo & Way, died in Idaho at the age of 84.
22—Arent Fox LLP announced that former U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Terree Bowers would head the firm’s White Collar and Investigations Practice….Gov. Jerry Brown named Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General Ann Ravel, a former State Bar Board of Governors member, as chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission….The admitted killer of three people who were helping a USC film student make a film in the Mohave Desert was not entitled to an instruction telling jurors to ignore two previous death penalty verdicts that had been thrown out on appeal, the state Supreme Court ruled. In a unanimous decision, the high court upheld the death sentence for David L. Murtishaw for the murders of James Henderson, 24, Marti Soto, 21, and Ingrid Etayo, 22. Jurors at his third trial in Kern Superior Court rejected what Justice Carlos Moreno described as a “Death Row Redemption” defense.
23—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to revive a copyright suit by the family of the creator of Betty Boop over the licensing of merchandise bearing the image of the sweet and seductive baby-doll character. In a 2-1 decision, the panel concluded the descendants of Max Fleischer lacked standing to pursue their claim due to the broken chain of title following the original sale of the rights to the Betty Boop character over 70 years ago….Prominent Los Angeles attorney Pierce O’Donnell began an actual suspension of 60 days as part of a two-year term of probation based on his conviction of making illegal campaign contributions. A two-year suspension was stayed.
24—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence for a Moreno Valley man who was 18 years old when he killed a 17-year-old girl, apparently because she refused to have sex with him. A Riverside Superior Court jury found Philian E. Lee guilty of first degree murder with an attempted rape special circumstance in 1999, three years after Mele Kekaula was shot seven times in and around the head. Two friends of Lee, Devin Bates and Jarrod Gordon, testified they were drinking with Lee and the girl, who became extremely intoxicated, before Lee drew a .22-caliber handgun and shot her repeatedly.
26—Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall, 82, died at her Pasadena home, four days after choosing to end treatment for cancer.
27—Retired East Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Bernard F. Kemper died at the age of 85.
28—Justice Carlos Moreno retired from the Supreme Court of California….Justice Richard J. McAdams of the Sixth District Court of Appeal retired, the day after his 67th birthday.
2—Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley tapped Assistant District Attorney Jacquelyn Lacey for elevation to the office’s No. 2 spot, that of chief deputy, effective April 4.…A wealthy businessman must pay over $4 million in damages to the woman he infected with genital herpes, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. Div. Two said that Thomas Redmond, whose Redmond Products hair care company created the Aussie product line before Redmond sold the company for more than $100 million in 1997, had a duty to tell Patricia Behr of the risk of infection. Justice Jeffrey King said Redmond breached that duty, first by having unprotected sex without telling Behr of his condition, and later by telling her that he had it, but that it was “okay” to have unprotected sex because he was not having an outbreak. The opinion was certified for publication March 14.
3—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jerry E. Johnson retired.
7—The Alameda Superior Court violated the Trial Court Employment Protection and Governance Act, as well as its own policies, by refusing to negotiate with an employee union over layoffs and to allow certain employees to accept demotion in lieu of being laid off, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
9—Two local residents who claim their telephone conversations were intercepted and illegally recorded by onetime celebrity private investigator Anthony Pellicano can sue the lawyers who hired the former private investigator, Alan Jay Weil and the firm of Gaims, Weil, West & Epstein, the court said.
11—Retired U.S. Magistrate Judge John R. Kronenberg died at 87….The State Bar announced that it had initiated proceedings to revoke the license of a Carlsbad attorney who made national headlines by advising clients to break into their foreclosed homes and start living there again. Chief Trial Counsel James Towery called the move “a drastic remedy,” but insisted it was “justified by the established misconduct of Michael T. Pines.”
15—The national law firm of Howrey LLP, whose Los Angeles office was located at 550 South Hope Street, dissolved.
16—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Harvey Giss drew a public admonishment from the Commission on Judicial Performance for a remark he claimed to have made in jest, referencing the Ku Klux Klan. Giss, 71, admitted saying something to the effect that the only thing that would motivate the African American defendants in a then-pending criminal case to accept a plea offer would be if he addressed them “in a white sheet and a pointy white hat,” the CJP said in its decision.
22—Long-time Administrative Director of the Courts William C. Vickrey announced plans to retire Sept. 9.
25—Los Angeles city employees cannot arbitrate furloughs implemented as a budget-cutting measure, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled….Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Howard Thelin passed away at the age of 90.
28—California regulations mandating use of cleaner marine fuels on vessels operating within 24 miles of the state’s coastline are constitutional and not preempted by federal statute, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
31—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marlene Kristovich and Superior Court Commissioner Martin L. Goetsch both retired.
1—Michael R. Wilner, previously an assistant U.S. attorney, was named magistrate judge for the Central District of California. He filled a vacancy created in May of last year by the retirement of Magistrate Judge Carolyn Turchin.
4—The U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence of a former Van Nuys resident who killed two men with a knife during the botched burglary of a Tarzana home in 1982. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, voted 8-3 in December 2009 to affirm a district court ruling granting habeas relief due to ineffective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase of Scott Lynn Pinholster’s 1984 trial, but Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the high court, said that even if Pinholster’s trial lawyers were ineffective in failing to discover and present additional mitigating evidence, there was no prejudice because no reasonable juror would have voted against the death penalty.
6—A California Highway Patrol officer has qualified immunity from liability for shooting a woman who led police on a high-speed chase across the Bay Bridge, then rammed their patrol vehicles, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The court overturned a judgment for $60,000 in damages and more than $500,000 in costs and attorney fees in favor of the children of Karen Eklund, a 31-year-old fugitive who was facing a likely prison sentence when she was killed.
11—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to lift a stay blocking major parts of Arizona’s immigration law from taking effect and said the federal government is likely to be able to prove the controversial law is unconstitutional….The Ninth Circuit rejected an effort by two former Harvard University schoolmates of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to rescind a 2008 settlement agreement, now worth an estimated $160 million, over ownership rights in what the panel noted was one of the world’s fastest-growing companies. Following six years of litigation dramatized in the Oscar-nominated film “The Social Network,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski explained the mutual release of claims executed by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss foreclosed their challenge to the settlement negotiation process.
12—The U.S. Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John A. Kronstadt to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Senators voted 96-0 in favor of the jurist’s nomination to succeed the late Judge Florence-Marie Cooper….Orange Superior Court Judge Richard Stanford, a 26-year veteran of the trial bench, was charged by the Commission on Judicial Performance with misusing his office to assist his courtroom clerk, several friends, and his son-in-law in resolving traffic citations.
13—An order requiring the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center to disclose the names of persons it treated for syphilis to the counsel for plaintiffs in a class action over the treatment was overturned by this district’s Court of Appeal. Div. One, in an opinion by Justice Jeffrey Johnson, said the class members, who were allegedly treated with a drug that is not recommended for such treatment, have privacy rights and privileges that must be taken into consideration.
15—Sheri Pym was sworn in as a magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Pym, who had been an assistant U.S. attorney, filled the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Rosalyn M. Chapman in November 2010 and was assigned to sit in the court’s Eastern Division in Riverside.
20—A rape victim suing under a fictitious name may sign discovery verifications using that name, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. In an opinion by Justice Walter Croskey, the court granted a writ of mandate to Shawna Doe, who is suing the mother of convicted rapist Andrew Luster for her alleged involvement in fraudulent transfers of her son’s assets….The Los Angeles Superior Court Executive Committee voted to back AB 1208, which proposes granting trial courts more authority over their administration and funding.
22—Sandra R. Klein, 50, was sworn into office as a bankruptcy judge for the Central District of California, filling a vacancy created in January by the retirement of Judge Kathleen H. Thompson.
25—An order that would have required Starbucks Corporation to identify employees who were illegally forced to disclose marijuana convictions in order to obtain their jobs was thrown out by the Fourth District Court of Appeal. Justice Raymond Ikola said the order was an abuse of discretion because it would have resulted in the very type of invasion of privacy that made the inclusion of the question about past convictions unlawful in the first place….Former Los Angeles County Bar Association president and UCLA Foundation Chair Emeritus Roy H. Aaron died from the complications of cancer at age 82.
26—Superior Court Commissioner Cathrin DeVoe, 65, retired.
28—A State Bar Court judge placed Carlsbad attorney Michael T. Pines on involuntary inactive status, saying his headline-grabbing advice that clients break into homes they’ve lost in foreclosure threatens the public, as well as any clients who might follow similar advice….A man who was injured assisting a fellow rider whose off-road vehicle became stuck in train tracks cannot sue the sponsors of the event in which they were participating, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled. Justice James McIntyre of Div. One said Aaron Tucker has no claim under the “rescue” doctrine because the defendants had no duty to protect him from his injuries, which occurred when a train hit the other rider’s vehicle and propelled it into Tucker after both men were clear of the tracks.
5—The Los Angeles County Bar Association announced County Counsel Andrea Sheridan Ordin as this year’s recipient of the organization’s highest honor—the Shattuck-Price Outstanding Lawyer Award.
6—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Horan retired at age 60.
11—The names of public retirees and the amounts they receive in pension benefits are public records subject to disclosure, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled.
12—Gov. Jerry Brown selected former U.S. Marshal for the Central District of California Adam Torres and Northern California attorney Nanci Nishimura, previously in private practice in Los Angeles, for appointment to the Commission on Judicial Performance….Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley announced that he would not seek a fourth term and endorsed his second-in-command, Jacquelyn Lacey, as his replacement.
13—A suspended Woodland Hills attorney convicted of 11 felony sex offenses was sentenced to nine years in prison. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis Rappe also ordered David A. Cohn to pay $20,000 in fines and to register for life as a sex offender. The crimes primarily involved an exchange of Internet messages with an FBI agent posing as a 13-year old girl…. Just over 42 percent of the 4,364 applicants who took the February California bar examination passed it, the Committee of Bar Examiners reported, the highest rate for the winter exam in years.
15—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Andrew Kauffman, 61, retired to join Alternative Resolution Centers as a private judge.
16—The state Supreme Court revived a former client’s lawsuit against Reed Smith LLP and one of its partners based on the attorney’s actions opposing the client’s proposed development project after the representation ended. Oasis West Realty Inc. showed a reasonable probability of prevailing on its claims that Kenneth Goldman’s participation in a referendum campaign opposing the company’s project constituted a breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence, and a breach of contract, Justice Marvin Baxter wrote for the court. The ruling overturned a contrary decision by Div. Five of this Court of Appeal, which held that Goldman was exercising his First Amendment rights by seeking support for a petition drive to force a referendum on Oasis’ plan for the redevelopment of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel site. Opponents obtained enough signatures to place the issue on the ballot, but lost the election by 129 votes….An Internet user has no expectation of privacy with respect to identifying information he gives to an Internet Service Provider and lacks standing to challenge the provider’s compliance with a search warrant seeking the information, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled. Div. Six affirmed Vincent Stipo’s convictions for wiretapping and unlawfully accessing computer information. Stipo pled no contest, reserving the right to appeal based on the denial of his motion to suppress, after prosecutors accused him of hacking into the Hacienda La Puente High School District’s computer network and obtaining confidential data….A program initiated during Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration, furloughing state employees two—and later three—days per month, was lawful, both as to state- and federally funded workers, the First District Court of Appeal ruled.
18—President Obama nominated Justice Morgan Christen of the Alaska Supreme Court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit….The California Supreme Court voted to depublish a lower court ruling that police violated the Fourth Amendment rights of a drunk driving/vehicular manslaughter suspect by downloading data from the car’s sensing and diagnostic module without a warrant….A federal court in California has jurisdiction over a suit against the maker of Mercedes-Benz automobiles by former residents of Argentina who claim they were kidnapped, detained, or tortured by security forces directed by a subsidiary of the company, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
19—Dependency attorney Emma Castro was named by the judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court as a commissioner….The state Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence for a McDonald’s employee who killed a co-worker during an armed robbery. Sean Venyette Vines was sentenced to death by Sacramento Superior Court Judge James Long in 1997 after a jury found him guilty of shooting Ronald Lee, a 21-year-old manager trainee at the restaurant, in the back of the head….Democrats fell short of the 60 votes they need to end a filibuster and give Goodwin Liu, a 40-year-old legal scholar at the UC Berkeley School of Law, an up-or-down vote on his nomination to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
20—San Francisco’s “instant runoff voting” system, in which voters rank candidates in order of preference and candidates are eliminated sequentially until a winner is determined, is constitutional, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
31—Carlsbad lawyer Michael T. Pines and a client were charged with vandalism and other misdemeanor counts after officers observed them breaking into a foreclosed Orange County home. Pines and Newport Beach resident Rene Zepeda pled not guilty after turning themselves in at the Newport Beach courthouse….A public agency that maintains a geographic information system database is not required to make the database accessible to the public under the California Public Records Act, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
1—Presiding Justice David G. Sills, 73, retired from the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Div. Three, after nearly 21 years on that court and nearly 26 years on the bench….Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye named Court of Appeal Justice Judith M. Ashmann-Gerst to the state Judicial Council. The chief justice also named Sacramento Superior Court Judge David De Alba to the council. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teri L. Jackson was also appointed as a voting member, while Santa Clara Superior Court Executive Officer David H. Yamasaki was named an advisory member, all for terms are slated to begin in Sept.14….Matt Fong, a Los Angeles attorney who served as state treasurer from 1995 to 1999 and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, died of cancer. He was 57.
2—The state Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a Chula Vista woman who was convicted along with her husband for the torture and murder of their four-year-old niece. Veronica Utilia Gonzales was sentenced to death in July 1998 for the murder of Genny Rojas. Her husband, Ivan Gonzalez, was tried separately and also received the maximum sentence, apparently making them the only husband and wife sentenced to death in California….The California Supreme Court reinstated a Riverside County man’s convictions of first degree murder and robbery in the death of a woman who was run over with her own car after the defendant stole it. The justices unanimously agreed that the willful use of force against the victim of theft satisfies the “force or fear” element of robbery, regardless of whether the defendant intended to strike the victim or instill fear. The court thus concluded that the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Div. Two erred in reversing the convictions of Paul D. Anderson, sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the murder of Pamela Thompson.
6—A suit for a state income tax refund is not triable by jury, a unanimous state Supreme Court ruled.
7—The Court of Appeal for this district scolded an administrative law judge for abandoning his duties in reviewing a former Simi Valley Unified School District employee’s challenge to the termination of his employment. The court said that Carl Lange’s failure to decide the case, along with the school district’s decision to hire attorneys to review the transcript of the administrative hearing, deprived John Absmeier of due process....The Fourth District Court of Appeal blocked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s effort to sell the Orange County Fairgrounds to a private developer, citing defects in the bidding process.
8—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals scolded U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real of the Central District of California for behaving injudiciously during the 2006 trial of an alleged member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.... A sentence of 50 years to life imprisonment, plus two consecutive life terms, violates the state and federal constitutions where imposed on an offender who was 14 years of age when the crimes were committed, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.
9—The publishers of a weekly newspaper, arrested late at night after publishing the contents of purported grand jury subpoenas, can sue the prosecutor who allegedly ordered their arrests, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The panel said the publishers of Phoenix New Times, alleged sufficient facts to state claims against former special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik for malicious prosecution, violation of the First and Fourth Amendments, and malicious prosecution. The panel, however, upheld District Judge Susan Bolton’s dismissal of the claim that Wilenchik deprived the publishers of equal protection by singling them out as targets of a grand jury investigation into whether they violated state law by publishing private information about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
10—A UCLA researcher seeking personal and academic information about bar examination applicants may be entitled to receive this data, the First District Court of Appeal said. Div. Three ruled the State Bar’s records are potentially subject to disclosure under the common law presumption of access to public documents and directed the lawsuit by economist and law professor Richard Sander be remanded for the trial court to craft an order for production.
13—The U.S. Supreme Court, by an equally divided vote, upheld the constitutionality of disparate residence requirements, based on gender, as to when foreign-born children acquire derivative citizenship from their parents. Without the participation of Justice Elena Kagan, the court split 4-4 and therefore affirmed the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision from 2008....The federal Defense of Marriage Act deprives same-sex couples of due process and the equal protection of the laws, 20 bankruptcy judges in the Central District of California ruled.
15—The University of La Verne did not violate the rights of a third year law student suspended for plagiarism and academic dishonesty, this district’s Court of Appeal ruled....The State Bar of California announced the resignation of Chief Trial Counsel James E. Towery, a past president of the organization, effective July 1.
16—Federal law does not preempt a suit against a debt collector for violation of California’s medical privacy law, a unanimous state Supreme Court ruled.
20—A Department of Fish and Game warden had the right to stop a vehicle based upon mere suspicion the driver had just taken a lobster illegally, the state Supreme Court ruled.
23—A lawsuit by a disbarred local attorney against his former co-counsel, Girardi | Keese principal Thomas V. Girardi, can proceed, the California Supreme Court ruled. The justices said that Joseph L. Shalant could pursue his claim for unpaid fees in propria persona, even though he had been adjudged a vexatious litigant and had not obtained approval to bring his suit against Girardi, since he had been represented by counsel at the time the action was filed.
25—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Martin Green, 62, retired.
29—Eric Webber was installed as president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
30—Los Angeles Superior Court judge Susan Lopez-Giss was formally appointed as a director of the Alliance of California Judges....The California Supreme Court upheld the conviction and death sentence for the robbery/murder of a 22-year-old woman at her family’s Gardena doughnut shop. The justices unanimously rejected arguments raised by attorneys for Lester Wayne Virgil, sentenced to death for the Oct. 24, 1992, slaying of Soy Sung Lao, including contentions that then-Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Suzukawa—now a member of the Court of Appeal for this district—who conducted the 1995 trial and sentencing, gave prosecutors excessive latitude in their presentation of victim impact evidence....The state high court also ruled that California overtime laws apply to work done in this state by non-residents employed by a California company, even if the plaintiffs were primarily employed elsewhere....Court of Appeal Justice Douglas P. Miller assumed the head of the Judicial Council’s Executive and Planning Committee, and Justice Harry E. Hull became chair the Rules and Projects Committee.
1—The L.A. Law Library celebrated its 120th anniversary….Police Department Inspector General Nicole Bershon and Deputy District Attorney Eloise Phillips were elected as commissioners of the Los Angeles Superior Court....State Bar Chief Trial Counsel James E. Towery resigned.
5—The Court of Appeal for this district affirmed a $50,000 attorney fee award in favor of the former head of a Kern County hospital’s pathology department. Div. Six concluded the county’s lawsuit against Dr. David F. Jadwin for submitting false expense reports was filed in retaliation to his successful action based on claims he was disciplined for complaining about medical quality issues.
6—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a district judge’s order that the U.S. government immediately cease enforcement of its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring openly gay persons from serving in the military....State Bar Deputy Chief Trial Counsel Russell Weiner and Assistant Chief Trial Counsel Victoria Molloy, Djinna Gochis and Nancy J. Watson were terminated. ... The Court of Appeal for this district reinstated a wrongful death suit against a man accused of driving his stepdaughter to suicide through years of torture and sexual abuse. Div. Four said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jan A. Pluim erred in granting summary judgment rejecting Deborah Kincaid’s suit against her ex-husband, Jeffrey Kincaid.
7—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death penalty for the convicted killer of 23-year-old Denise Huber, whose body was found in a freezer on his property three years after she disappeared off the side of a freeway in Orange County. The justices rejected the argument that extensive pretrial publicity and public hostility during the trial deprived John Famalaro of his constitutional right to due process of law....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Birney retired.
8—The State Public Works Board approved the acquisition of land in Santa Barbara and Shasta counties for two courthouse construction projects....Craig E. Holden of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP was elected to the State Bar Board of Governors as the representative for Los Angeles county....The First District Court of Appeal ruled that the employees of five state agencies which were not funded directly through the state budget—the California Children and Families Commission, also known as First 5 California; the Prison Industry Authority; the California Earthquake Authority; the California Housing Finance Agency; and the Office of Administrative Hearings—may have been illegally furloughed.
11—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence for Kenneth Ray Bivert. The justices said that evidence of Bivert’s white supremacist views was properly admitted to explain the motivation for his stabbing of another Caucasian inmate....The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that a landlord’s lawsuit against her tenants for interfering with the prospective sale of the property after the lease expired by informing the would-be buyer that a registered sex offender lived across the street arose from acts in furtherance of the tenants’ right of free speech in connection with an issue of public interest.
12—Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced the creation of a new Court Facilities Working Group, tasked with providing oversight of the statewide program that maintains, renovates, and rebuilds courthouses, headed by Justice Brad R. Hill of the Fifth District Court of Appeal....The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that county boards of education may revoke a school’s charter on the basis of evidence presented outside the record of the statutorily mandated public hearing, and are not required to grant a separate evidentiary hearing before a neutral factfinder....The court’s Div. Five also ordered the reinstatement of two felony counts of vote fraud against state Sen. Roderick Wright.
13—The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished Orange Superior Court Judge Nancy Pollard for remarks, made during trial, articulating stereotypes about two ethnic groups and their propensity to engage in certain types of domestic violence....The Court of Appeal for this district ordered published a case in which it held that an insurer owed no duty to defend or indemnify an insured who, while drunk, struck his friend in the groin during a bout of roughhousing, causing significant testicular injury....The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that a political party may include a letter in its voters’ sample ballot materials, soliciting funds, endorsing candidates, and expressing its position on ballot measures under Elections Code Sec. 13305.
14—The California Supreme Court ruled the City of Manhattan Beach did not need to complete an environmental review before banning retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to consumers....The justices also agreed to decide whether Los Angeles city employees may arbitrate furloughs implemented as a budget-cutting measure.
15—The Court of Appeal for this district ordered publication of a decision holding that the County of Los Angeles cannot be compelled by mandate to implement regulations for hardcore pornography performers as a means of controlling the spread of venereal diseases and AIDS....LA Superior Court Judge John Shook retired.
18—The San Francisco Superior Court issued lay-off notices to 200 employees, including 11 of its 12 commissioners, as part of a reorganization plan to address budgets cut made to the branch.…A jury was seated for the trial of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Harvey Silberman on a charge of elections bribery.…The state high court upheld a Los Angeles ordinance that requires the new owner of a large grocery store to retain the existing workforce for 90 days.
19—A divided Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel threw out an order revoking a California attorney’s ability to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon because he was not a member of the Oregon State Bar....A San Diego man who posted vitriolic, profanity-laced and racist comments on an Internet message board regarding Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign also had his convictions for threatening to harm a political candidate overturned by a Ninth Circuit panel.
20—Los Angeles attorney Michael W. Fitzgerald was tapped to serve as a district judge on the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
22—The Judicial Council approved a plan to allocate a $350 million loss in branch funding for the fiscal year which began July 1. The plan cuts funding for the trial courts by 6.7 percent, by 9.7 percent for the California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal, and by 12 percent for the council and Administrative Office of the Courts. It also delays implementation of the controversial California Case Management System for one year....San Francisco attorney Jon Streeter was elected the 87th president of the State Bar in an internal election by the Board of Governors.
26—Gov. Jerry Brown nominated UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu for the California Supreme Court. Deputy District Attorney Eloise Phillips declined to take office as a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner in light of the cuts to the trial court’s budget.
27—Thomas R. Sheppard—a retired partner in the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton and the son of firm founder James Sheppard—died at the age of 76....The Fourth District Court of Appeal published its decision holding that a former Cathedral City police officer was properly terminated after his lawyer repudiated a settlement agreement that enabled him to avoid being fired after her was arrested by Ontario police in a 2006 prostitution sting.
28—The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence Correll Lamont Thomas, who was convicted of having used a submachine gun to shoot a motorist who had flirted with his girlfriend while stopped at an intersection....The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that the partners of a law firm were not individually liable for the buyout payment to a disassociating partner under Corporations Code Sec.16701(b).
31—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Martha Bellinger retired.
1—Los Angeles Superior Court judge Harvey Silberman was found not guilty of a felony Elections Code violation stemming from the 2008 contest which brought him to the bench....The Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that a grand jury investigating possible police negligence after a civilian was struck by a bullet which strayed from a departmental firing range was not required to submit an affidavit of good cause in support of its subpoena of documents.
2—President Barack Obama nominated Miranda Du of McDonald Carano Wilson LLP to serve as a district judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.
3—The Panorama Café, on the ninth floor of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, opened its doors to the public after a three-months renovation....The Justice Department and City of Walnut reached a settlement in a Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act suit arising from the city’s refusal in 2008 to permit a Zen Buddhist center’s construction....The Fourth District Court of Appeal ordered published a decision rejecting a challenge filed by the family of an Orange County attorney killed in a 2003 SUV roll-over accident to a judgment entered in favor of the Ford Motor Company.
4—Los Angeles attorney Pierce O’Donnell pled guilty to two counts of making illegal campaign contributions to a political committee supporting the election of a presidential candidate in 2003....The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that San Jose attorney John Kevin Crowley effectively rejected an adverse arbitration award in a fee dispute with a former client by timely filing a request for trial de novo on in the small claims division of the Santa Clara Superior Court.
8—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ordered published a decision upholding an injunction barring the sale of tobacco by stores operating on lands held in trust in eastern Riverside County for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, to non-Indians....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a pair of rulings in unrelated cases holding that the out-of-state defendants’ on-line conduct was expressly aimed at California and the taking of justified personal jurisdiction.
9—The First District Court of Appeal ruled that a mother’s interest in challenging the guardianship of her teenage daughter is not sufficient to entitle her to appointed counsel....The Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed a verdict in favor of Bakersfield attorney Thomas J. Anton on harassment and discrimination claims by a former employee.
10—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that a partnership requires the joining of a minimum of two persons, and the partnership dissolves by operation of law when one of them departs.
12—The State Public Works Board approved selection of a site in downtown Yreka for the construction of a new facility for the Siskiyou Superior Court.
15—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal of a district judge’s decision allowing the state to round up and remove wild horses and burros from Northern California as moot since the complained-of activity had already taken place....The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that a state law making it a felony to contact or communicate with a minor with the intent of committing a lewd act does not violate the First Amendment.
16—The Commission on Judicial Performance admonished Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani for abusing her authority, violating constitutional rights, and terminating a defendant’s pro per status without legal cause. It was the third time the Long Beach jurist was disciplined....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Covina police did not have probable cause to conduct a search of a sixth grade teacher’s home for child pornography based on a three-year-old allegation of attempted molestation and other claims of inappropriate behavior.
17—The First District ruled that Petaluma attorney Matthew Zelasko-Barrett was properly classified as an exempt employee while he was working as a law clerk for Brayton-Purcell LLP....The California Supreme Court unanimously declined to review a Court of Appeal ruling affirming the murder conviction of music producer Phil Spector.
18—Rank-and-file prosecutors in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office voted to create an “agency shop,” in which all non-management deputies will be required to share the costs of collective bargaining....The California Supreme Court ruled that the measure of damages for medical costs incurred by an insured plaintiff is the amount actually accepted as payment by the provider, not the higher amount that was billed....The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that a consumer accusing the maker of Listerine mouthwash of false advertising was wrongly denied the opportunity to seek class certification. Div. Three said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carl J. West should have considered certifying a narrower class instead of terminating the certification proceedings.
19—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a former high school student in Orange County cannot sue his Advanced Placement European History teacher for making comments allegedly hostile to Christianity as violative of the Establishment Clause....The court also ruled that an attorney who successfully represents his or her spouse in a civil rights action is entitled to recover reasonable fees under the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act.
22—The California Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence for a Banning man who committed two murders in that city in early 1994. The high court rejected claims of error in the guilt and penalty phases of the trial, including Crandell McKinnon’s contention that he should have received separate trials for the murders committed six weeks apart....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived a civil rights suit by a Nevada man arrested in front of his two young children for selling state fair tickets he had received for free from a radio station. The panel said qualified immunity could not protect Washoe County sheriff’s deputies who tried to justify the arrest based on the post hoc justification of an obscure statute.
23—Retired Court of Appeal Presiding Justice David G. Sills died at the age of 73.
24—The California Supreme Court unanimously denied review of a Third District Court of Appeal ruling that a cuckolded husband did not have a right to sue the employer of his wife’s paramour....The Fourth District Court of Appeal ordered published its decision that suspended Newport Beach attorney Nathan D. La Moure could not quash or recall a levy on his individual retirement account rollover to recover $126,507 in child and spousal support arrears....The Court of Appeal for this district ruled borrowers who claimed that Countrywide Financial Corporation and founder Angelo Mozilo misled investors into buying pooled mortgages based on inflated property valuations cannot sue the lender on a fraudulent concealment theory.
25—The California Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for an Oregon man who killed a Torrance homeowner and committed a brutal sexual assault on his wife in 1993. The justices said failed to demonstrate error by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor at either the guilt or penalty phase of his 1994 trial....The high court also unanimously affirmed the death sentence for Erven Blacksher, a Berkeley resident convicted of shooting his sister and nephew to death in 1995....The justices agreed to decide whether a UCLA researcher seeking personal and academic information about bar examination applicants may be entitled to receive this data....Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Edmon and Executive Officer John Clark announced plans to lay off over 600 employees next October, and another 400 in April 2014.
26—The Judicial Council rejected a proposal to authorize new fees in complex litigation cases as a way of making up part of the $350 million budget reduction in the judicial branch budget....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a man who was pepper sprayed after he refused a deputy sheriff’s order to sit in his truck while the officer wrote out a citation for not wearing a seatbelt can sue for use of excessive force.
29—The California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence for a Fresno man convicted of the murder and attempted rape of a 14-year-old girl and the attempted murder of her best friend. Although the justices cited a half-dozen instances in which Fresno Superior Court Judge John Fitch clearly or arguably erred, they concluded Royal Clark Jr. was not prejudiced in the guilt, sanity, or penalty phases of his lengthy trial....The First District Court of Appeal ruled that a county retirement plan must disclose the names of its members and the amounts they receive in benefits, but need not disclose their ages at retirement.
30—The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that employees of the state’s constitutional officers are subject to the same furloughs as others working in the executive branch.
31—Suspended West Hills attorney Alfred Nash Villalobos was found guilty of federal extortion and obstruction-of-justice charges related to a scheme in which he accepted a $50,000 cash payment after promising that a client would lie to authorities conducting a federal grand jury investigation....UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin H. Liu was unanimously confirmed as the newest member of the state Supreme Court.
1—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Champagne retired.…The state Senate approved legislation that will add gender identity and sexual orientation to the categories of data to be collected from judges and judicial applicants for statistical purposes.
2—The First District Court of Appeal ordered published its decision upholding state regulators’ rejection of the proposed sale of the Aurora National Life Assurance Company to a subsidiary of the Swiss Reinsurance Company.
5—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Holland American Line-USA had no duty to warn a cruise passenger of the potential danger of swimming at a popular beach near the port where his cruise ship was docked....Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Latin retired.
6—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maral Injejikian retired.…The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California announced the selection of USC law professor Jean Rosenbluth as a magistrate judge....The Court of Appeal for this district ordered published its opinion overturning a decision by the city of Los Angeles to grant a conditional use permit and parking variance for a synagogue in a residential section of Van Nuys.
7—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the death sentence for Lacey Mark Sivak, who was convicted of slaying a former coworker, because Sivak was prejudiced when the state allowed a jailhouse informant to lie on the witness stand....Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 362, which increased the number of signatures required to mount a write-in challenge to an incumbent judge of a superior court.
8—Robert K. Rasmussen, dean of the USC Gould School of Law, accepted a second five-year term in his post.
9—The State Bar Board of Governors selected Angela Davis of Los Angeles and Mark P. Robinson Jr. of Newport Beach to join the Judicial Council of California....The Judicial Council approved allocation of $2.5 million in one-time emergency funding to the San Francisco Superior Court.
10—Chief Deputy Director of the Courts Ronald G. Overholt became interim director, succeeding the retiring William C. Vickrey.
12—The State Bar charged Elk Grove attorney Sean Patrick Gjerde with 36 counts of misconduct, including having misappropriated more than $80,000 from the beneficiary of a trust for which he served as trustee, engaged in a scheme to defraud a legal insurance provider, repeatedly violated a bankruptcy court order, performed incompetently, failed to return unearned fees, lied on court documents and forged the names of his partner and a client....The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished El Dorado Superior Court Assistant Presiding Judge James R. Wagoner for abusing his contempt power by haling a citizen into his courtroom for allegedly disruptive conduct in the courthouse lobby and ordering her arrest....The Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected a contention that borrowers may bring suit for wrongful foreclosure on the ground that the current owner of the trust deed has not been a identified....A federal law enforcement officer in Georgia, who seized $97,000 in cash from two travelers passing though an Atlanta airport on their way to Las Vegas, committed an intentional act expressly aimed at Nevada sufficient to satisfy the requirements for personal jurisdiction in that state, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
13— State Assemblyman Mike Feuer filed paperwork to run for Los Angeles City Attorney.
14—Assistant U.S. Attorney Jayne Kim assumed her position as interim chief trial counsel for the State Bar....The California Supreme Court declined to hear third-year law student Katarina Yu’s challenge to her suspension from the University of LaVerne for plagiarism and academic dishonesty....The justices also agreed to decide whether a public agency that maintains a geographic information system database is required to make the database accessible to the public under the California Public Records Act....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an alien who received a 365-day suspended sentence to be served during a leap year lasting 366 days, was subject to removal for having served a one-year sentence.
15—The Children’s Law Center of California honored retired California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno at its gala in Little Toyko....The Court of Appeal for this district rejected claims that a Judicial Council requirement that interpreters pass language proficiency examinations in order to be licensed violated the due process or equal protection rights of nine previously-licensed interpreters who failed to pass these certifying tests.
16—The California Judges Association presented Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ross M. Klein with its Alba Witkin Humanitarian Award....The Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected a constitutional challenge to the statutory presumption that a mother’s husband is the father of her child....Div. Two of that court also ruled that Riverside attorney Danuta Tuszynska’s ex discrimination suit against a prepaid legal services plan, alleging that fewer cases were referred to her then less-experienced male lawyers—was subject to a special motion to strike as a strategic lawsuit against public participation.
17—Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein received the Bernard E. Witkin Medal from the State Bar of California.
18—Retired Culver Municipal Court Commissioner Seymour Fried died at age 87.
19—A now-deceased Los Angeles attorney who declared bankruptcy was entitled to discharge of a half-million dollar debt representing the amount he held in trust for a contingency case involving a corporate client in receivership for alleged securities law violations, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The First District Court of Appeal rejected a challenge to Proposition 14, which replaced the state’s closed partisan primary election with an open primary in which the top two vote getters, regardless of party, will qualify for the general election.
20—The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that a Sacramento-area woman who claims she suffered facial injuries as a result of having defective permanent makeup injected into her eyelids and eyebrows has no case against the day spa owner who injected the product....The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that a trial court erred in finding it had jurisdiction over a defendant who had actual notice of the complaint, even though the process server’s declaration of personal service was clearly false.
21—Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Pamela Ann Rymer died at the age of 70. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a retired Catholic priest who had been accused of sexual abuse was entitled to have his identifying information redacted from documents produced in discovery during the Portland Archdiocese’s bankruptcy proceedings before these materials could be released to the public....The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that an attorney who sued the maker of a medical product for false advertising, and who was in turn sued by the manufacturer for defamation, may continue to represent the plaintiff in the original lawsuit
22—President Barack Omaba nominated U.S. District Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen of the Central District of California for elevation to an open seat on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a former gang member who said he fears he will be tortured if returned to his native Honduras on the basis of his gang tattoos was entitled to a new hearing on his CAT claim.
23—Campaign consultants Evelyn Jerome Alexander and Randy Steinberg—who pled no contest to charges they conspired with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Harvey Silberman to pay his 2008 election opponent not to run against him—were each fined $1,000....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. government had legally sufficient cause to designate the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, an Oregon-based Islamic charitable group, as being involved in terrorism.
26—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a Nevada man’s facial challenge to the federal law prohibiting the unauthorized wearing of military decorations....In a separate case, the court also upheld an ex-Boeing engineer’s conviction for passing his employer’s secrets to Chinese officials.
27—Real estate attorney Lawrence H. Jacobson was installed as the 80th president of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
28—The Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report advising that the state should assert increased control over the operations of its 58 trial courts....The California Supreme Court declined to review a ruling that an attorney who asked his clients to sign a new retainer contract after the lawyer changed firms did not have a fiduciary duty to separately explain the agreement’s arbitration clause.
29—A facial constitutional challenge to the military’s now-repealed policy banning openly gay troops was dismissed by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as moot.
1—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Robert S. Wada stepped down from the bench to become the court’s supervising probate attorney.
2—Gov. Jerry Brown signed the State Bar dues bill, which directed that the Board of Governors be replaced by a 23-member Board of Trustees effective Jan. 1....The Sixth District Court of Appeals ruled that Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Troy Benson’s false testimony at a hearing on a motion to recuse his office from conducting the retrial of a Northern California man accused of sexually assaulting his granddaughter was an insufficient basis for the information to be dismissed.
3—The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in a Christian group’s action claiming that a Bay Area city violated its religious freedom by using zoning laws to prevent the building of a church, solely because it prefers taxable use of the property....The First District Court of Appeal upheld the lawfulness of a three-day-per-month furlough program initiated during Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration, as applied to facilities manned by employees represented by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.
4—The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that lawsuit initiated by former City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo to prevent an audit of his office’s Workers’ Compensation Division by former Controller Laura Chick was rendered moot by the actions of the successor city attorney and controller after they took office in July 2009....Div. Three of that court also ruled that a Long Beach ordinance designed to regulate medical marijuana collectives is at least partially preempted by federal law.
5—The Court of Appeal for this district upheld the dismissal of a defamation action against a Korean-language news company over its broadcast of a story which characterized Yuin University in Compton as a “degree factory.”
6—Los Angeles attorney Julie Wagner Brand was named a judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California....The Los Angeles Superior Court announced that it is offering its commissioners an incentive to step down before the end of the year....The Court of Appeal for this discretion upheld Christopher Kevin Santana’s first degree murder conviction for the death of a Covina Hills resident during a home invasion burglary in 2008.
9—Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation mandating anti-discrimination training for members of the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation.
11—A State Bar Court judge recommended that San Fernando lawyer Howard Roy Levine be disbarred for misappropriating funds from two clients and other ethical violations....Los Angeles Superior Court officials announced the selection of Judge Scott M. Gordon as supervising judge, and Judge Thomas Trent Lewis as assistant supervising judge, of the family law departments, effective January 1....A Los Alamitos-based outdoor advertising installation company filed a motion seeking to disqualify the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office from pursuing a criminal action against it based on allegations that prosecutors have used the charges and the threat of jail to obtain an advantage in a corresponding civil suit.
12—Southwestern Law School Professor Emeritus John Gallagher died at the age of 80....The California Supreme Court declined to intervene in a dispute over who should pay former Bell city administrator Robert Rizzo’s attorney fees....The selection of California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and former California Gov. George Deukmejian as recipients of the Metropolitan News-Enterprise’s “Person of the Year” awards for 2011 was announced.
13—Los Angeles Superior Court officials said Judge Jacqueline Connor is set to retire from the bench on Feb. 21....A Los Angeles-based group of attorneys licensed in other states who want to practice in California without bar admission has filed suit against the California Supreme Court seeking the invalidation of the state’s rules barring them from doing so in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California
14—The White House honored veteran civil rights attorney Thomas A. Saenz as one of America’s “champions of change.”…The Fifth District Court of Appeal on upheld the second degree murder convictions of two Fresno men involved in a 2008 shooting at a liquor store parking lot. In the published portion of the opinion, the panel rejected arguments by Luciano Lopez and Cortney Flemming that the standard CALCRIM instructions did not correctly set out the imminence requirements for imperfect self-defense....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc review of a panel ruling that bars the federal government from owning a strip of land containing a 29-foot Latin cross in LaJolla in order to maintain the cross as part of a war memorial....The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sanctioned Walnut Creek attorney William Veale for filing a frivolous appeal on behalf of a service member who claims that government officials were complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks.
17—President Barack Obama nominated Los Angeles attorney Paul J. Watford to serve as a judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals....A Riverside widower who objected to allowing visitation by his former mother-in-law in retaliation for her efforts to obtain guardianship over his daughters, was not entitled to benefit from a constitutionally-established presumption that he was acting in the best interest of the children, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled....The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a federal act providing for up to a year’s imprisonment for falsely claiming that one holds the Congressional Medal of Honor violates the First Amendment....The use of tasers to subdue persons suspected of minor offenses is subject to constitutional limits on the use of excessive force, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....County Supervisor Mike Antonovich selected retired U.S. District Judge Dickran Tevrizian to serve on the county’s Commission on Jail Violence.
18—The California parole board denied compassionate release for the man convicted of killing a Los Angeles police officer during a kidnapping chronicled in the bestselling book “The Onion Field.” … A consumer who ships household goods to a foreign country cannot be forced to arbitrate a claim against the shipping company, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The First District Court of Appeal revived a malpractice action brought by the personal representative of an Oregon estate against San Mateo attorney Jerry K. Cimmet and Novato practitioner Matthew Pavone for allegedly pursuing a meritless action at the behest of the predecessor representative against the decedent’s former business partner, which unnecessarily expended estate assets.
19—The Court of Appeal for this district upheld the dismissal of a malpractice case against the local firm of Tesser Ruttenberg & Grossman and attorney Kenneth Ruttenberg as a sanction for misconduct by the plaintiffs in an unpublished decision....A former defense contractor convicted of bribing a member of Congress is entitled to a hearing on whether immunity should have been granted to a potential defense witness who would have contradicted testimony presented by prosecutors, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The California Supreme Court agreed to decide whether state law requiring the taking of DNA samples from felony suspects following arrest is constitutional.
20—Los Angeles attorney Neil William Bason was appointed to serve as a judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.
21—A voter-approved law tightening accountability standards for school bond funds cannot be used to force a district attorney to prosecute a school officials for alleged misuse of such monies, the First District Court of Appeal ruled..... Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Tia Fischer, who serves on the board of the Alliance of California Judges, sent out an email which criticized the state Legislative Analyst’s Office for a report that she says seeks to centralize court operations under the Judicial Council while disregarding the impact on the fair administration of justice.
24—Suspended Montebello attorney Tony Antonio Luna—formerly a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner—was sentenced to one year in federal prison for tax fraud....Disclosures filed by Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee showing that he received more than $3 million in free legal services from Latham & Watkins, in defense of allegations that he violated ethics rules while serving as an assistant U.S. attorney general, were published on the website of the National Law Journal.
25—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied former Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona’s petition for rehearing....The court also ruled that London-based Rio Tinto PLC—an international mining company with $13 billion in assets—can be sued in the United States for its alleged participation in war crimes in Papua New Guinea.
26—The California Supreme Court unanimously rejected two Republican challenges to the state’s new electoral maps....the Court of Appeal for this district ruled that a lender could not invoke a forum selection clause seeking to transfer a lawsuit to Illinois after the action had been litigated for the course of 19 months in California....Court of Appeal Justice Maria P. Rivera of the First Appellate District’s Div. Four was selected to receive the 2011 recipient of the Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award.
27—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a $60,000 sanction against deputy Los Angeles City Attorney Richard Arias, who had admitted and apologized for having violated an in limine order during trial. The panel concluded Arias’ concession left forced them to deem the violation as having been established, but that the attorney did not act in bad faith since the violation did not in fact occur....The Court of Appeal for this district rules that claims for injury by a couple injured during a charity motorcycle ride were barred by the primary assumption-of-risk doctrine....Sixth District Court of Appeal Justice Wendy Clark Duffy retired.
Council approved a new process for the review and approval of trial court
requests for urgent needs funding.…Court of Appeal Justices Brad R. Hill and
Ronald B. Robie were selected as recipients of the Judicial Council’s
Distinguished Service Awards. The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that
police officers who used a drunk driving suspect’s DNA sample to tie him to a
string of burglaries did not violate his right to be free from unreasonable
searches and seizures.
31—Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky appointed former U.S. District Judge Lourdes G. Baird to the county’s Commission on Jail Violence....The California Supreme Court ruled that attorneys who secured a ruling that trial courts have authority to review fees charged to non-noticing parties for expedited deposition transcripts may be entitled to fees under the private attorney general statute. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright of the Central District of California did not abuse his discretion in granting a preliminary injunction requiring the new owner of a local hospital to recognize a nurses union certified under the previous ownership.
1—Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Chirlin took the helm of the Western Justice Center Foundation....First District Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina named retired state Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno to the county’s Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence....A Torrance-based recording label which had signed an artist to sing lounge-style covers of popular songs was not entitled to a defense by its insurer to a lawsuit alleging it wrongfully had sought out other singers to produce similar albums which diluted the artist’s fan base and earning potential, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
2—The California Supreme Court let stand a First District Court of Appeal ruling in favor of a law firm sued by one of its former clerks for overtime wages and other benefits. Div. Three had concluded in August that Matthew Zelasko-Barrett’s duties at Brayton-Purcell LLP before being admitted to the State Bar brought him within a Labor Code exemption for persons engaged in a “learned profession.”
3—The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission filed suit against two former employees and a variety of vendors who allegedly conspired to divert over $1 million in revenue from events at the historic arena. Six candidates seeking to succeed longtime District Attorney Steve Cooley faced off in a forum in Little Tokyo.…The Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished former Riverside Superior Court Judge Paul E. Zellerbach for misconduct committed before he took office as the county’s chief prosecutor in January.
4—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived a lawsuit filed by the parents of a suicidal teenage boy killed by the police officers his mother had summoned for assistance.
7—Los Angeles County Counsel Andrea S. Ordin announced plans to step down in February....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employer with an objectively reasonable belief that an employee knowingly participated in a fraud cannot be held liable for helping initiate the resulting criminal prosecution, even if it falsified or withheld evidence in order to bolster the government’s case.
8—The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that a Northern California attorney who left his wife of 18 years to marry a legal secretary could not later have that union nullified on the basis of her elopement with another man before their wedding, while she was still married to yet another man. The panel explained that under both Nevada and California law, a bigamous marriage is void from its inception, even if it has not been declared void by a court, and so Patricia Seaton could assert the invalidity of her prior union against Jeffrey Seaton to pursue her putative spouse claim....The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that former Orange County Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo did not lose his right to backpay as a remedy for violation of his rights under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act and the state whistleblower statute for the time after he was illegally dismissed in 2004 until he pled no contest to perjury and misuse of public funds in 2007.
9—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled Riverside’s ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries from operating anywhere in the city is not preempted by state law....The parents of a 25-year old man killed by a Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy as he and his girlfriend were attempting to flee in a stolen truck can pursue a wrongful death claim against the county, the Court of Appeal for this district said, even though the girlfriend was later convicted of assaulting the officer who fired the fatal shot.
10—The Fourth District Court of Appeal ordered published a decision upholding an award of attorney fees to a Huntington Beach law firm which had retained a lawyer who was of counsel to it to represent the firm in a dispute with a former client. Div. Three concluded an attorney-client relationship existed between the Law Offices of Edward A. Dzwonkowski and Laguna Beach practitioner Russ Boltz which entitled the firm to recover its legal expenses. The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that a statute prohibiting employment discrimination against veterans cannot be used to sue supervisors....A Los Angeles-based group of attorneys licensed in other states who want to practice in federal courts in California filed suit challenging the constitutionality of local rules limiting admission privileges to members of the State Bar
13—The State Public Works Board approved selection of a site in the Santa Clarita Valley for a new Los Angeles Superior Court facility....The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that a private citizen may enforce a contract’s requirement that the board of a corporation receiving government funds open its meetings to the public.
14—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Georgina Torres Rizk denied a discovery request filed by an outdoor advertising installation company seeking evidence to support a motion to disqualify the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office from prosecuting it, and several other billboard companies, on misdemeanor charges.
15—Gov. Jerry Brown announced his selection of former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno to serve on the State Bar Commission on Access to Justice....U.S. Senate confirmed Alameda County Superior Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to the U.S. District Court’s Northern District of California....The Court of Appeal for this district upheld the dismissal of a malpractice claim against a Santa Fe Springs attorney stemming from his allegedly deficient performance in post-conviction proceedings at which his client was found in violation of probation. Div. Four ruled that Bahman Khodayari had to show his actual innocence of the probation violations he asserted had resulted from the malpractice of his attorney, Charles Mashburn, and obtain post-violation exoneration of those violations to survive a demurrer....The First District Court of Appeal ruled that a daughter who successfully obtained a temporary conservatorship over the person of her elderly father was entitled to recover her costs and legal fees, even though the convervatorship was not made permanent.
16—The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles honored Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Edmon with its Maynard Toll Award for Distinguished Public Service. It also presented Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP with its Pro Bono Service Award and inactive attorney Edward Thomas “Tom” Unterman with its Access to Justice Award....The Court of Appeal for this district upheld an $860,000 award in favor of a former AutoZone employee on her sexual harassment claim....The California Supreme Court voted 6-0 to decide whether Stephen R. Glass, who fabricated facts and quotes in numerous magazine articles in the 1990s, is presently fit to practice law....The California Grocers Association asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn a Los Angeles ordinance that generally requires the new owner of a large grocery store to retain the existing workforce for 90 days.
17—The Court of Appeal for this district upheld a jury verdict in favor of Encino attorney Ada Cordero-Sacks, a former lawyer for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles on her wrongful termination claim. Div. Eight explained Cordero-Sacks could sue the authority under the False Claims Act for retaliating against her for performing her job duties when her investigation cast suspicion upon the agency’s president and CEO....The California Supreme Court ruled that the sponsors of ballot propositions can step in to defend their initiatives from legal challenges if the governor and attorney general refuse to do so.
18—The State Bar announced the pass rate for the July 2011 bar exam was 54.8 percent, the exact same as last year....Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal ruled that a former student instructional leader at Verdugo High School, who claimed that his transfer following a sexual harassment investigation was actually motivated by race, presented no evidence to support his claim....The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that individuals whose suit against the City of Salinas and its city manager for the misuse of public funds was dismissed pursuant to a special motion to strike are liable for over $220,000 in attorney fees to the defendants. The panel concluded that an award of fees to a government defendant under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 425.16 does not unconstitutionally chill the right of petition.
21—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district judge’s approval of the settlement of a class action charging America OnLine with illegally attaching ads to customers’ emails....The Sixth District Court of Appeal upheld an award of monetary sanctions against the governing body of competitive swimming in the United States.
22—The California Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a Judicial Council requirement that interpreters pass language proficiency examinations in order to be licensed violated the due process or equal protection rights of nine previously-licensed interpreters who failed to pass these certifying tests....The Court of Appeal for this district ordered published its decision that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger did not abuse his discretion in denying class certification of two lawsuits accusing the Automobile Club of Southern California of false advertising and fraud in connection with the sale of replacement car batteries to stranded motorists.
23—The Third District Court of Appeal certified for publication their ruling that a Tehama Superior Court judge violated the due process rights of a mother, who found her child after he had been kidnapped in infancy by his father, by forcing her to bear the burden of proving her fitness as a parent before terminating her parental rights.
28—The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence imposed on Ronnie Dale Dement for having strangled a cellmate in the Fresno County jail in 1992....The Court of Appeal for this district threw out a malicious prosecution case against Santa Monica attorney Donald C. Randolph of Randolph & Associates based on his submission of an affidavit during judicial proceedings in Zimbabwe.…The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to a second en banc review in the appeal of a ruling allowing local governments to regulate gun possession on their property.
29—The Fourth District Court of Appeal sanctioned Orange attorney Timothy J. Donahue $10,000 for having sought an extension of time to file a brief under false pretenses, and then filing an almost verbatim copy of a brief from another case.
30—The California Supreme Court ordered the disbarment of former KB Home chief executive officer Bruce E. Karatz, who has been convicted of mail fraud in connection with the alleged backdating of stock options.…The Los Angeles Superior Court released the names of the court’s supervising, assistant supervising, and site judges for 2012....The Sixth District Court of Appeal revived a challenge by the operators of two San Jose medical marijuana dispensaries to city orders declaring them public nuisances and requiring that they close up.…The First District Court of Appeal upheld the convictions of a Bay Area man for the strangling death of a former sexual partner he met through Craigslist, and the theft of the victim’s prized flutes. Div. One concluded that a protracted courtroom demonstration, in which the prosecutor directed defendant Alejandro Rivera to recreate the murder of Ted Neff using a mannequin, was improper and inflammatory, but did not necessitate reversal.
1—The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal law prohibiting the trafficking of human organs does not criminalize the payment of compensation to some bone marrow transplantation donors.…The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that the contents of the state’s Domestic Violence Restraining Order System are exempt from disclosure under the Information Practices Act of 1977.…Div. Three of this court also ordered published its decision that the revised environmental impact report for mixed-use Phase II of the Playa Vista development south of Marina del Rey adequately discussed the impact of the project’s contributions to global climate change.
5—The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that the estranged nephews of a local man who died in 2007 were entitled to inherit his $5 million estate, even though his holographic will purported to leave his assets to the Jewish National Fund and City of Hope. Div. Four acknowledged that Irving Duke had plainly disinherited anyone not mentioned in his will—such as his nephews—and apparently wanted to leave his estate to charity, but said the ultimate disposition of property in favor of Robert and Seymour Radin was mandated by the unambiguous failure on the face of his will to include a testamentary provision for the circumstances of his death....The California Supreme Court threw out the murder convictions and death sentences imposed on two South Los Angeles men based on the erroneous disqualification of a juror. The ruling means that prosecutors will have to retry Cleamon “Big Evil” Johnson and Michael “Fat Rat” Allen for the murders of Donald Ray Loggins and Payton Beroit....The Court of Appeal for this district ordered a mother who abducted her young son from Italy to return the child to his native country, even though the justices acknowledged that doing so could potentially poise a grave risk to the boy’s psychological health....Leaders of five Latino bar associations called on President Obama and Sen. Dianne Feinstein to give consideration to Latino candidates for U.S. district judge for the Central District of California.
6—The Sixth District Court of Appeal upheld a Northern California man’s conviction for causing a false insurance claim to be filed, but said he may be entitled to habeas relief due to the ineffective assistance of his attorney. Defense counsel’s failure to renew a motion to dismiss the charge against David Witcraft after the preliminary hearing demonstrated ineffective assistance, the justices said, since the motion, had it been made, would have been granted....The Court of Appeal for this district ruled that lawmakers, not courts, must determine whether state regulations designed to protect outdoor laborers from heat illness are adequate.
7—The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that a trial judge need not require a bond when enjoining a creditor from levying on community property to collect a judgment against the spouse of the party obtaining the injunction.
8—Los Angeles District Attorney candidate Mario Trujillo drew a rebuke from his boss for an e-mail blast to his supporters in which he criticized the policies of the current administration as ineffective and archaic.
9—A potential site for a proposed new juvenile courthouse for the Los Angeles Superior Court—a 3.2 acre privately-owned parcel bounded by Jackson Street, Center Street, and Banning Street—was approved by the State Public Works Board. The project calls for a 65,500 square-foot building, housing five courtrooms, to replace the current Eastlake Juvenile facility....The Court of Appeal for this district issued a sharply worded opinion rebuking attorney Charles G. Kinney, formerly of Silver Lake, for using a client as a proxy in order to further a long-running sequence of vexation litigation....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a civil rights action by members of a Santa Barbara County family, who claim that a police detective obtained a warrant to search their home by intentionally omitting to advise the magistrate that the suspect wasn’t living there because he was incarcerated....The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a church school’s dismissal of a teacher for living with a man to whom she was not married and raising their child.
12—Deputy District Attorneys Andrea Thompson and Sean Coen, Deputy City Attorney Matthew Schonbrun and Woodland Hills private practitioner Laurence N. Kaldor were reported as exploring runs for the Los Angeles Superior Court bench.
13—The Judicial Council resolved that its top legislative priority for 2012 will be advocating for a judicial branch budget that will protect critical services to the public and keep courts open. The council also voted to continue to oppose AB 1208, introduced in February by Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Industry, which proposes increasing administrative and financial autonomy for trial courts....The Third District Court of Appeals ruled that a Sacramento Superior Court judge did not abuse his discretion in barring attorney Richard A. Eldridge from representing his son in contentious custody and support litigation.
14—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Vander Lans said she will not seek re-election next year....Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye presented the Judicial Council’s first Richard D. Huffman Justice for Children and Families Distinguished Service Award to Justice Richard D. Huffman of the Fourth District Court of Appeal and to William C. Vickrey, the retired administrative director of the courts....The California Supreme Court denied review of a First District Court of Appeal ruling that a former Republican volunteer’s suit against the state party and some of its candidates and officials was a strategic lawsuit against public participation.
15—The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that a homeowner facing foreclosure is not required to post a bond in order to forestall a trustee’s sale where the lender has violated a recent statute requiring that it contact the borrower about possible alternatives....Southwestern Law School announced the selection of former McKenna, Long & Aldridge LLP partner James C. Camp as its new assistant dean for property administration and development....The United States Senate confirmed Alaska Supreme Court Justice Morgan Christen to an open seat on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 95-3....The Sixth District Court of Appeal rebuked the Santa Clara County Superior Court Clerk’s office for failing to accept a motion for filing by a self-represented litigant....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that public policy does not preclude enforcement in the United States of an arbitration award in favor of the Iranian government.
16—Southwestern Law School announced the selection of Beverly Hills attorney and alumnus Thomas Hoberman as chair of its board of trustees....The Court of Appeal for this district ordered published its decision ruling that a state cannot be held liable to a motorcyclist who was unable to sue the driver of a car he collided with because a California Highway Patrol officer lost or destroyed the second driver’s identifying information.
17—The San Fernando Valley Bar Association distributed blankets and free legal advice to the homeless at the West Valley Food Pantry.
18—Woodland Hills attorney Randal I. Klein died at the age of 54.
19—Twenty-one nominees for the federal bench, including three from California, lost their prospects for confirmation this year, after the Senate recessed without a vote. Southern District Magistrate Judge Cathy Bencivegno, nominated for a judgeship in that district; Los Angeles attorney Michael Fitzgerald, nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Central District, and Central District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, nominated for elevation to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, were among those whose nominations were ordered returned to President Obama under Senate rules....The state Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death sentence for a San Diego County woman who shot and killed her four sons in 1997.
20— Attorney Mark D. Houle of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP was appointed to serve as a judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California....The state cannot withhold the names of the pharmaceutical companies from which it acquires the drugs used in its lethal injection protocol in response to a Public Records Act request for this information, the First District Court of Appeal ruled....The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the operator of a file-sharing website cannot be held liable for the presence of copyrighted material on the site, as long as it takes the steps specified in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” provisions.
21—The state Supreme Court denied review of a First District Court of Appeal decision allowing the state to furlough unionized correctional officers....The Judicial Council issued its 2011 Court Statistics Report which indicated that statewide filings in the California superior courts remained over 10 million for the second consecutive year, resulting in a slight decrease from the prior fiscal year but still a 20 percent increase over the past decade....The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that a man whose home went into foreclosure after he defaulted on $1.5 million in mortgage loans, which he was able to obtain even though his annual income was less than $40,000, has a viable action to set aside the trustee’s sale....The Court of Appeal for this district ordered published a decision holding that a Canadian corporation cannot be sued in this state for injuries caused by an exploding jet ski on the California side of Lake Havasu.
22—The Ninth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship and his eligibility to serve as commander in chief....A contractual attorney’s fee lien precludes the client from entering into a settlement that nullifies the attorney’s recovery under the lien, and opens up the adverse party to liability if it induces the client to enter into such a settlement, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled.
23—San Diego County did not violate the constitutional or statutory rights of a Christian congregation by not allowing it to hold services in a residential zone, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled....The California attorney general issued an opinion that a victim advocate for a sexual assault victim cannot be excluded from an interview of the victim.
27—Gov. Jerry Brown made his first lower-court appointments, which included six to the Los Angeles Superior Court bench. They were Holly Fujie, a past president of the State Bar, Superior Court Commissioner Michael Garcia, and attorneys Kerry R. Bensinger, Michelle Williams Court, Roberto Longoria and Michael J. Raphael. Brown also tapped Court of Appeal Justice Kathleen O’Leary of the Fourth District’s Div. Three for elevation to presiding justice of that division.
30—Superior Court Commissioners Robert Axel, Stanley Genser, A. Michael Kautz, Armando Moreno, Richard Brand, Gary Bounds, Rita Baird, Barry Kohn and Marilyn Mackel stepped down pursuant to their participation in the court’s voluntary separation program.
31—Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Marjorie Steinberg and Burt T. Pines are set to retire.
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