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  Tuesday, November 27, 2018  
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The following caselaw summaries are provided as a courtesy to Los Angeles County Bar Association members by the Metropolitan News-Enterprise www.metnews.com. Summaries from the past 90 days are archived and searchable on the LACBA Web site at www.lacba.org/news-and-publications/daily-ebriefs.
U.S. SUPREME COURT
Environmental Law
An area is eligible for designation as "critical habitat" under the Endangered Species Act only if it is habitat for the species. The Secretary of the Interior has discretion to exclude certain areas from being designated "critical habitat" but there is a mandated procedure the secretary must follow to consider the economic and other impacts of designation when making his exclusion decisions.

Weyerhaeuser Company v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service - filed Nov. 27, 2018
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 17-71_omjp
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NINTH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS
Bankruptcy Law
A Chapter 7 debtor's claimed homestead exemption is limited to the amount to which she was entitled under Washington law as of the petition date because, whether claiming federal or state law exemptions, the value of the exemption is fixed by reference to the date of the filing of the bankruptcy petition. A debtor's interests in property transfer to the bankruptcy estate as of the commencement of the bankruptcy action, and after this transfer, any appreciation enures to the bankruptcy estate. Under Washington law, a debtor's homestead exemption is limited to her equity in the property as of the date of her bankruptcy petition.

Wilson v. Rigby - filed Nov. 27, 2018
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 17-35716
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Civil Procedure
In determining whether a putative class plaintiff has demonstrated injuries similar to the putative class members, a district court may not decline to consider evidence solely on the basis that the evidence is inadmissible at trial. In a class action, a named plaintiff must be a member of the class she seeks to represent. A trial court abused its discretion in finding a law firm was unqualified to serve as class counsel during the class certification proceedings by focusing only on apparent mistakes counsel had made, with no mention of the evidence in the record demonstrating class counsel's substantial and competent work, however the court would not be precluded from considering counsel's prior sanctions as evidence of inadequacy if counsel continues to neglect their duties. Under California law, the district court erred by interpreting time "actually worked" to mean only time spent engaged in work-related activities because time is compensable when an employee is working or under the control of her employer. The district court erred by concluding that damages for an employer's alleged violation of California Labor Code Sec. 226 would require individualized determinations because the code specifies that a violation of Sec. 226 is a per se injury.

Sali v. Corona Regional Medical Center - filed Nov. 27, 2018
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 15-56460
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Constitutional Law
An Alaska law imposing a $500 limit on individual contributions to candidates and non-political party groups does not violate the First Amendment. Alaska's statutory annual limits on what a political party-including its subdivisions-may contribute to a candidate also passes constitutional muster since all these restrictions were narrowly tailored to prevent quid pro quo corruption or its appearance. An Alaska limitation on the amount a candidate can accept from nonresidents violates the First Amendment since it targeted contributors' influence over Alaska politics, and that was not an "important state interest".

Thompson v. Hebdon - filed Nov. 27, 2018
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 17-35019
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Criminal Law and Procedure
A trial judge committed prejudicial error in instructing a jury on the legal definition of harboring an alien for purposes of 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) where the instruction did not require the jury to find that the defendant intended to violate the law. The instruction on "reckless disregard" was also prejudicially flawed where the instruction did not require the jury to find that the defendant subjectively drew an inference that the alien was, in fact, an alien and was in the United States unlawfully.

United States v. Tydingco - filed Nov. 27, 2018
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 17-10023
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CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEAL
Administrative Law
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's interpretation of the statutes and regulations that it enforces are entitled to deference, but not its interpretation of the license conditions it also enforces. The reasonableness of a license condition cannot be challenged in a disciplinary hearing.

Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) v. ABC Appeals Board - filed Nov. 26, 2018, Third District
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 5514
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Civil Procedure
A party prevails in an action for purposes of a fee award under Government Code Sec. 12652(g)(9)(B) if it prevails on its False Claims Act, even if it does not prevail on the action as a whole.

John Russo Industrial Sheetmetal, Inc. v. Los Angeles Department of Airports - filed Nov. 26, 2018, First District, Div. Five
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 5519
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Criminal Law and Procedure
When blood is drawn from a person arrested for driving under the influence and the circumstances of the blood draw are "typical and routine," the defendant bears the burden of providing the draw was not conducted in a "reasonable manner" to establish a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.

People v. Fish - filed Nov. 27, 2018, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 5524
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Criminal Law and Procedure
A defendant's unequivocal waiver of his right to appeal precludes review of his challenge to a trial judge's decision denying his motion to suppress statements had allegedly made when his Miranda rights were violated. A certificate of probable cause certifying an issue that is not cognizable following a guilty plea is legally ineffectual.

People v. Cisneros-Ramirez - filed Nov. 26, 2018, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 5527
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Environmental Law
Where the substance and effect of a decision granting a peremptory writ disposed of all the issues raised in a California Environmental Quality Act case, it was a final judgment for purposes of appeal.

Alliance of Concerned Citizens Organized for Responsible Development v. City of San Juan Bautista (Dadwal) - filed Nov. 26, 2018, Sixth District
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 5532
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Family Law
When the nature of a debt is such that its discharge will directly and adversely impact the finances of the debtor's spouse or former spouse, it is nondischargeable in bankruptcy, even if it is not directly payable to the spouse.

In re Marriage of Vaughn - filed Nov. 27, 2018, Second District, Div. Six
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 5541
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Modification
People v. Kelly - filed Nov. 26, 2018, Fifth District
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 5544
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MEMBER BENEFIT SPOTLIGHT

 

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