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The California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the Service Employees International Union’s petition for a writ of mandate challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 22, the $200 million ballot measure that California voters approved in November to keep gig drivers independent contractors rather than employees. The court denied the petition in a brief docket entry, “without prejudice to refiling in an appropriate court.” The entry also states that Justices Goodwin Liu and Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar “are of the opinion an order to show cause should be issued.” The SEIU — along with the the SEIU California State Council, three rideshare drivers, and…
Ski lodge owners in the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom to prevent him and other government officials from enforcing a raft of COVID-19-related orders. The complaint, filed in the Eastern District, alleges that the measures violate their constitutional rights. The suit was filed by short-term lodging owners Cindy and Timothy Abshire and Alan and Monica Butts, along with lodging manager Nomadness Corp. and the Mammoth Lakes Business Coalition. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was also named in the suit, along with state and Mono County public health officers and Mammoth Lakes town officials, alleging they have…
Reversing the Fifth Circuit’s dismissal of the case, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5-4 opinion Wednesday that the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board’s refusal to reopen a prior disability benefits determination for a former railroad worker is subject to judicial review. The worker in the case, Manfredo Salinas, began seeking disability benefits in 1992 under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 (RRA) based on serious injuries he sustained during his 15-year career with the Union Pacific Railroad as a carpenter and assistant foreman. In 1989 a coworker dropped a sledgehammer from a bridge, hitting Salinas’ hardhat, and in 1993…
Following the California Supreme Court’s ruling last month that its landmark 2018 decision on independent contractor status applies retroactively, the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday vacated a district court’s finding of summary judgment for Jan-Pro Franchising International in a class action for back wages and overtime. In Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903, the California Supreme Court set out what’s known as the “ABC test” for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, making it much harder for gig companies to classify their workers as independent contractors not entitled to traditional…
The California Supreme Court unanimously held Thursday that habeas corpus relief is available to inmates whose continued incarceration has become constitutionally excessive but who have been denied release by a parole board. However, the court held, excessive incarceration didn’t justify ending a habeas petitioner’s parole supervision altogether. The petitioner in this case, William Palmer II, asserted that his continued incarceration for a crime he committed in 1988, when he was 17 years old, had become grossly disproportionate under the California and U.S. Constitutions. Palmer claimed that he’d had 10 parole suitability hearings between 1996 and 2015 but had been denied…
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill that will extend the state’s moratorium on evictions through June 30 of this year, aiming to protect Californians facing ongoing economic hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 91 extends a pause on evictions for tenants who declare under penalty of perjury an inability to pay all or part of their rent due to a COVID-related reason. Previously those protections were set to expire on Feb. 1 under AB 3088, which the governor signed last year. “Once again, California is leading the way by enacting the strongest eviction…
The Ninth Circuit held Friday that credible testimony about an attempted gang rape was sufficient to establish an asylum applicant’s past persecution, and that the Board of Immigration Appeals shouldn’t have imposed evidentiary requirements beyond the attempted assault. Chanpreet Kaur, a native of the state of Punjab in India, sought asylum in the United States for fear of persecution in her country of origin. Kaur testified that, because of her political advocacy for the independent Sikh state of Khalistan, a group of men from one of Punjab’s major political parties dragged her into a public street and attempted to gang…
California’s First District Court of Appeal held Tuesday that a quiet title action to establish a public easement for coastal access on property owned by a Native American tribe can’t go forward, concluding that the action is barred by the tribe’s sovereign immunity. “Congress has not abrogated tribal immunity for a suit to establish a public easement,” the court held, noting that its deference to Congress is consistent with decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedent in cases involving land acquisition and federal tribal policy. Native American tribes are “separate sovereigns pre-existing the Constitution” and possess the common-law immunity from suit…
The Ninth Circuit on Monday affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a suit filed against Tesla under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), in which the plaintiff claimed that one of the automaker’s dealerships wasn’t sufficiently accessible to people who use wheelchairs. Brian Whitaker, who is quadriplegic and uses a wheelchair for mobility, alleged that a Tesla dealership in Sherman Oaks had inaccessible service counters that denied him full and equal access to the dealership and “created difficulty and discomfort” when he visited it in 2019. Tesla moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming that Whitaker didn’t allege facts sufficient to…
The Ninth Circuit granted two Southern California churches’ requests for injunctions of the state’s fixed attendance caps on indoor worship services in rulings issued Friday and Monday, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent directive for analyzing the constitutionality of restrictions on those services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The court left in place other state restrictions on religious gatherings, including a total prohibition on indoor worship services under the most restrictive tier of California’s COVID-19 response and other limitations on attendance that are tied to a percentage of a facility’s fire-code capacity. Since the pandemic arrived in California,…