Articles Posted in California Court of Appeal

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At issue in this case was whether Gateway Community Charters (Gateway), a nonprofit public benefit corporation that operated charter schools, was an “other municipal corporation” for purposes of Labor Code section 220, subdivision (b), thereby exempting it from assessment of waiting time penalties described in section 203. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded it was not; therefore, it affirmed the trial court’s judgment. View "Gateway Community Charters v. Spiess" on Justia Law

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After the trial court ruled on a petition for writ of administrative mandamus pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5, Golden Day appealed the trial court's holding regarding certain findings of the ALJ, which entitled the Department to recoup more than $3 million. The Department cross-appealed, contending that the trial court erroneously overturned one of the ALJ's findings. The court concluded that the Department was permitted under Education Code section 8448, subdivision (h) to conduct its own contract performance audit despite having accepted and closed Golden Day's independent financial and compliance audits; substantial evidence supports the findings of the ALJ and the trial court that the Department was allowed to recoup (i) costs for commingling eligible and noneligible students, (ii) certain payroll costs for employees who also worked at a charter school on some of the same sites, and (iii) various nonreimbursable costs; and thus the court reversed as to Finding No. 5 (the ALJ's decision to uphold the disallowance of certain rental payments) and affirmed in all other respects. View "Golden Day Schools v. Office of Admininistrative Hearings" on Justia Law

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Government Code section 53094(b) authorizes “the governing board of a school district” to “render a city or county zoning ordinance inapplicable to a proposed use of property by the school district,” under certain circumstances. The Santa Clara County Board of Education approved a resolution exempting from local zoning ordinances property to be used by Rocketship Education for a charter school. The San Jose Unified School District argued that county boards of education have no authority to issue section 53094 zoning exemptions and successfully sought a writ of mandate to set aside the resolution. The court of appeal affirmed, finding that section 53094 does not authorize county boards of education to issue zoning exemptions for charter schools. Empowering county boards to issue zoning exemptions for charter schools would not advance the purpose of section 53094—preventing local interference with the state’s sovereign activities. While county boards are authorized to issue charters and oversee charter schools, local school districts are obligated to provide facilities to charter schools. (Educ. Code, 47614(b).) The state has not tasked county boards with acquiring sites for charter schools; to the extent they do so, they are not carrying out a sovereign activity on behalf of the state. View "San Jose Unified School District v. Santa Clara County Office of Education" on Justia Law

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Federal law makes undocumented immigrants ineligible for state and local public benefits, but allows a state to “affirmatively provide[] for such eligibility” through “the enactment of a State law.” 8. U.S.C. 1621(d). Plaintiff, a California taxpayer, filed suit against the Regents, alleging that none of its policies qualifies under section 1621(d) as a "State law" making undocumented immigrants eligible for postsecondary education benefits. The trial court sustained the Regents' demurrer, concluding that the Regents' policies satisfy section 1621(d). At issue in this case is whether three California legislative “enactments” affirmatively provide “eligibility” under federal law for postsecondary education benefits to qualified undocumented immigrants who attend the University of California, even though the statutes require only the California State University and California community colleges to provide such benefits. These laws include (1) Assembly Bill No. 540 (2001-2002 Reg. Sess.) (A.B. 540), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for exemption from nonresident tuition (Stats. 2001, ch. 814, 1-2); (2) Assembly Bill No. 131 (2011-2012 Reg. Sess.) (A.B. 131), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for student financial aid programs (Stats. 2011, ch. 604, 3); and (3) Senate Bill No. 1210 (2013-2014 Reg. Sess.) (S.B. 1210), which makes qualified undocumented immigrants eligible for student loan benefits (Stats. 2014, ch. 754, 3). The court concluded that, even though the California Constitution may preclude the Legislature from actually conferring postsecondary education benefits on undocumented immigrants attending the University of California, the Legislature has made these students “eligible” for such benefits within the meaning of the federal statute. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "De Vries v. Regents of UC" on Justia Law

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The Department filed a petition for writs of administrative and traditional mandamus, and declaratory relief, seeking, among other things, an order compelling the Director of the Department of General Services, OAH, to set aside the order and decision issued by one of its ALJs in the matter of Parents on Behalf of Student v. Tuolumne County California Children’s Services, OAH Case No. 2012100238. The District and County, as well as the student's parents, opposed the Department's petition. The trial court affirmed the ALJ's order and decision, denying all of the Department's requests. The court agreed with the Department's contentions that the trial court erred when it summarily denied the petition for writ of administrative mandamus and failed to conduct an independent review on the petition for writs of administrative and traditional mandamus. The court concluded, however, that the trial court did not err in denying the requests for writs of mandamus and declaratory relief, and awarding attorney fees to the student. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Department of Health Care Services v. Office of Administrative Hearings" on Justia Law

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"John Doe" and "Jane Roe" were students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) when they began a romantic relationship. A few months after their relationship ended, Jane made a complaint to UCSD's Office of Student Conduct (OSC) that John had sexually assaulted her. The investigator produced a report indicating it was more likely than not that John digitally penetrated Jane's vagina without consent but that there was insufficient evidence to support two other claims Jane had alleged against John: (1) John had sexual intercourse with Jane without her effective consent on January 31, 2014; and (2) John retaliated against Jane at an off campus party on May 14, 2014. After a meeting with the relevant dean in which John did not take responsibility for the alleged misconduct, UCSD held a student conduct review hearing regarding Jane's complaint where a student conduct review panel (Panel) heard testimony and considered evidence. Ultimately, the Panel found that John had violated UCSD's Student Conduct Code. In addition to other sanctions, the Panel recommended John be suspended from UCSD for one quarter. After considering the Panel's recommendation, the evidence, and statements from both John and Jane, the relevant dean suspended John for an entire year in addition to prescribing other sanctions. John appealed the Panel's decision as well as the sanctions to the council of provosts, but the council found the Panel's decision supported by the evidence and the sanctions were not too excessive. In fact, the council of provosts increased the length of John's suspension by a quarter. John petitioned for a writ of mandate in the superior court, arguing he was not afforded a fair hearing, substantial evidence did not support the Panel's decision, and both the dean and the Regents of the University of California (Regents) improperly increased his punishment in response to his appealing the Panel's decision and recommended sanctions. The superior court granted the petition, agreeing with John on all grounds and entered judgement requiring the Regents to set aside their findings and the sanctions issued against John. The Regents appeal the judgment, arguing the trial court erred in granting the petition for writ of mandamus. After review, the Court of Appeal agreed that the superior court erred in rendering judgment in favor of John. The judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Doe v. Regents of the University of California" on Justia Law

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This case presented an issue of statutory interpretation of the scope of the geographic restrictions of the Charter Schools Act of 1992, as amended by the Legislature in 2002. Specifically, the issue was whether the comprehensive statutory scheme governing charter schools permitted an authorized charter school to locate a resource center outside the geographic boundaries of the authorizing school district but within the same county. The 2002 amendments generally required charter schools to operate within the geographic boundaries of the authorizing school district, with limited exceptions. One such exception was for a resource center, meeting space, or other satellite facility located in an adjacent county, provided certain conditions were met. Shasta Secondary Home School (SSHS) operated a nonclassroom-based charter school, providing educational support for students who are home schooled. SSHS operates two resource centers in Redding which provide educational services, labs, a meeting place for the student and his or her facilitator, work spaces, and some optional classes. In 2013, SSHS opened a third resource center in a room at the East Cottonwood Elementary School- within Shasta County, but outside the boundaries of the Shasta Union High School District. Instead, it was within the boundaries of plaintiff Anderson Union High School District (AUHSD). AUHSD brought suit, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief, contending the location of this resource center violated the Charter Schools Act, as well as the charter of SSHS. AUHSD claimed it was harmed by the location of the resource center because it had lost funding when students within its district chose to go to SSHS. The trial court denied both injunctive and declaratory relief, finding the geographic and site limitations of the Charter Schools Act did not apply to resource centers. The Court of Appeals concluded the language of the Charter Schools Act did not support that interpretation, and reversed. View "Anderson Union High Sch. Dist. v. Shasta Secondary Home Sch." on Justia Law

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The College Network, Inc. (TCN) appealed an order denying its motion to compel arbitration of a consumer fraud and breach of contract action brought by Plaintiffs Bernadette Magno, Rosanna Garcia, and Sheree Rudio. TCN argued the arbitration provision in Plaintiffs' purchase agreements was valid and enforceable and contended the trial court erred when it ruled the provision unconscionable. Alternatively, TCN argued that if the forum selection clause was unconscionable, the court abused its discretion in voiding the arbitration provision altogether rather than severing the objectionable provisions and enforcing the remainder. After review of the provision at issue, the Court of Appeal concluded the trial court correctly determined the arbitration provision to be procedurally and substantively unconscionable and did not abuse its discretion in voiding it in its entirety. View "Magno v. The College Network, Inc." on Justia Law

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Harris is the principal at Peterson Middle School in the Santa Clara Unified School District. Stampolis, a district board member, has a son who attends Peterson. In October 2014, Harris obtained a civil harassment restraining order (Code Civ. Proc., 527.6) against Stampolis after he became aggressive toward her when she confronted him about how he was regularly late to pick up his son after school. The court of appeal affirmed, finding that sufficient evidence supported conclusions that Stampolis made a credible threat of violence toward Harris on August 27, 2014; that it is reasonably probable that unlawful harassment may occur in the future absent a restraining order; and that the harassment caused Harris emotional distress. View "Harris v. Stampolis" on Justia Law

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In 2010-2011, the San Francisco Unified School District employed 11 substitute teachers who worked on an as-needed basis and 15 paraprofessional classified employees. Each of the 26 employees received a letter during the spring of the 2010-2011 school year advising that they had a reasonable assurance of employment for the following 2011-2012 school year. The 26 sought unemployment benefits for the period between the last date of the regular session of the 2010-2011 school year, May 27, 2011, and the first day of instruction for the 2011-2012 school year, August 15, 2011. The Employment Development Department denied benefits. The California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board reversed. The trial court and court of appeals ruled in favor of the District: “in effect what the claimants ... are requesting is … a full year‘s income … they have agreed to work and be paid for only 41 weeks of each year. … school employees can plan for those periods of unemployment and thus are not experiencing the suffering from unanticipated layoffs that the employment-security law was intended to alleviate.” View "United Educators of San Francisco. v. Cal. Unemp. Ins. Appeals Bd." on Justia Law