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Police Officers' Class Action Lawsuit For Violation of Various Labor Code Provisions, Plus, Environmental, Criminal & Products Liability Matters

By FindLaw Staff on September 20, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Perez v. VAS S.p.A., B219080, concerned a challenge to the trial court's judgment in favor of defendant, in plaintiff's strict products liability and negligence suit for sustaining injuries by a paper rewinding machine designed and manufactured by defendant.


In affirming the judgment, the court held that, although the trial court erred in failing to adhere to the applicable burden shifting analysis under which plaintiff was required to make a prima facie showing that his injury was proximately caused by the design of the rewinding machine, whereupon the burden of proof shifted to defendant to prove that plaintiff's use of the machine was so unforeseeable as to constitute the superseding cause of his injury, the error was not prejudicial.  The court held that here, the trial court in fact found, supported by substantial evidence, that plaintiff used the machine in such an unforeseeable manner that it constituted the sole cause of his injury, and as such, it is not reasonable that had the court used the correct burden shifting analysis, a different result would have been reached.

People v. Fenderson, A123984, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for grand theft and second-degree commercial burglary for removing over $300,000 from an elderly woman's bank account shortly after the woman's death.  In affirming, the court held that substantial evidence supports defendant's convictions for grand theft by larceny, and that substantial evidence in the record exists to support a theory of theft by embezzlement.  The court also held that the trial court did not err by not instructing on Probate Code sections 4101 or 4308.  Lastly, trial court did not err in its instructions to the jury on the claim-of-right-defense; and 5) trial court did not err by instructing the jury regarding consciousness of guilt with CALCRIM No. 362.

Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino, D056972, concerned a challenge to the trial court's order of fees and dismissal of plaintiff's motion for supplemental fees for lack of jurisdiction, in an environmental group's suit challenging county's approval of certain residential development.  In reversing the judgment, the court remanded the matter in concluding that a motion for supplemental fees based on greater success on appeal does not challenge the original fee order and poses no jurisdictional impediment.  The court held that the trial court abused its discretion with regard to the amount of the award of attorney fees for appellate work as where unrefuted evidence shows that qualified local counsel is unavailable, it is error to base the allowable lodestar hourly rate on local rates without regard to reasonable hourly rates charged by competent counsel outside the local legal market.  And lastly, where the record affirmatively shows that the court reduced the number of allowable hours by more than half without taking into account fundamental differences between trial and appellate work, remand is necessary.

California Corr. Peace Officers' Ass'n v. State of California, A125679, involved the California Correctional Peace Officers' Association's (CCPOA) class action suit against the state of California, through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), claiming that defendants violated various Labor Code provisions, as well as a wage order promulgated by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC), by failing to provide correctional officers with meal periods and by failing to pay for the missed wage periods.  In affirming the trial court's judgment in favor of the defendants, the court held that sections 512 and 226.7 do not apply to public employers like the state, and Wage Order No. 17 does not apply to CDCR employees.

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