Monday, August 12, 2013

American Nurses v. Torlakson, S184583

Review: scope of review of the California supreme court: (…), like all questions of law, subject to de novo review.  (See Bruns v. E-Commerce Exchange, Inc. (2011) 51 Cal.4th 717, 724.)  We thus draw freely from the undisputed evidence in setting out the facts of the case before us (Cal. S. Ct., 12.08.2013, American Nurses v. Torlakson, S184583).

Pouvoir d’examen de la Cour Suprême de Californie : toutes les questions de droit sont librement revues (la Cour détermine en priorité l’état de fait sur la base des preuves non contestées par les parties).

Thursday, August 8, 2013

P. v. Martinez, S199495

Plea bargain and deportation (California): Penal Code section 1016.5 requires that before accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to any criminal offense, the trial court must advise the defendant that if he or she is not a United States citizen, conviction of the offense may result in deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States.  (Pen. Code, § 1016.5, subd. (a).)  If the advisement was not given, and the defendant shows that conviction of the offense to which he or she pleaded guilty or nolo contendere may result in adverse immigration consequences, the court, on the defendant’s motion, is required to vacate the judgment and permit the defendant to withdraw his or her plea and enter a plea of not guilty.  (Id., subd. (b).)  Relief will be granted, however, only if the defendant establishes prejudice.  (People v. Superior Court (Zamudio) (2000) 23 Cal.4th 183, 210 (Zamudio).)  As we explained in Zamudio, prejudice is shown if the defendant establishes it was reasonably probable he or she would not have pleaded guilty if properly advised.  (Ibid.)
We granted review to consider whether a court ruling on a motion to vacate pursuant to section 1016.5 may deny relief, for lack of prejudice, if it concludes the defendant would not have obtained a more favorable outcome had he or she chosen not to plead guilty or nolo contendere.  We hold that because the question is what the defendant would have done, relief should be granted if the court, after considering evidence offered by the parties relevant to that question, determines the defendant would have chosen not to plead guilty or nolo contendere, even if the court also finds it not reasonably probable the defendant would thereby have obtained a more favorable outcome. Having so concluded, we also consider whether, as defendant contends, the court ruling on the motion may consider a claim that the defendant would have rejected the existing plea bargain to attempt to negotiate a bargain that would not result in deportation, a denial of naturalization, or exclusion from admission to the United States, or if, as the Attorney General contends, relief is available only if the defendant would have rejected the plea bargain to go to trial.  We hold relief is available if the defendant establishes he or she would have rejected the existing bargain to accept or attempt to negotiate another.
Because the trial court in this case denied relief on the ground there was no reasonable probability defendant would have obtained a more favorable result by rejecting the plea bargain, which is not the test for prejudice, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal affirming the trial court’s order denying relief and direct it to remand the matter to the trial court to conduct further proceedings consistent with our opinion here (Cal. S. Ct., 08.08.2013, P. v. Martinez, S199495).

Peine pénale négociée et expulsion des Etats-Unis : état du droit californien à ce sujet : le Code pénal de l’état prévoit qu’avant que le prévenu n’accepte un plea bargain ou avant qu’il n’accepte de plaider « nolo contendere », il doit être informé par le Tribunal que s’il n’est pas un citoyen des Etats-Unis, un jugement condamnatoire est susceptible d’entraîner une expulsion, une exclusion d’admission sur le territoire U.S., ou un refus de naturalisation. Si ces informations n’ont pas été données et que le condamné parvient à démontrer que le jugement condamnatoire est susceptible de lui porter préjudice au sens de ce qui précède (expulsion, refus d’entrée, refus de naturalisation), le Tribunal doit, à la demande du condamné, annuler le jugement et permettre au prévenu de retirer son plea, tout en l’autorisant à plaider non coupable. Ces remèdes ne seront accordés au condamné que s’il établit un préjudice. Le préjudice est démontré à satisfaction si le condamné peut établir qu’il était raisonnablement probable qu’il n’aurait pas plaidé coupable s’il avait été informé correctement des conséquences.
L’élément décisif pour accorder l’annulation du jugement est de déterminer ce que le condamné aurait fait si les informations précitées lui avaient été données. Il est sans importance que le jugement aurait été le même dans l’hypothèse où le prévenu n’avait pas plaidé coupable.
De même, le jugement doit être annulé si le condamné non informé peut établir que si les informations lui avaient été données, il aurait rejeté l’accord en question pour tenter d’en négocier un autre ou pour en accepter un autre.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rose v. Bank of America, S199074

Competition: California’s unfair competition law: the UCL sets out three different kinds of business acts or practices that may constitute unfair competition:  the unlawful, the unfair, and the fraudulent.  (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200; Cel-Tech Communications, Inc. v. Los Angeles Cellular Telephone Co. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 163, 180 (Cel-Tech).)  Violations of federal statutes, including those governing the financial industry, may serve as the predicate for a UCL cause of action.  (See Smith v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 1463, 1480; Roskind v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 345, 352.)
A UCL action does not “enforce” the law on which a claim of unlawful business practice is based.  “By proscribing ‘any unlawful’ business practice, [Business and Professions Code] ‘section 17200 “borrows” violations of other laws and treats them as unlawful practices’ that the UCL makes independently actionable.”  (Cel-Tech, supra, 20 Cal.4th at p. 180)  In Stop Youth Addiction, Inc. v. Lucky Stores, Inc. (1998) 17 Cal.4th 553, 570 (Stop Youth Addiction), we explained the independent nature of a UCL action.  There the UCL claim was based on alleged violations of Penal Code section 308, which bans the sale of cigarettes to minors.  The defendant contended the suit was barred because Penal Code section 308 and the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act (STAKE Act; Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 22950- 22959) “embodied the Legislature’s intent to create a comprehensive, exclusive scheme for combating the sale of tobacco to minors.”  (Stop Youth Addiction, at p. 560.)  We rejected this argument, and emphasized that the plaintiff was enforcing the UCL, not the statutes underlying their claim of unlawful business practice;
“As we have long recognized, it is in enacting the UCL itself, and not by virtue of particular predicate statutes, that the Legislature has conferred upon private plaintiffs ‘specific power’ (People v. McKale [(1979)] 25 Cal.3d [626,] 633) to prosecute unfair competition claims.”  (Stop Youth Addiction, supra, 17 Cal.4th at p. 562.)  The Attorney General, as amicus curiae, argued that allowing the suit to go forward would “transform the criminal law into a body of civil law giving rise to private causes of action.”  (Id. at p. 566.)  We disagreed.  “Plaintiff does not contend a ‘private right of action’ exists for it (or any other private plaintiff) to proceed under Penal Code section 308.  Plaintiff seeks relief from alleged unfair competition, not to enforce the Penal Code.”  (Stop Youth Addiction, at p. 566.)
Thus, we have made it clear that by borrowing requirements from other statutes, the UCL does not serve as a mere enforcement mechanism.  It provides its own distinct and limited equitable remedies for unlawful business practices, using other laws only to define what is “unlawful.”  (See Korea Supply Co. v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (2003) 29 Cal.4th 1134, 1150 [UCL provides equitable avenue for prevention of unfair business practices, with streamlined procedures and limited remedies].)  The UCL reflects the Legislature’s intent to discourage business practices that confer unfair advantages in the marketplace to the detriment of both consumers and law-abiding competitors.
The UCL, unlike 42 U.S.C. section 1983, is meant to provide remedies cumulative to those established by other laws, absent express provision to the contrary.  (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17205.)  We have long recognized that the existence of a separate statutory enforcement scheme does not preclude a parallel action under the UCL.  (Stop Youth Addiction, supra, 17 Cal.4th at pp. 572-573, citing cases.) (Cal. S. Ct., 01.08.2013, Rose v. Bank of America, S199074).

Concurrence : droit californien de la concurrence déloyale (UCL) : l’UCL prévoit trois types de pratiques commerciales susceptibles de constituer des actes de concurrence déloyale : l’acte illégal, l’acte inéquitable, et l’acte frauduleux. La violation de règles de droit fédéral, incluant les règles relatives à l’industrie des finances, peut servir comme base pour une action fondée sur l’UCL.
Une  action fondée sur l’UCL est indépendante de la cause illicite sur laquelle elle se base, de sorte qu’il n’importe pas que la loi de base dont la violation est alléguée prévoie ou non un droit d’action. L’UCL prévoit des remèdes qui s’ajoutent à d’autres remèdes éventuellement conférés par d’autres lois, sauf dispositions légales contraires expresses.

Zhang v. Super. Ct., S178542

Insurance law: the question is whether insurance practices that violate the UIPA can support a UCL action? This case arises at the intersection of the Unfair Competition Law (UCL; Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.) and the Unfair Insurance Practices Act (UIPA; Ins. Code, § 790 et seq.).  The question is whether insurance practices that violate the UIPA can support a UCL action.  In Moradi-Shalal v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Companies (1988) 46 Cal.3d 287, 304 (Moradi-Shalal) we held that when the Legislature enacted the UIPA, it did not intend to create a private cause of action for commission of the various unfair practices listed in Insurance Code section 790.03, subdivision (h).  In the wake of Moradi-Shalal, a split has developed in the Courts of Appeal regarding the viability of UCL claims based on insurer conduct covered by section 790.03.
We hold that Moradi-Shalal does not preclude first party UCL actions based on grounds independent from section 790.03, even when the insurer’s conduct also violates section 790.03.  We have made it clear that while a plaintiff may not use the UCL to “plead around” an absolute bar to relief, the UIPA does not immunize insurers from UCL liability for conduct that violates other laws in addition to the UIPA.  (Manufacturers Life Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1995) 10 Cal.4th 257, 283-284 (Manufacturers Life); see also Cel-Tech Communications, Inc. v. Los Angeles Cellular Telephone Co. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 163, 182-183 (Cel-Tech); Quelimane Co. v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co. (1998) 19 Cal.4th 26, 43 (Quelimane); Stop Youth Addiction, Inc. v. Lucky Stores, Inc. (1998) 17 Cal.4th 553, 565 (Stop Youth Addiction).)
Here, plaintiff alleges causes of action for false advertising and insurance bad faith, both of which provide grounds for a UCL claim independent from the UIPA.  Allowing her also to sue under the UCL does no harm to the rule established in Moradi-Shalal.  The Moradi-Shalal court made it plain that while violations of section 790.03(h) are themselves not actionable, insureds retain other causes of action against insurers, including common law bad faith claims.  Furthermore, UCL actions by private parties are equitable proceedings, with limited remedies.  They are thus quite distinct from the claims for damages with which Moradi-Shalal was concerned. (A first party claim is one brought by the insured against the insurer.  Claims by injured parties against a liable party’s insurer are third party claims.  (See Zephyr Park v. Superior Court (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 833, 835, fn. 2.)  Our holding here is confined to the first party context.  Third party claims raise distinct analytical and policy issues, which are not involved in this case.  (See Moradi-Shalal, supra, 46 Cal.3d at pp. 301-304.)) (Cal. S.Ct., 01.08.2013, Zhang v. Super. Ct., S178542).

Droit des assurances (application du droit californien) : ce cas concerne la possibilité pour une partie qui s’estime lésée par les pratiques (déloyales) d’une compagnie d’assurance de l’actionner sur la base de la loi relative à la concurrence déloyale, considérant que les pratiques illicites commises par une compagnie d’assurance sont avant tout régies par la loi sur les pratiques d’assurance déloyales, dite loi ne prévoyant pas de droit d’action par un particulier contre les compagnies d’assurance. La réponse est qu’il est possible pour un particulier d’agir contre une compagnie d’assurance sur la base d’autres dispositions légales que la loi sur les pratiques d’assurance ou sur la base de principes découlant de la common law. Cela même si les comportements prohibés par ces autres bases légales sont également prohibés par la loi sur les pratiques d’assurance déloyales. Dans la présente espèce, le demandeur fonde ses prétentions sur des allégations de publicité mensongère et de mauvaise foi. Son droit d’action direct est préservé : ces deux moyens sont prévus par la loi sur la concurrence déloyale indépendamment de la loi sur les pratiques d’assurance. L’action basée sur la mauvaise foi découle en outre de la common law.