Articles Posted in California Court of Appeal

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Petitioner County of Riverside (the County) challenged Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) findings that the application for adjudication of claim by respondent Peter Sylves was timely filed, and that Labor Code section 5500.5(a) did not bar liability on the County’s part. Sylves was employed by the County as a deputy sheriff. He took a service retirement and then worked for the Pauma Police Department on a reservation belonging to the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians, a federally recognized tribe. Sylves’ employment with the Pauma Police Department lasted from 2010, through 2014. Sylves filed an application for adjudication of claim on July 16, 2014. He claimed a continuous trauma for “hypertension, GERDS [gastroesophageal reflux disease], left shoulder, low back and both knees.” In 2015, the WCJ found: “Pursuant to Labor Code section 5500.5, applicant’s continuous trauma is limited to the last year of injurious exposure, even if it is with the Pauma Tribal Police.” The WCJ found that Sylves’s knee and left shoulder injuries, his GERDS, and his sleep disorder were not compensable injuries arising in and out of employment. However, he also found that Sylves’ hypertension and back injury were compensable and arose from employment with the County. With respect to the statute of limitations, the WCAB explained that the time in which to file a claim did not begin to run until a doctor told him the symptoms for which he had been receiving treatment were industrially related; since medical confirmation did not occur until 2013, Sylves’ 2014 application was timely. The WCAB further found that section 5500.5 “is not a Statute of Limitations but provides for a supplemental proceeding in which multiple defendants have an opportunity to apportion liability.” Finally, it agreed with Sylves that section 5500.5 could not limit liability to the Pauma Police Department in this case because the WCAB lacked jurisdiction over the tribe. Essentially, the WCAB determined that the County “failed to meet its burden of proof on the Statute of Limitations defenses raised herein.” Finding no reversible error in the WCAB's decision, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "Co. of Riverside v. WCAB" on Justia Law

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Bernice Espinoza appealed the denial of her petition for writ of administrative mandate challenging the one-year suspension of her driver’s license by the Department of Motor Vehicles (Department). After review, the Court of Appeal concluded the record supported the trial court’s implied findings that: (1) Espinoza was lawfully arrested on reasonable cause to believe she had been driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI); (2) Espinoza refused to submit to and failed to complete a chemical test as required under the implied consent law; and (3) Espinoza was afforded a fair hearing before the Department. Therefore, the superior court correctly denied Espinoza’s petition. View "Espinoza v. Shiomoto" on Justia Law

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Defendants-appellants City of Riverside (City) and Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz appealed the grant of a petition for writ of mandate filed by plaintiff-respondent Camillo Bonome, Jr. Bonome had been employed as a Riverside Police Officer since 1995. In 2013, a Memorandum of Finding was sustained against Bonome for failing to properly investigate and report an incident involving a sexually abused girl in 2012. Chief Diaz recommended Bonome be terminated. Prior to the hearing on his termination, Bonome applied for and was granted disability retirement by CalPERS for a back injury he sustained while on duty. Upon his disability retirement being effective, Bonome requested his retirement identification badge and that the badge include a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) endorsement. Bonome’s request was denied because Chief Diaz and the City did not consider him to be “honorably retired” as that term was defined in Penal Code section 16690. The City and Chief Diaz stated he was not entitled to a hearing to dispute the finding. Bonome filed the Writ contending he was honorably retired and entitled to a CCW endorsement, and if the endorsement was denied for cause, he was entitled to a good cause hearing. The trial court agreed and granted the Writ. On appeal, the City and Chief Diaz insisted the trial court erred when it determined Bonome was “honorably retired.” The Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s grant of the Writ. The City and Chief Diaz could deny the CCW endorsement for cause but Bonome was entitled to a good cause hearing if it was denied. View "Bonome v. City of Riverside" on Justia Law

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Three health care workers sued their hospital employer in a putative class and private attorney general enforcement action for alleged Labor Code violations and related claims. In this appeal, their primary complaint was the hospital illegally allowed its health care employees to waive their second meal periods on shifts longer than 12 hours. A statute required two meal periods for shifts longer than 12 hours. But an order of the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) authorized employees in the health care industry to waive one of those two required meal periods on shifts longer than 8 hours. The issue this case presented for the Court of Appeal’s review centered on the validity of the IWC order. In its first opinion in this case, the Court concluded the IWC order was partially invalid to the extent it authorized second meal break waivers on shifts over 12 hours, and the Court reversed. After the California Supreme Court granted the hospital’s petition for review in “Gerard I,” that court transferred the case back to the Court of Appeal with directions to vacate the decision and to reconsider the cause in light of the enactment of Statutes 2015, chapter 506 (Sen. Bill No. 327 (2015-2016 Reg. Sess.); SB 327). Upon reconsideration the Court of Appeal concluded the IWC order was valid and affirmed. View "Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center" on Justia Law

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Two trial courts invalidated San Francisco ordinances increasing the relocation assistance payments property owners owe their tenants under the Ellis Act, Gov. Code 7060, finding the ordinances facially preempted by the Act. The Ellis Act prohibits a city or county from “compel[ling] the owner of any residential real property to offer, or to continue to offer, accommodations in the property for rent or lease.” The ordinances, intended to mitigate the impact of evictions on low-income tenants, required the greater of either an inflation-adjusted base relocation payout per tenant of $5,555.21 to $16,665.59 per unit, with an additional payment of $3,703.46 to each elderly or disabled evicted tenant or “the difference between the tenant’s current rent and the prevailing rent for a comparable apartment in San Francisco over a two-year period.” In a consolidated appeal, the court of appeal affirmed, stating that “a locality may not impose additional burdensome requirements upon the exercise of state statutory remedies that undermine the very purpose of the state statute.” View "Coyne v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-appellant Residents Against Specific Plan 380 appealed the denial of its petition for a writ of mandate to challenge the County of Riverside’s (County) to approve development of a master-planned community put forward as Specific Plan 380 by real party in interest, Hanna Marital Trust. The County commissioned an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the project, which determined all potentially significant environmental impacts except noise and air quality impacts would have been reduced below the level of significance after mitigation. The final EIR responded to public comments on a draft EIR requesting further mitigation before the County approved the project. The Riverside County Board of Supervisors requested modifications of the plan before approving it and determined the changes did not require revision and recirculation of the EIR. After the revisions were codified, the Board of Supervisors certified the final EIR and approved the plan. The County then posted a public notice of its determination which included a description of the project containing errors about certain project details. Appellant sought a writ of mandate asserting the County failed to comply with procedural, informational, and substantive provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The trial court denied the petition in its entirety and entered judgment in favor of the County and the Hanna Marital Trust. On appeal, appellant argued the County: (1) substantially modified the project after approving it; (2) approved the project without concurrently adopting findings, a statement of overriding consideration, and a mitigation plan; (3) failed to recirculate the final EIR after modifying the project; (4) certified the final EIR despite inadequately analyzing the impacts of the development of the mixed use planning area; (5) issued an erroneous and misleading notice of determination after approving the project; and (6) failed to adopt all feasible mitigation alternatives proposed in comments on the draft EIR. Finding no reversible error, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment. View "Residents Against Specific Plan 380 v. Co. of Riverside" on Justia Law

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The City filed a petition for writ of mandate seeking an order directing the trial court to vacate its order and enter a new order denying a motion to compel discovery. Real Party in Interest Cynthia Anderson-Barker filed a petition under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), Gov. Code 6250, et seq., to compel the City to disclose electronically stored documents and data that contained information relating to vehicles impounded by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The court concluded that the Civil Discovery Act, Gov. Code 2017.010 & 2016.020, applied to CPRA proceedings because CPRA proceedings qualified as "a special proceeding of a civil nature" and the trial court retained discretion to determine the permissible scope of discovery in CPRA proceedings. The court concluded that the City acted with substantial justification in opposing the motion to compel. Accordingly, the court reversed the remainder of the order and remanded for further proceedings. View "City of L.A. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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Defendant John Fenley was elected to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors in the June 7, 2016 election. Contestant Firenza Pini filed a contest in the superior court 20 days after certification of the final canvass, alleging mistakes, errors, and misconduct in counting the ballots. The superior court, treating the contest as involving a primary election, summarily dismissed the contest because it was filed more than five days after certification of the final canvass. The Court of Appeal reversed: because Fenley was elected by a majority of votes, and not merely nominated, Pini had 30 days after certification of the final canvass to file her contest. View "Pini v. Fenley" on Justia Law

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In 1996 Brown Field Aviation Ventures leased space at Brown Field Airport from the City of San Diego under a long-term, master lease agreement. Brown Field Aviation Ventures subleased the space to Bearden Aviation, Inc. (Bearden), and Bearden subleased it to Finch Aerospace Corporation (Finch). Finch occupied the space with three airplane hangars. Lancair Corporation (Lancair) later purchased Bearden's leasehold. In 2005 the City amended and restated the master lease. Finch attempted to enter a new lease directly with the City and remove its hangars from Lancair's leasehold; however, Lancair claimed to own and control the hangars. Finch subsequently filed a complaint against Lancair alleging causes of action for quiet title, declaratory relief, intentional interference with economic advantage, conversion, and retaliatory eviction. The issue this case presented for the Court of Appeal’s review was whether the immunities in Government Code sections 818.8 and 822.2 applied to a slander of title cause of action and, if not, whether Finch otherwise adequately alleged a slander of title cause of action against the City. The Court concluded the immunities in sections 818.8 and 822.2 did not apply to a slander of title cause of action. Furthermore, the Court concluded Finch did not otherwise adequately allege a slander of title cause of action nor did Finch demonstrate it could cure the pleading deficiencies by amendment. Therefore, the trial court did not err in sustaining the City's demurrer to Finch's complaint without leave to amend. View "Finch Aerospace Corp. v. City of San Diego" on Justia Law

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After the trial court ruled on a petition for writ of administrative mandamus pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5, Golden Day appealed the trial court's holding regarding certain findings of the ALJ, which entitled the Department to recoup more than $3 million. The Department cross-appealed, contending that the trial court erroneously overturned one of the ALJ's findings. The court concluded that the Department was permitted under Education Code section 8448, subdivision (h) to conduct its own contract performance audit despite having accepted and closed Golden Day's independent financial and compliance audits; substantial evidence supports the findings of the ALJ and the trial court that the Department was allowed to recoup (i) costs for commingling eligible and noneligible students, (ii) certain payroll costs for employees who also worked at a charter school on some of the same sites, and (iii) various nonreimbursable costs; and thus the court reversed as to Finding No. 5 (the ALJ's decision to uphold the disallowance of certain rental payments) and affirmed in all other respects. View "Golden Day Schools v. Office of Admininistrative Hearings" on Justia Law