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Decisions in Administrative, Environmental and Personal Injury Matters

By FindLaw Staff on April 27, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Riverside Sheriffs' Ass'n v. Bd. of Admin. of the California Pub. Employees' Ret. Sys., No. C061168, concerned a plaintiffs' petition for administrative mandate seeking to overturn a decision of the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees' Retirement System refusing to change the status of the deputy coroners from "miscellaneous" to "local safety members," a classification that would have substantially enhanced their retirement benefits.  In denying the petition, the Third District affirmed the trial court's decision as the principal duties and functions of the deputy coroners do not "clearly" fall within the scope of "active law enforcement" as that term is used in Gov. Code section 20436(a).

In Greb v. Diamond Int'l Corp., No. A125472, the First District faced a challenge to the trial court's order sustaining, without leave to amend, defendant's demurrer to plaintiff's complaint for personal injury and loss of consortium, claiming that the husband (now deceased) suffered injury from exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing products.  In affirming the order, the court held that Delaware law controls whether defendant is amenable to suit following dissolution and because this suit was filed more than three years after defendant's dissolution, the trial court correctly sustained the demurrer. 

Plummer v. Day/Eisenberg, LLP, No. G041512, concerned an attorney's suit against a law firm, claiming that the law firm converted or interfered with settlement funds recovered in a personal injury action handled by the attorney, the law firm, and another law firm.  In reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant law firm, the court held that triable issues exist on the elements of conversion as to whether the attorney had an immediate right to possess the settlement funds through an attorney's lien and defendant failed to show that the attorney's claimed lien is invalid as a matter of law.  The court also found that there are triable issues as to the interference cause of action. 

Luckman P'ship, Inc. v. Superior Court, No. B215298, concerned plaintiffs' suit for negligence and loss of consortium, arising from injuries suffered when the plaintiff fell through a suspended ceiling at a convention center, designed by defendant in 1971.  The Second District granted defendant's petition for writ of mandate in finding that it was entitled to summary judgment on the statute of limitations under Code of Civ. Proc. section 337.1(a) and under the doctrine of independent intervening cause. 

In Communities for a Better Env't v. City of Richmond, No. A125618, the First District faced a challenge to the trial court's judgment in favor of plaintiffs in their suit against a city and Chevron, claiming that an environmental review of a new construction project was flawed because the EIR failed to disclose, analyze and mitigate all the potential environmental impacts of the project. 

In affirming the trial court's judgment for the most part, the court held that the EIR is inadequate as a matter of law because it does not adequately address the issue of whether the project includes any equipment changes that would facilitate the future processing of heavier crudes at the refinery.  Court also held that the trial court correctly concluded that the city's decision to approve the project, after giving the city council final approval over a mitigation plan that Chevron formulates a year later outside the EIR process, does not satisfy CEQA's requirements.  However, the trial court's finding that the city improperly "piece-mealed" the project by failing to include and analyze the hydrogen pipeline as part of the project is reversed as there was no improper segmentation of a larger project here. 

USA Waste of California, Inc. v. City of Irwindale, No.B212719, concerned a challenge to the trial court's denial of a city's motion to strike plaintiff's second amended cross-complaint under the anti-SLAPP statute, arising from a dispute of a landfill operation.  In rejecting the city's claims, the court held that the anti-SLAPP statute does not apply to the causes of action against the city in the second amended cross-complaint because actions to enforce, interpret or invalidate governmental laws generally are not subject to being stricken under the anti-SLAPP statute.  Furthermore, even if the claims in question are based on speech within the meaning of section 425.16, they are not protected under the statute as being in connection with "a public issue or an issue of public interest."

Lastly, in Pearson Dental Supplies, Inc. v. Superior Court, No. S167169, the California Supreme Court dealt with the court of appeal's reversal of trial court's decision, concluding that an arbitrator's error in plainly misapplying the relevant tolling statute was not a valid basis for vacating an arbitration award.  However, under the particular circumstances of this case, in which a clear error of law by an arbitrator means that an employee subject to a mandatory arbitration agreement will be deprived of a hearing on the merits of an unwaivable statutory employment claim, the trial court did not err in vacating the award.  Thus, judgment of the court of appeals is reversed but, the employee's claim that language in the arbitration agreement stating that he is relinquishing not only the right to go to court, but also to access administrative remedies is unconscionable is rejected. 

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