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Ninth Circuit Rules Cities Cannot Criminalize Homeless People for Sleeping Outdoors

Posted by on Sep 5, 2018

On September 4, 2018, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in reviewing an appeal from a motion for summary judgment, ruled in Martin v. City of Boise that the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the imposition of criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping, or lying outside on public property for homeless individuals who cannot obtain shelter. (more…)

2018 Mid-Year Review: California Public Entity Cases

Posted by on Jun 26, 2018

***ADDENDUM***
The California Supreme Court has granted review to Big Oak Flat. In light of this development and the current legislative effort, we recommend that public entities wait to take action under Government Code section 935 until there is more legal clarity.

CLAIM PRESENTATION

  • Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District v. Superior Court (2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 403*
    • Public entities are allowed to create and enforce their own claim presentation requirements for childhood sexual abuse claims under Government Code section 935 because childhood sexual abuse claims are not subject to the California Tort Claims Act pursuant to Government Code section 905.
    • *NOTE: The California Legislature is currently considering SB 1053, which, if passed, would amend Government Code section 935 so that it would not apply to claims of childhood sexual abuse. This legislation appears to be in response to the issues raised in Big Oak Flat and would prohibit public entities from creating their own claim presentation requirements for claims arising out of childhood sexual abuse.

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

  • Regents of University of California v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 607
    • In overturning an appellate court decision finding UCLA owed no duty to a student who was killed by another student who was experiencing delusions and auditory hallucinations, the California Supreme Court held that colleges and universities are in a special relationship with their students and thus owe a duty of care to enrolled students who are at foreseeable risk of being harmed in a violent attack while participating in curricular activities at school.

TRAIL IMMUNITY

  • Arvizu v. City of Pasadena (2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 760
    • The Courts of Appeal affirms that trail immunity applies not only to negligent maintenance of a trail, but also to claims arising from the design of a trail, such as the lack of warnings or guardrails or the location of the trail.

DAMAGES

  • Pebley v. Santa Clara Organics, LLC (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 1266
    • Insured plaintiffs who opt to treat outside their insurance coverage are classified as if they are an uninsured plaintiff under Howell, thus allowing them to put into evidence, and possibly recover, the full amount of their medical bills.

POLICE LIABILITY CASES

  • Parker v. City of Los Angeles, 2018 WL 1078960 (9th Cir. 2018)
    • Summary judgment affirmed, dismissing Fourth Amendment claim for denial of medical care claim, where officer had inquired as to Plaintiff’s injury and whether he needed an ambulance, Plaintiff answered equivocally, and Plaintiff was ambulatory and left the scene on his own.
  • Kisela v. Hughes, 138 S. Ct. 1148 (2018)
    • The U.S. Supreme Court granted qualified immunity to a Fourth Amendment excessive force claim, reversing Ninth Circuit denial, where an officer shot a woman carrying a large kitchen knife who had moved within a few feet of a potential victim and who failed to acknowledge at least two police commands to drop the knife.
  • Easley v. City of Riverside, 890 F. 3d 851 (9th Cir. 2018)
    • The Ninth Circuit held that, where a defendant pleads qualified immunity as an affirmative defense, a District Court has the power to grant the defense, regardless of whether defendant moved for summary judgment.

This document is intended to provide you with general information about legal developments. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have questions about the contents of this alert, please contact Kimberly Chin at 415-697-3455 or at kchin@aghwlaw.com; Kevin Allen at 415-697-3459 or at kallen@aghwlaw.com; or Christina Forst at 415-697-3469 or cforst@aghwlaw.com. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions.

In Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District v. Superior Court, California Appellate Court Permits Local Claim Presentation Requirements on Exempted Causes of Action

Posted by on May 9, 2018

On February 22, 2018, the California Court of Appeal decided Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District v. Superior Courtand reversed a trial court judgment that had denied the Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District’s demurrer and holding that Plaintiff’s claim was not statutorily exempt from the claim presentation requirement due to the District’s locally imposed claim presentation requirements. (more…)

Year in Review: 2017 California Public Entity Cases

Posted by on Jan 8, 2018

CLAIM PRESENTATION

  • Santos v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 17 Cal.App.5th 1065 (2017)
    • Summary judgment based on non-compliance with Tort Claim Act reversed in a motor vehicle accident case where there are triable issues as to whether the Los Angeles Unified School District misled the plaintiff as to the relationship between the school district and the Los Angeles School Police Department, whose driver was involved in the accident, so that the school district is equitably estopped from asserting the noncompliance defense.
  • J.M. v. Huntington Beach Union High School District, 2 Cal.5th 648 (2017)
    • Petition for relief from tort claim requirements presented by minor who was injured in school football game was properly denied because minor failed to present timely claim, timely application for late claim relief, and timely petition, and minor’s estoppel claims based on school district’s failure to send him written notice of the deemed denial of his application for late claim rejected because school district not required to provide such notice.

DISCOVERY

  • Haniff v. Superior Court, 9 Cal.App.5th 191 (2017)
    • Plaintiff cannot be compelled to undergo a vocational rehabilitation examination because such an examination is not expressly authorized under the Civil Discovery Act.

INVERSE CONDEMNATION

  • County of San Mateo v. Superior Court, 13 Cal.App.5th 724 (2017)
    • A city tree is a work of public improvement for inverse condemnation purposes only when the tree is deliberately planted by or at the direction of the public entity as part of a planned project or design serving a public purpose or use.

TRAIL IMMUNITY

  • Toeppe v. City of San Diego, 13 Cal.App.5th 921 (2017)
    • Summary judgment granted based on trail immunity reversed because plaintiff, who was injured when a eucalyptus tree fell on her while walking on a trail in a city park, did not base her dangerous condition cause of action on the condition of the trail, but on the failure to maintain the tree.
  • Garcia v. American Golf Corp., 11 Cal.App.5th 532 (2017)
    • Summary judgment based on trial immunity arising out of plaintiffs being hit by an errant golf ball while on an adjacent trail reversed based on holding that a city-owned golf course cannot assert trail immunity when: (1) the golf course is adjacent to a trail abutting a public street; (2) the golf course is a commercially operated, revenue-generating enterprise; (3) the golf course has a dangerous condition that exposes people outside it to a risk of harm from third parties hitting errant golf balls; and (4) the dangerous condition of the golf course caused harm to a user of the trail.

NATURAL CONDITION IMMUNITY

  • County of San Mateo v. Superior Court, 13 Cal.App.5th 724 (2017)
    • Minor plaintiff was injured when a tree fell on his tent; Court found triable issues of fact as to whether a campsite with amenities such as a picnic table, fire pit, and metal foot locker is unimproved so that the natural condition immunity applied.

PUBLIC RECORDS ACT

  • City of San Jose v. Superior Court, 2 Cal.5th 608 (2017)
    • City employee’s writings concerning public business are not excluded from disclosure under the Public Records Act merely because they were sent or received using personal account

POLICE LIABILITY CASES

  • S.B. v. County of San Diego, 864 F.3d 1010 (9th Cir. 2017)
    • Qualified immunity granted for deadly force because general excessive force principles do not generally create clearly established law; to deny qualified immunity requires identification of “a case where an officer acting under similar circumstances … was held to have violated the Fourth Amendment.”
  • County of Los Angeles v. Mendez, 137 S. Ct. 1539 (U.S. Supreme Court 2017)
    • The United States Supreme Court struck down the Ninth Circuit’s provocation rule and reiterated that Fourth Amendment use-of-force is only examined under the Graham
  • Lowry v. City of San Diego, 858 F. 3d 1248 (9th Cir. 2017) (en banc)
    • Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment. The case arose from officers’ response to an office building burglar alarm. Upon arriving on-scene within minutes and finding an open door to a suite, police called-out (including a canine warning). When no one responded, the dog was sent in. The dog bit a worker sleeping on a couch. In finding the force reasonable, the Court noted: (1) the moderate nature of the force; (2) the reasonable belief there was a burglary-in-progress (and the dangerousness of such calls); (3) that a warning about the dog were given; (4) the subject did not respond to those warnings; and (5) the dog’s off-leash deployment was reasonable for officer safety.
  • Klein v. City of Beverly Hills, 865 F.3d 1276 (9th Cir. 2017) 
    • The Ninth Circuit addressed the accrual date for search-related judicial deception claims. The panel held that “the discovery rule applies to a judicial deception claim” and that Mr. Klein’s claim “began accruing when the underlying affidavit became reasonably available.” It then found his claim timely, noting his diligent but unsuccessful efforts to obtain the search warrant in the case.

This document is intended to provide you with general information about legal developments. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have questions about the contents of this alert, please contact Kimberly Chin at 415-697-3455 or at kchin@aghwlaw.com; or Kevin Allen at 415-697-3459 or at kallen@aghwlaw.com. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions.

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of School District in Limiting Student Speech

Posted by on Jan 8, 2018

On November 29, 2017, Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled on summary judgment motions filed in C.E., et al. v. Albany Unified School District. This case arose when a group of Albany High School (AHS) students sued Albany Unified School District (AUSD) after they were punished for posting on or engaging with a racist Instagram account. Plaintiffs alleged violations of First Amendment freedoms. Judge Donato found that AUSD was within its rights to discipline most of the plaintiffs, based on their level of participation with the offending account. Central to this case were timely issues of First Amendment freedoms in the age of social media. (more…)

Substantial New Limitations on Conducting Mental Examinations Involving Children 15 or Younger in California

Posted by on Oct 10, 2017

Beginning January 1, 2018, defendants will face new and rigorous obstacles to presenting a complete defense for their client in sexual misconduct lawsuits involving children 15 years of age or younger.  At the behest of the plaintiff’s bar, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 755 this summer, which will become Code of Civil Procedure § 2030.020.  That legislation creates new hurdles for conducting mental examinations of children under 15 years of age. (more…)

California Court of Appeal Reverses Trial Court Decision Finding City Tree was a Work of Public Improvement that Supported an Inverse Condemnation Claim

Posted by on Aug 28, 2017

On August 24, 2017, the California Court of Appeal decided Mercury Casualty Company v. City of Pasadena and reversed a trial court judgment that had found the City of Pasadena (“City”) liable under a theory of inverse condemnation for damage to a resident’s home by a city-owned tree which had fallen during a storm. The Court held that a city tree is a work of public improvement only when the tree is deliberately planted by or at the direction of the government entity as part of a planned project or design serving a public purpose or use. (more…)

Mid-Year Local Minimum Wage Increases

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017

Effective July 1, 2017, minimum wage rates for certain employees working within geographic boundaries of several California cities and the County of Los Angeles (unincorporated) will increase.  These cities and counties are:

  • County of Los Angeles (unincorporated) – employers with 26 or more employees shall pay $12.00/hour, employers with 25 or fewer employees shall pay $10.50/hour;
  • City of Emeryville – employers with 56 or more employees shall pay $15.20/hour, employers with 55 or fewer employees shall pay $14.00/hour;
  • City of Los Angeles – employers with 26 or more employees shall pay $12.00/hour, employers with 25 or fewer employees shall pay $10.50/hour;
  • City of Malibu – employers with 26 or more employees shall pay $12.00/hour, employers with 25 or fewer employees shall pay $10.50/hour;
  • City of Milpitas – regardless of employee headcount employers shall pay $11.00/hour;
  • City of Pasadena – employers with 26 or more employees shall pay $12.00/hour, employers with 25 or fewer employees shall pay $10.50/hour;
  • City of San Francisco – regardless of employee headcount employers shall pay $14/hour to most employees;
  • City of San Jose – regardless of employee headcount employers shall pay $12.00/hour;
  • City of San Leandro – regardless of employee headcount employers shall pay $12/hour to most employees;
  • City of Santa Monica – employers with 26 or more employees shall pay $12.00/hour, employers with 25 or fewer employees shall pay $10.50/hour.

As noted above, some of the local minimum wage laws have narrow exemptions for certain categories of employees, and certain categories of employers.  Employers should review their compensation practices to make sure they comply with the local minimum wage laws.  If you have questions about the contents of this alert, please contact Oleg I. Albert at (415) 697-2000 or oalbert@aghwlaw.com.

This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions. It is intended to provide general information about legal developments and is not legal advice.

California Supreme Court Clarifies Employer Obligation to Provide Rest Days To Employees

Posted by on Jun 7, 2017

In Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., the California Supreme Court answered several unsettled question concerning the construction of the state’s day of rest statutes, Labor Code §§ 550–558.1, at the request of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In pertinent part, these statutes prohibit an employer from “caus[ing] his employees to work more than six days in seven” (§ 552), but do not apply “when the total hours of employment do not exceed 30 hours in any week or six hours in any one day thereof” (§ 556). (more…)

Another Chapter in When the EEOC Comes Knocking…

Posted by on Apr 21, 2017

In this case, McLane’s employee (Ochoa) returned from a three month maternity leave but could not pass a physical examination to return to work.  After failing that physical examination three separate times, she was fired, and filed a Title VII sex discrimination charge with the EEOC.

An EEOC investigation followed into her charge, with a request to McLane for so-called “pedigree” information seeking the names, addressed, phone numbers and social security numbers of all persons asked to take the evaluation.  Not content to focus on the former employee’s own charge, the EEOC expanded the scope of the investigation to cover McLane’s nationwide operations and included a claim for age discrimination. McLane refused to voluntarily provide the pedigree information. The EEOC issued subpoenas and when McLane refused to provide the “pedigree” information, the EEOC sued to enforce its subpoenas. The District Court declined to enforce the subpoenas, finding the pedigree information was not relevant to the charges. The Ninth Circuit reversed, and the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. (more…)