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Decisions in Contracts, Criminal Administrative, Attorney Fees, Property, Labor, and Civil Rights Matters

By FindLaw Staff on December 22, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Turman v. Turning Point of Cent. California, Inc., H032576, concerned a challenge to the jury verdict in favor of a defendant, in plaintiff's suit against her former employer for gender discrimination based on disparate treatment and hostile work environment.


In reversing and remanding the matter, the court held that there was not substantial evidence to support the jury's finding that defendant took corrective action to alleviate the abuse to which the plaintiff was subjected.  However, the court held that the trial court's decision to instruct the jury on disparate impact, rather than disparate treatment was appropriate, and was not in error.  The court also held that plaintiff has not met her burden of demonstrating that a miscarriage of justice occurred based on deficiency in the special verdict for disparate impact.  Lastly, because, as pled in the complaint, facts do not rise to the level of malice, oppression or fraud necessary under Civ. Code section 3294 to state a claim for punitive damages, the court held that the punitive damages allegations should not be revived on remand.

People v. Rosas, G043158, concerned a challenge to the trial court's entry of a new restitution fine order, on remand for resentencing of a defendant convicted of two attempted murders of a rival gang member.  In affirming, the court held that, although the original restitution order was never addressed in the appeal that led to the remand in the first place, because the remand was for resentencing and restitution fines are statutorily interrelated with a defendant's sentence, the trial court was indeed within its authority to make a new, lower, restitution order on resentencing.

Fleming v. Superior Court, G043395, concerned a petition for a of mandate challenging the grand jury indictment against a former school district's superintendent for authorizing subordinates to compile two lists of individuals who strongly supported a recall of the district's school board back in 2005.

In granting the petition and affirming the trial court's order dismissing counts 2 and 3, the court held that, because defendant was within his lawful authority to authorize his subordinates to compile the two lists, his authorizations were not criminal under Penal Code section 424 as defendant was within the proper scope of his authority as superintendent to research the nature of the discontent and unrest in the school district at the time.  The court also held that the case against defendant based on Education Code section 7054 collapses in light of the fact that neither of the two lists, under California Supreme Court cases, comes anywhere near to constituting the urging support or defeat of a candidate or ballot measure as it required for violation of that statute.  Lastly, the court held that the conspiracy allegation under Penal Code section 182(a)(5) fails because defendant and his assistant superintendent agreed to do nothing more than acts which they had the legal right to do in the first place, they had no criminal objective in doing, and did not come anywhere near to obstructing justice or the due administration of law in the first place.

Dover Village Ass'n v. Jennison, G042741, concerned a plaintiff's suit against the homeowner association for extensive repair costs to his condominium caused by a leaky sewer pipe beneath the concrete slab underlying plaintiff's condominium.  In affirming the trial court's judgment in favor of the plaintiff and an award of about $17,000, the court held that, under a natural reading of the CC&R's, the sewer pipe was a genuine common area to be maintained and repaired by the association, as distinct from an exclusive use common area appurtenant to an individual owner's separate interest.

City of Santa Rosa v. Patel, A124199, concerned a challenge to the  trial court's order awarding attorney fees for the City of Santa Rosa and the People of the State of California, in a red light abatement action.  In remanding the matter for a recalculation of the fee award, the court held that the trial court erred in determining that it was required to use a cost-plus approach for calculating the city's fee award, rather than the the lodestar method to calculate the fee award.

Blix Street Records, Inc. v. Cassidy, B219624, concerned a plaintiffs' suit against the parents of a deceased singer and songwriter over a dispute involving a motion picture and an alleged breach of warranty.  In affirming the trial court's judgment in favor of the defendants in ordering the plaintiffs to comply with their obligations under the settlement agreement, the court held that even if the settlement agreement had not been binding, plaintiffs were judicially estopped from denying the enforceability of that agreement because they represented to the trial court that the case had settled and the trial court discharged the jury in reliance on that representation.

Azusa Land Partners v. Dep't of Indus. Relations, B218275, concerned a plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandate seeking to vacate a determination by the Department of Industrial Relations (Department) that a planned community project is a "public work" as defined by Labor Code section 1720, and subject to prevailing wage laws applicable to public improvement work performed by private contractors as a condition of regulatory approval for their construction project.  In affirming the denial of the petition, the court held that the trial court correctly found under section 1720 that the entire project is a "public work," but that the requirement to pay prevailing wages is restricted to the construction of the public facilities and infrastructure improvements whether publicly or privately funded.

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