Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - September 17, 2013

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American Nurses Association v. Torlakson (2013) 57 Cal.4th 570.  The California Supreme Court holds that trained, but unlicensed school personnel may administer prescription medications, including insulin, in accordance with written instructions provided by a student's treating physician and with parental consent.

Mission Springs Water District v. Verjil (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 829.  This is a somewhat convoluted SLAPP case.  The Mission Springs Water District filed a declaratory relief action challenging an initiative, and the initiative's proponents then filed a SLAPP motion.  The motion was denied and the denial was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The court first found that the declaratory relief action did concern a protected activity, i.e., the initiative process and the constitutional rights associated with that process.  The declaratory relief action raised the issue of whether water rates would be set too low under the initiative to pay the District's costs, however, which would make the rates lower than permitted by State law.  On this issue, the court found that the Water District had shown the probability of prevailing on its claim, thereby justifying a denial of the SLAPP motion.

Albanese v. Menounos (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 923.  This is another SLAPP case in which a "celebrity stylist" sued a television personality for defamation and the defendant filed a SLAPP motion.  The trial court denied the motion finding that the statements made did not involve a public issue or an issue of public interest, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeal.  The Court of Appeal noted that while there might be "some public interest in the plaintiff based on her profession as a celebrity stylist" there was no evidence of a general public controversy nor that the public was interested in what was essentially a private dispute and hence the SLAPP statute did not apply.

Glaski v. Bank of America (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 1079.  This is a very interesting case that arises in the context of a nonjudicial foreclosure in which the borrower contended that the foreclosure was wrongful pursuant to Civil Code §2924(a)(1) because the documents related to the foreclosure contained forged signatures and that the foreclosing entity was not the true owner of the loan in that there had been prior defective transfers of the loan after its closing date to a securitized trust established for mortgage-backed securities under New York law.

The Court of Appeal agreed with plaintiff, as to plaintiff's causes of action for wrongful foreclosure, quiet title, declaratory relief, cancellation of instruments and unfair business practices.  Because the borrower's pleading alleged that the loan assignments were void, not merely voidable, the pleadings were sufficient to survive demurrer.  In reaching this conclusion, the Court of Appeal relied on the provisions of New York law that any sale, conveyance or other act of a trustee in contravention of the trust instrument by which the trustee is appointed is void.  Therefore the acceptance of the note and mortgage by the trustee after the securitized trust closed would be void and tender of amounts owing were not required when a foreclosure sale would be void. 

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