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Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Brief Review of Cases Involving Cal. Supreme Court Chief Justice Nominee Tani Cantil-Sakauye

On July 21, Governor Schwarzenegger announced his nomination of Third District Court of Appeal Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to succeed Ronald M. George as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. I've found a few interesting cases in which Justice Cantil-Sakauye has been involved.

Justice Cantil-Sakauye concurred in the opinion in McAdams v. Monier (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 174 (2010), in which the Court reversed a trial court order denying class certification in a case under the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA).

The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant failed to disclose that the color composition of its roof tiles would erode away, leaving bare concrete, well before the end of the tiles' represented 50-year lifetime. Following In re Tobacco II Cases (2009) 46 Cal.4th 298, the Court held that an “inference of common reliance” may be applied to a CLRA class that alleges a material misrepresentation consisting of a failure to disclose a particular fact. With regard to the UCL, the Court held: "Since individualized proof of reliance and injury is not required for non-representative class members, the issues of reliance and injury do not foreclose a UCL class action here." Slip op. at 11. My original post on McAdams v. Monier is here.

Justice Cantil-Sakauye also concurred in Stevenson v. California Security Consultants, Inc. (2007) 2007 WL 1556528 (unpublished). The plaintiff filed a complaint against his employer for alleged nonpayment of overtime compensation. The trial court denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the trial court "erred in ruling that there was an insufficient community of interest among the security guards who worked for defendant to warrant class certification."

Justice Cantil-Sakauye authored the opinion in a not-very-exciting arbitration case, Mansouri v. Superior Court (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 633. A homeowners' association filed a petition to compel condominium owner to arbitrate a dispute that arose after the owner remodeled her patio. On a petition for writ of mandate after the trial court ordered arbitration, the Court held:
  1. The applicable statutory provision was statute governing procedure for compelling arbitration;
  2. Appellate court was permitted to review issue of association's failure to plead and prove a prior demand for arbitration under the parties' arbitration agreement and a refusal to arbitrate under the agreement, despite owner's failure to raise the theory in trial court;
  3. A party seeking to compel arbitration is statutorily required to plead and prove a prior demand for arbitration under the parties' arbitration agreement and a refusal to arbitrate under the agreement; and
  4. Association's failure to request arbitration pursuant to arbitration agreement before petitioning to compel arbitration was not waived or excused by owner.

This is not an extensive record, but I hope it sheds some light on Justice Cantil-Sakauye.

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