Friday, January 24, 2020

Bonds here! Get your Bonds here!

CSBA -- which now stands for Court Surety Bond Agency -- just went live with a new website!
This new website has many useful features and a lot of helpful information (like articles).
Although CSBA can help with your bonding needs anywhere, it's headquartered in SoCal (Orange County to be precise). So this blog couldn't fail to notice it!

Delightfully Appellatey "Threshold Issues"

So here's an unpub from the 5th today with a Discussion section that starts off with a 3-part Part I titled "Threshold Issues" about 5 pages long. The three threshold issues are appealability of the order, standing to appeal and aggrieved party status, and forfeiture of the right to appeal! Appellate catnip if ever there were such a thing!
Image result for catnip
Blissing out on the weeds no one else care about!
For more appellate fun, of sorts, there's one here too.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

How much for that monster?

Image result for monster moneyLaw360 has 7th Circ. Sets Fee Penalty For Atty Who Filed 'Monstrosity'. This is the case where the appellant's lawyer was too busy to draft the opening brief, and so allowed his client to draft and then e-file the brief under his name, using his e-filing codes. The brief was horrible (the court called it incoherent gibberish) and sanctions imposed in an amount to be determined. Now's it's been determined: over $41K for one defendant and over $30K for another, for a grand total of about $72K.
"I have suffered through the most embarrassing and stressful moments of my legal career and perhaps my life during the oral argument and after the publication of the court's opinion," [Appellant's counsel] told the court. "My reputation has been tarnished at the highest level as a result of my actions that caused such a scathing opinion in this matter."
[1/24/20 Today's DJ has Louie Castoria's The 7 Deadly Sins of Legal Writing, using this case as an example. FYI, Louie's listing of the 7 Deadly Sins: Falsity, Tardiness, Noncompliance, Unsupported, Unpersuasive, Unfocused, Boring.]

Justice Kruger by the numbers

Today's DJ has Kirk Jenkins' Justice Leondra R. Kruger by the numbers, the sixth in his series of data-driven profiles of CSC Justices:
  • Justice Kruger was appointed to the seat of retiring Justice Joyce L. Kennard by former Gov. Jerry Brown in November 2014. She was sworn in on Jan. 5, 2015, the same day as Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar. From 2007 to 2013, Justice Kruger was an assistant to the United States solicitor general. She served as acting principal deputy solicitor general from 2010 to 2011. During her tenure in the solicitor general's office, she argued 12 cases at the Supreme Court. Justice Kruger left the solicitor general's office in 2013 to become deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel.
  • As of the end of 2019, Justice Kruger had voted in 391 cases -- 171 civil and 220 criminal, quasi-criminal, juvenile, disciplinary and mental health. She has written 21 majority opinions in civil cases.... Justice Kruger's busiest years were 2016 (seven majority opinions), 2017 (six majorities) and 2019 (four majorities). ... Justice Kruger has written 28 majority opinions in criminal cases...
  • Justice Kruger has written opinions in a dozen areas of civil law. She has written eight opinions on civil procedure issues (five of them majority opinions) and she has written four opinions each in employment law (two majorities), constitutional law (two majorities) and tort (three majorities). She has written three opinions regarding government and administrative law, all three majorities, and three tax opinions, one a majority. Justice Kruger has written two opinions on environmental law (one of them a majority) two on arbitration (again, one a majority) and one majority opinion each on property law, legal ethics and workers compensation.
  • Justice Kruger seldom dissents. She has filed seven dissents in civil cases: four in 2016, three in 2017. This comes to only 4.09% of her civil caseload. She has filed five dissents in criminal cases: two in 2017 and 2019, one in 2018 -- only 2.27% of her criminal cases.
  • During Justice Kruger's first five years' service, the Supreme Court has decided 80.81% of its civil cases and 78.64% of its criminal cases unanimously.
  • During her first two years on the court, Justice Kruger's closest voting match on the civil side was Justice Goodwin Liu, with whom she agreed in 75% of non-unanimous cases. Justices Kruger and Cuéllar voted together 68.75% of the time. Justice Kruger had an agreement rate of 62.5% with three Republican appointees, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Carol Corrigan and Kathryn Werdegar. Justice Kruger's lowest civil agreement rate was with Justice Chin -- 43.75%.
  • Our data suggest that Justice Kruger may be near the ideological center of the Court, at least in the past three years: moderately liberal in civil cases, moderately conservative (more so than her fellow Democratic appointees) in criminal cases. 
Also of note: 4/2's Justice Richard Fields had an article (with USC's Prof. Barry Kaye) in the DJ's special The Resolution Issue insert, titled The Enforceability of Class Waivers in Arbitration Agreements.

And if you're just looking for a good opinion to read, check out this one here, where a pro per plaintiff wins a reversal because the trial court abused its discretion in dismissing his case "for failing to appear at trial several days after he had been released from the hospital":
The trial court’s view of how much time, effort, and expense go into trying a case was unrealistic. Participating in a trial, as most trial lawyers can confirm, is exhausting and physically demanding. ... If an attorney had requested a short trial continuance because he or she was in the hospital in the days leading up to a trial, any reasonable judicial officer would have granted that attorney a continuance.
For a nice discussion of the substantial evidence standard (and a citation to last year's smash hit Briganti v. Chow) see here (noting "Our colleagues in Division Four recently underlined how important it is for every judge to combat gender bias in the justice system. [Cite to Briganti.] We agree."

In the "clear instructions please" folder, Law360 has Judge Confused by 11th Circ.'s Mandate in Biofuel Bankruptcy. The district judge the judge "said he wished the appeals court’s most recent one-paragraph order had come with instructions. “They’re not really giving me any direction,” Judge Gayles said. “It’d be nice to have an opinion. Neither opinion from the Eleventh Circuit is a model of clarity in this case.”"

Finally, file this one under "follow our instructions!": 'What Happened Next Beggars Belief' 7th Circuit Scolds Feds for Defying Order in Visa Case
“We have never before encountered defiance of a remand order, and we hope never to see it again,” Easterbrook wrote. “Members of the board must count themselves lucky that Baez-Sanchez has not asked us to hold them in contempt, with all the consequences that possibility entails. The Board seemed to think that we had issued an advisory opinion, and that faced with a conflict between our views and those of the Attorney General it should follow the latter.”

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Religious Liberty & The Law

Interested in attending a "lively conversation regarding the Supreme Court's current and future jurisprudence related to Religious Liberty and the Law"? Then look no further than here, for a Feb. 21 noon to 2 p.m. program at the California Club in DTLA featuring Ninth Circuit Judge Kenneth Lee moderating Deans Chemerinsky and Eastman.

Who's your panel?

Image result for the bronxBack East, the First Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division (one of four intermediate appellate courts in the state, with jurisdiction over the counties of New York [aka Manhattan] and the Bronx) has started something new (in New York):

Starting January 24, 2020, the First Department will publish the composition of judicial panels on the Friday before oral arguments scheduled for the following week. "After publication of the names of the Justices on each panel, adjournments will not be granted absent extraordinary circumstances."

California's Bar Has A Diversity Problem, But There's Hope

That's the title of a Law360 article here about yesterday's BASF Diversity Summit.
Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye said during her keynote discussion that the legal industry has gotten better at attracting diverse candidates, but not very good at getting them into the legal profession.
She urged the industry to think about "how can we help prepare people coming out of college to get to law school, to survive law school, and to come out and be able to practice as their conscience desired."
As a judge for the past 13 years, Justice Cantil-Sakauye said the California judiciary has shown improvement in diversity and inclusion.
"Diversity is a good thing; you grow from it. And then you take that and wherever you go, you ensure that it happens around you, and you grow from that," she said. "It's a happy contagion of inclusivity."

Oral argument guidelines

Law360 reports Fed. Circ. Judges To Attorneys: Don't Interrupt Us
The Federal Circuit has unveiled a series of new guidelines for attorneys arguing before the court, with one piece of advice topping the list: If you feel the urge to cut off one of the judges, bite your tongue.
The guidelines are sound advice for arguing in any court:

  • The following guidelines are provided to assist counsel in making the best use of the allotted time at argument. • Counsel should not interrupt a judge. • Assume the court is familiar with the facts of the case. • Minimize reading. • Have a copy of the appendix and be familiar with the location of items. • Assume the court is familiar with the briefs and appendix contents. • When raising new authority at argument, provide a copy to opposing counsel ahead of time. • Stop your argument when your time expires unless the court permits you to continue. • Answer questions directly. • Avoid pejoratives. • When referring to specific portions of the appendix, provided accurate page citations. • Do not respond to a question with an unqualified citation to your brief in response to a question • Counsel seated at counsel tables should neither make inappropriate facial gestures nor engage in exaggerated gesticulation.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Transcript Assembly Program

Courthouse News Service has California Court Administrators Eye Tech Projects for Budget Windfall which notes:
At its business meeting Friday, the administrative agency for the state’s courts touted a pilot project created by the appellate courts to move trial records and electronic transcripts from the trial courts to the appellate level. The council expects the move will streamline the appeals process, saving courts and attorneys loads of time and money and ensuring people’s cases are considered in full.
Compiling an appellate record can be tremendously time-consuming, as all documents related to a case must be photocopied and assembled along with a court reporter’s transcript and physically sent to the appellate court. Courts estimated they were spending 10 hours on each file per year, according to the Fifth Appellate District.
A new system called the Transcript Assembly Program allows trial court clerks to electronically forward documents to both the appellate court and the attorneys working on the case.
The project was initially launched in 2017 with a $25 million grant which funded about 50 projects comprising the Innovation Grants Program. It began with the nine courts comprising the Fifth Appellate District in Fresno. By the end of 2019, it was being used in 30 courts.
(Hat tip to Leslie Ellen Shear) 

Justice Teri Jackson confirmed!

Commission Confirms Teri L. Jackson to First Appellate District

SAN FRANCISCO—Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, chair of the Commission on Judicial Appointments, announced that the commission today confirmed the following appointments by Governor Gavin Newsom:
Judge Teri L. Jackson, as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three (San Francisco)
The appointments were approved by a unanimous vote in the Supreme Court Courtroom, 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco.
Judge Jackson was the first African-American woman ever appointed to the San Francisco County Superior Court when she was appointed by Gov. Gray Davis in 2002.
Judge Jackson has served as an adjunct law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law since 2006 and at the University of San Francisco School of Law since 2004. She was of counsel at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP from 1997 to 2002 and served as an assistant district attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office from 1984 to 1997. She served as a deputy district attorney in the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office from 1981 to 1984. Judge Jackson earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Judge Jackson fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Martin J. Jenkins, who now serves as judicial appointments secretary for Gov. Newsom.

The Recorder has First Black Woman Appointed as Justice to California's First District Court of Appeal

Watch the Jackson hearing!

Jan. 21: Commission to Consider Appointment to First Appellate District

Today in San Francisco, Judge Teri L. Jackson's appointment to the appellate court will be considered by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. The livestream begins at 11AM.

Witnesses in Support:
--Hon. Kelvin D. Filer, Judge, Los Angeles County Superior Court
--Hon. Cynthia Ming-mei Lee, Judge, San Francisco County Superior Court
--Hon. Rebecca Wiseman (Ret.) Associate Justice, Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District
--Ms. Yolanda Jackson, Executive Director & General Counsel, The Bar Association of San Francisco and Justice &
Diversity Center

State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation:
Ms. Diane A. Bellas, Commission Chair

Appointee Statement
Commission’s Questions
Commission’s Vote

Swearing In

Monday, January 20, 2020

MLK & the CSC

Image result for i have a dream speech
At the Lectern has this post here about MLK Jr. & the Cal Supreme Court!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Cats out of the bags!

Governor Newsom Names New Members to Regional Judicial Selection Advisory Committees 

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced new members to serve on the state’s regional Judicial Selection Advisory Committees (JSACs), which provide preliminary, non-partisan feedback on candidates and help promote a diverse and inclusive nomination process for California’s judiciary.

The Governor today named Administrative Presiding Justice of the Sixth District Court of Appeal Mary J. Greenwood to serve on the Bay Area Judicial Selection Advisory Committee; Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office head deputy-supervisor Irene G. Nunez and Greene, Broillet & Wheeler partner Christine D. Spagnoli to the Los Angeles Judicial Selection Advisory Committee; and former Presiding Judge of the San Diego County Superior Court Peter Deddeh to the San Diego Judicial Selection Advisory Committee.

In keeping with his commitment to increase transparency in government, the Governor last year announced the creation of eight Judicial Selection Advisory Committees (JSACs) – representing the Bay Area, Central Coast, Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Northern California, Orange and San Diego regions – comprised of attorneys and judges who live and work in the regions. For the first time in California history, the individuals who provide important feedback on judicial candidates for nomination and appointment are known to the public.

Committee members convene at the request of Judicial Appointments Secretary Justice Martin Jenkins (Ret.) to provide feedback on candidates’ legal acumen, work ethic, temperament and demonstrated commitment to public service. They review all candidates before forwarding their names to the Governor for review. All feedback from the JSACs is advisory in nature only, and is considered by the Governor’s Office in combination with evaluations provided by the State Bar of California and county and affinity bar associations.

The JSACs are comprised of attorneys and judges, selected by the Judicial Appointments Secretary, who are in good standing with the State Bar of California and are diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender, as well as substantive legal practice areas. In identifying potential committee members, the Judicial Appointments Secretary considers suggestions from members of California state and local bar organizations and California affinity bar organizations.

A complete list of committee members, by region, can be found here. 

JC Orders New Anti-Harassment Policies

The Recorder reports: 

Judicial Council Orders Courts to Draft New Anti-Harassment Workplace Policies

The new rule will require all 58 trial courts and seven appellate courts to establish by June 30 policies "prohibiting harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and inappropriate workplace conduct."

Thursday, January 16, 2020

CLA's Litigation Section's Jan. 2020 update

Litigation Update for January 2020

The January 2020 issue of Litigation Update is now online, keeping you up to date on current case law. This issue includes the following case summaries and more:
  • Service Complete When MFAA Award Deposited in Mail.
  • Grey Goose Vodka to the Rescue.
  • Attempted Extortion and Bribery of a Public Official.
  • Plaintiff Fired for Reporting Harassment of Another Employee by a Supervisor.
  • Another Bad Injury Resulting from a Police Chase.
  • List of Things that Will Never Go Away: #1. Student Debt . . .
  • No Overtime Wages for Manager.
  • No Adverse Employment Act Under FEHA.
  • When Longstanding Precedent Is Reversed.
  • No Promises a Diet Drink Will Result in Lost Weight.
And more! See the entire January 2020 Litigation Update!
Section Logo

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Justice Chin to Retire from California Supreme Court

Justice Ming W. Chin today announced he will retire from the Supreme Court of California on August 31, capping a nearly 25-year career on the state high court.
Justice Chin is the court’s first Chinese-American justice and its longest-serving sitting member. He authored over 350 majority opinions and more than 100 separate opinions during his tenure,
Press release here.

The Recorder's Breaking News article is hereChin, 77, notified the governor’s office of his plans this week and informed his colleagues Wednesday at the court’s weekly conference in San Francisco.

[Law360 has Longest-Serving Calif. Justice to Step Down]

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

SG to Speak at Pepperdine

Jan. 30 William French Smith Lecture: US Solicitor General Noel Francisco

Join us for a William French Smith Endowed Lecture and Q&A with Noel Francisco, US Solicitor General. Francisco was appointed to this position in 2017, and recently represented the US in Supreme Court cases regarding DACA and Title VII. Admission is free—register here.

Friday, January 10, 2020

JNE wants you! Call 867-5309

The 2021 JNE Commission recruitment season has officially begun! The appointments and JNE pages on the State Bar website have been updated, and the updated application uploaded to the site. The deadline to apply is Friday March 13.

Here’s the link to the landing page for State Bar appointments -

Here’s the link to the landing page for JNE appointments -

[Confused by this post's title? See here.]