Articles Posted in California Courts of Appeal

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The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (Commission) notified Cornelius Oluseyi Ogunsalu that it had found probable cause to recommend the suspension of his preliminary teaching credentials for 21 days and that Ogunsalu's application for a clear credential would be granted only upon completion of the suspension. Ogunsalu requested a continuance of the administrative hearing before the Commission. An administrative law judge (ALJ) of the OAH denied the continuance on the ground Ogunsalu had not shown good cause for it. Ogunsalu was a vexatious litigant, and sought to challenge the denial of the continuance request by filing a petition for writ of mandate with the superior court. Ogunsalu then requested permission from the Court of Appeal to file a petition for a writ directing the superior court to vacate its order denying his request to file the petition for writ of mandate in that court. In the proposed filing, he contended that the superior court had abused its discretion by relying on his status as a vexatious litigant to deny his request to file the petition for writ of mandate, because he was a "defendant" in the administrative hearing before the Commission and sought to "appeal" a ruling against him in that proceeding. The Court of Appeal concluded that the vexatious litigant prefiling requirements of Code of Civil Procedure section 391.7 applied to a self-represented litigant, previously declared a vexatious litigant, who filed a writ of mandate proceeding in the superior court to challenge the denial of his request to continue an administrative proceeding where the vexatious litigant was the respondent in the administrative proceeding. Accordingly, the superior court correctly subjected the vexatious litigant to the prefiling requirements of section 391.7. Because subsequent events have rendered effective relief impossible, the petition was dismissed as moot. View "Ogunsalu v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

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Education Code section 17406 authorizes school districts to use lease-leaseback agreements for construction or improvement of school facilities: the school district leases its own real property to a contractor for a nominal amount, and the contractor agrees to construct or improve school facilities on the property and lease the property and improvements back to the district. At the end of the lease-leaseback agreement, title to the project vests in the school district. California Taxpayers Network brought a reverse validation action (Code Civ. Proc. 863), challenging a lease-leaseback agreement between Mount Diablo School District and Taber Construction, alleging that the Education Code requires “genuine lease-leaseback agreements,” which “provide for financing of the school facility project over time,” but defendants’ lease-leaseback contracts were “sham leases”; that the contracts were illegal because a public bidding process is required for school construction projects; and that Taber provided professional preconstruction services to the District regarding the project before entering the lease-leaseback contracts. The court of appeals affirmed dismissal of claims "that attempt to engraft requirements on the transaction" that are not part of the Education Code. The court reversed in part, holding that the plaintiff did state a conflict of interest claim against Taber sufficient to withstand a demurrer. View "California Taxpayers Action Network v. Taber Construction, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the juvenile court's exercise of jurisdiction to hear a petition declaring A.N. a habitual truant under Education Code, 48262, concluding that 26 unexcused absences during the first half of the school year exceeded the four-truancy threshold that vests jurisdiction in the juvenile court. The Court of Appeals held that the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) process is not a prerequisite to juvenile court intervention, explaining that it is one of several parallel tracks that can lead to a habitual truant's adjudication as a ward of the court. Here, neither school officials nor the district attorney short-circuited that process. In the alternative, the Court of Appeals rejected the claim that a fourth truancy report must issue before a juvenile court can assert jurisdiction over a habitual truant. View "In re A.N." on Justia Law

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Substantial evidence supported the trial court’s finding that the "trigger petition" at issue in this case satisfied the parent signature requirement. The petition was submitted pursuant to the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which mandated that states establish accountability systems, requiring that all schools make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP). California later enacted the Parent Empowerment Act of 2010 (the Act) which allowed parents of children in poor-performing schools to trigger a change in the governance of those schools. In early 2015, parents of students enrolled at Palm Lane Elementary School in Anaheim submitted such a petition under the Act to the Anaheim City School District. Petitioners), filed a petition for a writ of mandate against Anaheim City School District and Anaheim City School District Board of Education (together, the District). The petition sought the issuance of a writ commanding the District to accept the trigger petition or provide legally sufficient reasons for rejecting it. Following a six-day bench trial, the court found the District’s reasons for rejecting the trigger petition invalid and granted the petition for a writ of mandate. The Court of Appeal affirmed the district court, finding: (1) the Act applied to Palm Lane Elementary School; (2) substantial evidence supported the trial court's finding that the trigger petition met the requirements under the Act and Regulations section 4804; (3) insufficient evidence showed that the entity called Ed Reform Now constituted an agency or organization that supported the trigger petition through direct financial assistance or in-kind contributions of staff and volunteers, so as to require that its name appear on the front page of the trigger petition within the meaning of Regulations section 4802, subdivision (a)(1) and (10); and (4) Petitioners exhausted their administrative remedies by submitting the trigger petition to the District in January 2015, so they were not required to resubmit a revised petition to the District before seeking writ relief. View "Ochoa v. Anaheim City Sch. Dist." on Justia Law