California Lawyers Association

Case Updates

All case updates written and distributed by the CLA sections

The First Amendment’s Religion Clauses foreclose certain employment-discrimination claims brought against religious organizations. This “ministerial exception” applies to employees who perform vital religious duties on behalf of the organization. Read more
Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits discrimination in the healthcare system by incorporating four nondiscrimination statutes—including the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits certain types of disability discrimination. Andrea Schmitt, who has a severe hearing loss disability, filed a class action against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, alleging that it unlawfully discriminated against her and other hearing-disabled plan members by excluding all hearing loss treatments except cochlear implants. Read more
The Nevada Supreme Court determined, based on a Nevada statute, that directors and officers of a corporation are not liable for acts or failures to act unless there is a breach of fiduciary duty involving intentional misconduct, fraud or a knowing violation of law. The Nevada Supreme Court did not address exclusions listed in the Nevada statute based on articles of incorporation or corporate governance documents providing for the liability involving other acts. Read more
The United States District Court in New York ruled that Amazon, as an online marketplace operator, was not liable for damages caused to an online buyer by a defective product sold by a third-party vendor based on strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty claims. Philadelphia Indemnity Ins. Co. v, Inc., 2019 WL 6525624 (E.D. NY 2019). Read more
Reflecting a growing split among bankruptcy courts, a Delaware bankruptcy judge ruled that the statutory amendment which increased quarterly United States Trustee fees by as much as 833% in cases pending at the time of its enactment as well as cases filed thereafter is not impermissibly retroactive, does not amount to a taking, and does not violate the United States Constitution’s Bankruptcy Clause. Read more
Golden Door Properties, LLC v. County of San Diego (2020) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2020 WL 3119041: The Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court's order approving a writ of mandate and requiring respondent to vacate its approvals of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) and Guidelines for Determining Significance of Climate Change (Guidelines) ... Read more
Many, perhaps most, home loan foreclosures are commenced on behalf of parties who were not the original lenders. The homeowner will often challenge the standing of a successor mortgagee to conduct the foreclosure, alleging that a formal defect occurred at some point in what may be a chain of assignments. In JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v Syed, 2020 WL 1967527 (Conn App. April 28, 2020) the mortgage note was endorsed for assignment by the original lender bank using the stamped signature of a person who had left the bank’s employ years earlier. An intermediate appellate court in Connecticut has given effect to that endorsement, carefully applying the law governing negotiable instruments, as set forth in Article 3 of Uniform Commercial Code. Read more
Ben-E-Lect, a third party insurance claim administrator, developed a “wrapping” strategy for reducing employer health insurance costs by bundling low-premium, high-deductible health insurance with self-funded accounts to pay employee healthcare expenses within the annual deductible and any co-pay requirements. Ben-E-Lect sold its wrapping services through insurance brokers and agents to the small-employer market. Read more
After a surgical sponge was inadvertently left inside a patient, the State Department of Public Health fined Saint Francis Memorial Hospital for failing to develop and implement a sponge count procedure and a policy for properly training its staff. Saint Francis sought administrative review. Read more
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that nunc pro tunc employment of counsel for the chapter 7 trustee was not appropriate following a recent decision by the Supreme Court which cast doubt on nunc pro tunc orders. However, the bankruptcy court determined that professionals employed in bankruptcy cases may still be paid for work performed prior to the date of employment, subject to court approval. In re Benitez, 2020 WL 1272258 (Bankr. E.D. N.Y. March 13, 2020). Read more

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