by David G. Ritchie on January 11, 2016
U.S. Supreme Court, Unions,
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral argument in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, Docket No. 14-915, a case in which the Court will be asked to decide whether “agency shop” arrangements violate the First Amendment rights of public-sector school employees on the premise that a public-sector unions’ activities are inseparably integrated into political speech.
“Agency shop” is a permitted arrangement under California law whereby a union can charge non-members a fee, sometimes called an “agency fee” or “fair share fee” for negotiation and representation ... Continue Reading
by Derek P. Cole on November 16, 2015
CEQA, Recent Court Decisions,
The California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) exempts governmental actions to protect natural resources and the environment from the requirement to prepare an environmental impact report. In a recent case, a court clarified what standard agencies must meet to justify the use of these exemptions, known by practitioners as the “Class 7” and “Class 8” exemptions.
In Save Our Big Trees v. City of Santa Cruz, the San Jose-based Sixth District Court of Appeal held that a city’s use of both exemptions could not be used to justify amendment of its heritage tree ordinance, which was ... Continue Reading
by David G. Ritchie on November 4, 2015
The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has issued their annual report for 2014-15. PERB’s report details the activities of the Board during the preceding year regarding public agency labor relations work among other issues handled by the Board.
This year saw the reappointment of Board member Eric Banks, and the appointment of new Board Member Mark Gregersen. The 74 Board Decisions issued in 2014-15 are down from 87 in 2013-14, however, moving forward into next year, the Board will be fully constituted, while it was one member short for most of 2014-15.
... Continue Reading
by Derek P. Cole on November 2, 2015
Eminent Domain, Recent Court Decisions, Subdivisions,
When government condemns a strip of land across a single parcel of property for a public improvement (such as a road), does the condemnation create two legal parcels (one on each side of the strip)? No, says a recent appellate court opinion. In Save Mount Diablo v. Contra Costa County, the court held that the physical separation of land by condemnation does not “divide” the land under the Subdivision Map Act (“Map Act”).
... Continue Reading
by Karen A. Feld on October 19, 2015
A new case came out from the 4th District Court of Appeal applying the Howell rule to uninsured plaintiffs. Bermudez v. Ciolex.
The plaintiff in this case was an uninsured pedestrian. His medical bills were $450,000, none of which were paid. He requested $691,000-984,000 in future medical expenses. Defense counsel argued the necessity and reasonableness of past medical expenses and suggested that past medical expenses should be $135,000. He did not provide a number for future medicals. The special verdict form awarded $460,431 in past medicals and $425,000 in future medical expenses. The total ... Continue Reading