The California Supreme Court handed down a series of far-reaching decisions in the first half of the year that lawyers say will trigger more challenges to pay-for-delay pharmaceutical patent settlements under state antitrust law, empower cities to impose affordable housing requirements on builders and give state courts greater leeway to reject arbitration awards in employment and consumer disputes.
Here’s a closer look at five significant rulings from the first six months of 2015.
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Facing a barrage of questions he could not answer from his Senate Education Committee colleagues — particularly about the right of California children to attend public schools even if they are unvaccinated — Sen. Richard Pan on Wednesday agreed to delay by one week the committee’s vote on his controversial vaccine legislation.
The unexpected retreat seemed a promising turn of events for hundreds of opponents who again showed up in the Capitol to challenge lawmakers and insist the bill would deprive them of their right to choose not to vaccinate their children. And some believe the delay could imperil the chances of the legislation’s passage.
Pan, a pediatrician, co-authored Senate Bill 277, which would repeal the state’s personal belief exemption and require that only children who have been immunized for diseases such as measles and whooping cough be admitted to a school in California. It would also require schools to notify parents of immunization rates at their children’s schools.
Read article at the San Jose Mercury News.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a decision to dismiss a lawsuit by a farmer that challenged a law banning the inhumane confinement of egg-laying hens.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the 2012 decision by a lower court to throw out the lawsuit by egg farmer William Cramer. Cramer’s lawsuit said the law is unconstitutionally vague.
It’s the third time courts have rejected lawsuits by egg farmers against California’s landmark Proposition 2.
The initiative approved in 2008 bans the inhumane confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding pigs and veal calves in cages so small the animals cannot stretch their limbs, lie down or turn around.
Read article on San Francisco Chronicles
Just days before San Francisco’s “Airbnb law” is scheduled to take effect, a federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a challenge to the law from rival vacation-rental firm HomeAway but left the door open for HomeAway customers to file their own lawsuit.
The ordinance legalizes and regulates vacation-rentals in private homes. HomeAway claimed that it was tailored for Airbnb’s business model and asked for a preliminary injunction to stop it from taking effect Sunday. That implementation date can go forward, the court ruled.
HomeAway’s objections focused on residency and tax requirements.
Most of the 1,200 San Francisco rentals advertised on HomeAway and its subsidiary VRBO are second homes, whose owners live elsewhere and thus don’t meet the permanent residency requirement. And the law said that “hosting platforms” must collect and remit San Francisco’s 14 percent hotel tax. HomeAway argued that it is not a middleman like Airbnb, which handles the entire rental transaction, but merely a marketplace — more like Craigslist or the newspaper classifieds — where homeowners can list the spaces.
Read full article on SFGate
A California ban on foie gras can’t be enforced because it violates U.S. poultry regulations, a federal judge said in a victory for producers of the delicacy made from fattened duck and goose livers.
The ban, which took effect in 2012, was the first by a state to make it illegal to sell foie gras. Animal-rights advocates supported the ban, arguing that force-feeding ducks and geese with a tube inserted in the esophagus to fatten their livers was cruel.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles agreed with American and Canadian producers and a restaurant group suing to overturn the prohibition that the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act preempts California from imposing its own rules on poultry ingredients and sales.
Read the article on Bloomberg.com
Banning leaf blowers? Redefining “milk?” Making living conditions better for hens? In 2015, a number of new state and local laws will go into effect across the country, and you may see some of these changes being made in your area.
Read article on ABC News.
SAN FRANCISCO – California’s attorney general said Thursday she will appeal a federal court ruling that called the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.
The announcement by Attorney General Kamala Harris came after U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney in Los Angeles ruled last month that the state’s death penalty takes too long to carry out, and that the unpredictable delays are arbitrary and unfair. Harris, however, said the amount of time it takes to execute an inmate in California ensures inmates receive due process.
“I am appealing the court’s decision because it is not supported by the law, and it undermines important protections that our courts provide to defendants,” Harris said in a prepared statement. “This flawed ruling requires appellate review.”
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