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Decisions in Criminal, Labor, Administrative and Environmental Matters

By FindLaw Staff on May 21, 2010 2:38 PM

In Boyajian v. Ordoubadi, No. G041311, the Fourth District faced a challenge to the trial court's judgment precluding the assertion of a pre-petition claim for equitable indemnity against the debtor in concluding that plaintiff's claim for equitable indemnity was discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding in 1994 in plaintiff's suit for indemnity against the defendant.  In affirming the decision, the court held that the bankruptcy law allows for discharges of contingent claims, including claims against the debtor for indemnity before the time the indemnity claim against the debtor can be precisely measured.  

Citizens for Responsible Equitable Envt'l Dev. v. City of San Diego, No. D055929, concerned a petition for writ of mandate and complaint for injunctive relief against the City of San Diego, claiming that that the city failed to provide proper notice of a public hearing at which the city approved two resolutions related to project for the redevelopment and expansion of a regional shopping center.  In affirming the trial court's denial of the petition and the request for injunctive relief, the court held that the city was not required to provide the forms of notice that must be provided for vacations that are effectuated under the PSHSEVL, because the city properly effectuated the vacations pursuant to the subdivision map.  Furthermore, the city did not violate the Municipal Code in providing notice of the city's proposed amendment of its land use plans.     

In Whitmire v. Ingersoll-Rand Co., B210211, the Second District faced a challenge to the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants in plaintiffs' suit for negligence and strict liability alleging exposure to asbestos containing products manufactured by defendants caused plaintiff to contract mesothelioma.  In affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment, the court held that the plaintiffs failed to establish a triable issue of fact regarding whether the husband was exposed to asbestos for which defendant was liable.    

Lockton v. O'Rourke, No. B208440, concerned a challenge to the trial court's dismissal following demurrers by defendants  in plaintiff's legal malpractice suit.  In affirming in part and reversing in part the judgment of the trial court, the court held that the trial court properly sustained the demurrer on the ground that defendants did not continue to represent plaintiff on his claims against the defendants in the underlying case for a sufficient time to toll the statute of limitations.  However, the court reversed the trial court's denial of two defendans' request for award of attorney fees.   

In People v. Nguyen, No. G040600, the Fourth District faced a challenge to a conviction of defendant for forcible rape, committing lewd act on a child under age 14, and other crimes. First, the court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in permitting a San Bernardino offense to be joined with an Orange County offense for trial in Orange County as section 784.7(a) permits the joinder of any combination of its listed sex crimes, as long as the court holds a section 954 joinder hearing at which the court may exercise discretion to deny joinder "in the interest of justice and for good cause shown."  Next, the court held that, although the trial court erroneously admitted evidence of uncharged non-sexual conduct under the purported authority of Evidence Code section 1108, the error was harmless.  Lastly, the court rejected defendant's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and cumulative error. 

State Comp. Ins. Fund v. Superior Court, No. A125834, concerned a plaintiff's petition for a peremptory writ of mandate seeking to set aside superior court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant, in plaintiff's suit to collect unpaid premiums it claimed were owed for workers' compensation insurance policies issued to defendant.  In granting the petition, the court held that the plaintiff's filing of an amended complaint rendered defendant's motion for summary judgment moot, and the FAC raised new issues of fact regarding when the statute of limitations began to run on the plaintiff's fraud claim. 

Martinez v. Combs, No.S121552, concerned an action to recover unpaid minimum wages under Labor Code section 1194 and other theories, brought by seasonal agricultural workers against produce merchants and a farm owner.  In affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants, the court held that in actions under section 1194 to recover unpaid minimum wages, the IWC's wage orders do generally define the employment relationship, and thus who may be liable.  Here, an examination of the wage orders' language, history and place in the context of California wage law makes clear that those orders do not incorporate the federal definition of employment.     

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