Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - April 10, 2017

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City of San Jose v. Superior Court (2017) 2 Cal.5th 608.  This is an interesting California Public Records Act (Gov. Code §  6250, et seq.) case.  The issue was whether or not the definition of “public records” as contained in the Act included communications about official business which were however sent from and/or stored by officials’ personal email accounts.

The court determined that such documents were included within the definition of public records under the Act and the action of sending, receiving or storing these communications in a personal account did not exempt them from the Act.  The court reasoned that the public official had the emails “prepared by” the agency within the meaning of Government Code section 6252 and the document status did not turn on the “arbitrary” circumstance of where the document was stored or located.

Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture, LLC (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 98.  The court found that employers that are paid on commission are entitled to receive separate compensation for rest breaks under the provisions of the Labor Code, section 226.7, and CCR, Title 8, section 11070.  The court concluded that the formula used in determining commissions did not include any component that compensated the employees for rest breaks in that the commission formula pay was paid regardless of whether the individual took a rest break or not.  Frankly, I am not certain that makes a lot of sense so long as the commissioned employee was getting paid more than the minimum wage that would include the rest break period, but nonetheless, that’s what the Second District Court of Appeal concluded.

Colyear v. Rolling Hills Community Association of Rancho Palos Verdes (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 119.  This is a SLAPP matter.  The trial court granted a SLAPP motion with respect to claims which alleged that an application to enforce tree-trimming covenants within an association’s CC&R’s, wrongfully clouded the title of the homeowner whose trees might be affected.  The Court of Appeal upheld the granting of the SLAPP motion.  The court found that the authority of the homeowners association to enforce tree-trimming covenants was an issue of public interest, and therefore the statute was applicable.  Claims arose from protected activity of requesting enforcement of the CC&R’s.  The probability of the plaintiffs prevailing was not shown. 

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