Thursday, June 29, 2017

K.R. v. Super. Ct., S231709

Plea agreements: juvenile proceedings: waiver: mandate:

Plea negotiations and agreements are an accepted and integral component of the criminal justice system and essential to the expeditious and fair administration of our courts. Plea agreements benefit that system by promoting speed, economy, and the finality of judgments. (People v. Segura (2008) 44 Cal.4th 921, 929; see People v. Panizzon (1996) 13 Cal.4th 68, 79–80.) The same is true in proceedings involving juvenile offenders. Plea bargaining is a common feature in juvenile delinquency proceedings, just as it is in criminal proceedings in adult court. Similar principles apply in both settings. (In re Ricardo C. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 688, 698; accord, In re Jermaine B. (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 634, 639 [plea bargaining is an accepted practice in juvenile delinquency proceedings].)

A plea agreement is a tripartite agreement which requires the consent of the defendant, the People and the court. Acceptance of the agreement binds the court and the parties to the agreement. (People v. Feyrer (2010) 48 Cal.4th 426, 436–437.) Although a plea agreement does not divest the court of its inherent sentencing discretion, a judge who has accepted a plea bargain is bound to impose a sentence within the limits of that bargain. (People v. Segura, supra, 44 Cal.4th at p. 931.) Should the court consider the plea bargain to be unacceptable, its remedy is to reject it, not to violate it, directly or indirectly. (See People v. Blount (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 992, 997.)

A negotiated plea agreement is a form of contract and is interpreted according to general contract principles. (Doe v. Harris (2013) 57 Cal.4th 64, 69.) When enforcing such an agreement, courts will apply general contract principles to give effect to the mutual intention of the parties. (People v. Shelton (2006) 37 Cal.4th 759, 767.) Not all contract terms, however, are expressly stated in a contract. Experience and practice can, in some circumstances, lead courts to recognize the incorporation of implied terms to a contractual agreement. (Retired Employees Assn. of Orange County, Inc. v. County of Orange (2011) 52 Cal.4th 1171, 1178–1179.)

One such implied term of a plea agreement was recognized in People v. Harvey (1979) 25 Cal.3d 754. In Harvey, the defendant complained the trial court improperly sentenced him to the upper term for robbery by relying on the facts underlying a dismissed count to establish a circumstance in aggravation. We agreed. It would be improper and unfair to permit the sentencing court to consider any of the facts underlying the dismissed count three for purposes of aggravating or enhancing defendant‘s sentence. Count three was dismissed in consideration of defendant‘s agreement to plead guilty to counts one and two. Implicit in such a plea bargain, we think, is the understanding (in the absence of any contrary agreement) that defendant will suffer no adverse sentencing consequences by reason of the facts underlying, and solely pertaining to, the dismissed count. (Id., at p. 758.)

We recognized a different implied term for all plea agreements in Arbuckle, 22 Cal.3d 749, holding that a defendant‘s negotiated plea agreement necessarily included an implied term that the same judge who accepted his plea would preside at sentencing (…) Arbuckle reversed and remanded, explaining that he should be sentenced by the same judge who accepted his plea, or if internal court administrative practices render that impossible, then in the alternative defendant should be permitted to withdraw his plea. (Id. at p. 757.) We later applied the Arbuckle rule to a plea before a commissioner in juvenile court, where the parties impliedly stipulated that the judicial officer could act as a temporary judge. (Mark L., 34 Cal.3d 171.) The rule has since been extended to juvenile proceedings generally. (See In re James H. (1985) 165 Cal.App.3d 911, 917; In re Ray O. (1979) 97 Cal.App.3d 136, 139–140 [whenever a juvenile enters a plea bargain before a judge he has the right to be sentenced by that same judge].)

Even after Arbuckle, however, parties to a plea agreement—i.e., the pleading defendant and the prosecuting attorney—remained free to chart a different course by making explicit on the record that the defendant did not care if the same judge pronounced sentence. To do so, the prosecutor need only secure, at the time the plea is accepted, what has come to be known as an Arbuckle waiver. (See People v. Martinez (2005) 127 Cal.App.4th 1156, 1160).

(…) In sum, because of the plain meaning of the Arbuckle opinion, the contemporaneous understanding of that opinion by the Arbuckle dissenters, the understanding by the intermediate appellate courts and legal commentators in the years immediately following the case, this court‘s citation of Arbuckle with approval in both Mark L., 34 Cal.3d 171, and Rodriguez, 1 Cal.5th 676, and Mark L.‘s failure to question or undermine the basic reasoning of Arbuckle, we reject the appellate court‘s position below that it has been settled law for more than 25 years that an Arbuckle right to be sentenced by the judge who accepted a negotiated plea arises not as a matter of general principle, but only when the specific facts of a given case show that the plea was given in expectation of and in reliance upon sentence being imposed by the same judge. Instead, we adhere to the plain and original understanding of Arbuckle that in every plea in both adult and juvenile court, an implied term is that the judge who accepts the plea will be the judge who pronounces sentence. Should the People wish to allow a different judge to preside at sentencing (or, in juvenile cases, disposition), they should seek to obtain a waiver from the pleading defendant or juvenile.

(…) As a rule, trial courts accepting a plea always retain discretion over sentencing. Should the court later decide not to impose the negotiated sentence, the court can withdraw its prior approval of the bargain and allow the pleading defendant (or juvenile) to withdraw his or her plea.

(…) Conclusion: The judgment of the Court of Appeal denying K.R.‘s petition for writ of mandate is reversed, and the cause remanded with directions to grant the petition.

Secondary sources: Erwin et al., California Criminal Defense Practice (2016) Arraignment and Pleas, chapter 42.44[1], pages 42-154.8(5) to 42-154.9; California Criminal Law: Procedure and Practice (Cont. Ed. Bar 2015) Pronouncing Judgment, section 35.11, page 1028; Levenson, Cal. Criminal Procedure (2002–2003) Plea Bargaining, ¶ 14:17, p. 598; Witkin, Cal. Criminal Procedure (1985 Supp.) Proceedings Before Trial, § 265-O, p. 335 quoting Arbuckle; Seiser & Kumli, Cal. Juvenile Courts Practice and Procedure (1997) Delinquency, § 3.92[1], p. 3–94.

(Cal.S.C., June 29, 2017, K.R. v. Super. Ct., S231709, Diss. Op. by C.J. Cantil-Sakauye, J. Chin and J. Corrigan concur. with the dissent).

Plea agreement en droit pénal des adultes et des mineurs : les mêmes principes s'appliquent dans les deux cas.

Le plea agreement est un accord tripartite, qui lie le prévenu, l'accusation et le tribunal. Si un tel accord est soumis au tribunal et que celui-ci le trouve inacceptable, il devra le rejeter. Il ne pourra s'en distancer s'il l'a accepté (cf. toutefois ci-dessous in fine).

Le plea est négocié, il constitue une forme de contrat et il est interprété selon le droit général des contrats. Le cas échéant, le tribunal peut accepter l'incorporation de termes implicites dans l'accord.

La Cour a reconnu du contenu implicite dans le plea suivant : le prévenu avait plaidé coupable s'agissant des préventions une et deux. De la sorte, la prévention numéro trois avait été abandonnée. Le plea était ainsi entré en force. A la phase de fixation de la peine, le tribunal avait prononcé une aggravation de peine en se fondant sur des faits à la base de la seule prévention numéro trois. La Cour suprême, saisie, jugea que le plea contenait implicitement la notion selon laquelle le condamné ne souffrira nul préjudice des faits à la base de la seule prévention numéro trois (cf. People v. Harvey (1979) 25 Cal.3d 754).

La jurisprudence Arbuckle (22 Cal.3d 749) a en outre précisé que tous les plea agreements contenaient de manière implicite l'exigence que le juge qui a accepté le plea sera le juge qui présidera la phase de la procédure de fixation de la peine. Si les règles internes du tribunal ne permettent pas une telle organisation, l'accusé doit être autorisé à retirer son plea.

L'accusé peut renoncer à son droit à ce que le juge du plea soit le juge du prononcé de la peine. Dite renonciation doit être explicite et contemporaine au plea (Arbuckle waiver).

La présente espèce confirme que tous les plea, en droit pénal des adultes comme des mineurs, contiennent une clause implicite prévoyant l'identité du juge du plea et du juge du prononcé de la peine. Il est inexact de prétendre que cette clause n'est à retenir que si les faits de la cause démontrent que le plea a été conclu en considération de dite identité des deux juges.

Nonobstant ce qui précède, la cour pénale qui accepte un plea conserve ultérieurement son pouvoir d'appréciation de la peine à prononcer. Si la cour décide finalement de ne pas imposer la peine convenue, la cour peut retirer son approbation et permettre à l'accusé de retirer son plea.

Monday, June 26, 2017

P. v. Super. Ct., S232639

Common law v. statute:

(…) The general rule that we do not presume the Legislature intends to abrogate the common law unless it clearly and unequivocally says so. (Reynolds v. Bement (2005) 36 Cal.4th 1075 (Reynolds)). Reynolds, supra, 36 Cal.4th at p. 1086.) The Reynolds rule therefore applies when the common law test of employment would have been appropriate in the same context at common law. But as we explained in S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations (1989) 48 Cal.3d 341, the common law test of employment is not always appropriate beyond the tort context in which it was originally developed. (Id. at pp. 350–351.) Outside of tort, rather than rigidly applying the common law test, we look to the history and fundamental purposes of the statute at issue to determine whether the Legislature intended the test to apply. (Ibid. [declining to apply the common law test in light of the history and purposes of the workers‘ compensation statute at issue]; Martinez v. Combs (2010) 49 Cal.4th 35, 64 [declining to apply the common law test in light of the full historical and statutory context of the statute at issue].) In Reynolds itself, we observed that the plaintiff in that case had not persuaded us that one may infer from the history and purposes of the statute at issue a clear legislative intent to depart . . . from the common law as to the question at issue. (Reynolds, at p. 1087, fn. 8.)

The rule of the common law, that penal statutes are to be strictly construed, has no application to this Code. All its provisions are to be construed according to the fair import of their terms, with a view to effect its objects and to promote justice.

(Cal. S.C., June 26, 2017, P. v. Super. Ct., S232639).

En règle générale, les Tribunaux de l'état de Californie présument que le législatif entend maintenir la Common law quand il légifère, sauf s'il indique clairement et sans équivoque vouloir l'abroger. Les travaux législatifs, l'analyse systématique et l'analyse téléologique sont d'importance.

California Public Employees' Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc., Docket 16-373

Repose: Statute of repose: Statute of limitations: Tolling: Equitable tolling: Common law: Dismissal: Class action:

The Securities Act of 1933 “protects investors by ensur­ing that companies issuing securities . . . make a ‘full and fair disclosure of information’ relevant to a public offer­ing.” Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers Dist. Council Constr. Industry Pension Fund, 575 U. S. ___, ___ (2015) (slip op., at 1) (quoting Pinter v. Dahl, 486 U. S. 622, 646 (1988)); see 48 Stat. 74, as amended, 15 U. S. C. §77a et seq. Com­panies may offer securities to the public only after filing a registration statement, which must contain information about the company and the security for sale. Omnicare, 575 U. S., at ___–___ (slip op., at 1–2). Section 11 of the Securities Act “promotes compliance with these disclosure provisions by giving purchasers a right of action against an issuer or designated individuals,” including securities underwriters, for any material misstatements or omis­sions in a registration statement. Id., at ___ (slip op., at 2); see 15 U. S. C. §77k(a).

The Act provides time limits for §11 suits. These time limits are set forth in a two-sentence section of the Act, §13. It provides as follows:

“No action shall be maintained to enforce any liability created under [§11] unless brought within one year af­ter the discovery of the untrue statement or the omis­sion, or after such discovery should have been made by the exercise of reasonable diligence . . . . In no event shall any such action be brought to enforce a li­ability created under [§11] more than three years after the security was bona fide offered to the public . . . .” 15 U. S. C. §77m.

So there are two time bars in the quoted provision; and the second one, the 3-year bar, is central to this case.

The question then is whether §13 permits the filing of an individual complaint more than three years after the relevant securities offering, when a class-action complaint was timely filed, and the plaintiff filing the individual complaint would have been a member of the class but for opting out of it. The answer turns on the nature and purpose of the 3-year bar and of the tolling rule that peti­tioner seeks to invoke.

As the Court explained in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, 573 U. S. ___ (2014), statutory time bars can be divided into two categories: statutes of limitations and statutes of repose. Both “are mechanisms used to limit the temporal extent or duration of liability for tortious acts,” but “each has a distinct purpose.” Id., at ___–___ (slip op., at 5–6).
Statutes of limitations are designed to encourage plain­tiffs “to pursue diligent prosecution of known claims.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 6). In accord with that objective, limitations periods begin to run “when the cause of action accrues”—that is, “when the plaintiff can file suit and obtain relief.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 5). In a personal-injury or property-damage action, for example, more often than not this will be “‘when the injury occurred or was discovered.’” Ibid.

In contrast, statutes of repose are enacted to give more explicit and certain protection to defendants. These stat­utes “effect a legislative judgment that a defendant should be free from liability after the legislatively determined period of time.” Id., at ___–___ (slip op., at 6–7). For this reason, statutes of repose begin to run on “the date of the last culpable act or omission of the defendant.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 6).

The 3-year time bar in §13 reflects the legislative objec­tive to give a defendant a complete defense to any suit after a certain period. From the structure of §13, and the language of its second sentence, it is evident that the 3 ­year bar is a statute of repose. In fact, this Court has already described the provision as establishing “a period of repose,” which “‘imposes an outside limit’” on temporal liability. Lampf, Pleva, Lipkind, Prupis & Petigrow v. Gilbertson, 501 U. S. 350, 363 (1991).

(…) Confirmed by the two-sentence structure of §13. In addition to the 3-year time bar, §13 contains a 1­ year statute of limitations. The limitations statute runs from the time when the plaintiff discovers (or should have discovered) the securities-law violation. The pairing of a shorter statute of limitations and a longer statute of re­pose is a common feature of statutory time limits. See, e.g., Gabelli v. SEC, 568 U. S. 442, 453 (2013) (“Statutes applying a discovery rule . . . often couple that rule with an absolute provision for repose”). The two periods work together: The discovery rule gives leeway to a plaintiff who has not yet learned of a violation, while the rule of repose protects the defendant from an interminable threat of liability. Cf. Merck & Co. v. Reynolds, 559 U. S. 633, 650 (2010) (reasoning that 2-year discovery rule would not “subject defendants to liability for acts taken long ago,” because the statute also included an “unqualified bar on actions instituted ‘5 years after such violation’”).

The determination that the 3-year period is a statute of repose is critical in this case, for the question whether a tolling rule applies to a given statutory time bar is one “of statutory intent.” Lozano v. Montoya Alvarez, 572 U. S. 1, ___ (2014) (slip op., at 8). The purpose of a statute of repose is to create “an absolute bar on a defendant’s tem­poral liability,” CTS, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 6); and that purpose informs the assessment of whether, and when, tolling rules may apply.

In light of the purpose of a statute of repose, the provi­sion is in general not subject to tolling. Tolling is permis­sible only where there is a particular indication that the legislature did not intend the statute to provide complete repose but instead anticipated the extension of the statu­tory period under certain circumstances.

For example, if the statute of repose itself contains an express exception, this demonstrates the requisite intent to alter the operation of the statutory period. See 1 C. Corman, Limitation of Actions §1.1, pp. 4–5 (1991) (Corman); see, e.g., 29 U. S. C. §1113 (establishing a 6-year statute of repose, but stipulating that, in case of fraud, the 6-year period runs from the plaintiff ’s discovery of the violation). In contrast, where the legislature enacts a general tolling rule in a different part of the code—e.g., a rule that suspends time limits until the plaintiff reaches the age of majority—courts must analyze the nature and relation of the legislative purpose of each provision to determine which controls. See 2 Corman §10.2.1, at 108.

Of course, not all tolling rules derive from legislative enactments. Some derive from the traditional power of the courts to “‘apply the principles . . . of equity jurispru­dence.’” Young v. United States, 535 U. S. 43, 50 (2002). The classic example is the doctrine of equitable tolling, which permits a court to pause a statutory time limit “when a litigant has pursued his rights diligently but some extraordinary circumstance prevents him from bringing a timely action.” Lozano, 572 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 7). Tolling rules of that kind often apply to statutes of limitations based on the presumption that Congress “‘legislates against a background of common-law adjudicatory principles.’” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 8).

The purpose and effect of a statute of repose, by con­trast, is to override customary tolling rules arising from the equitable powers of courts. By establishing a fixed limit, a statute of repose implements a “‘legislative deci­sion that as a matter of policy there should be a specific time beyond which a defendant should no longer be sub­jected to protracted liability.’” CTS, 573 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 7). The unqualified nature of that determination supersedes the courts’ residual authority and forecloses the extension of the statutory period based on equitable principles. For this reason, the Court repeatedly has stated in broad terms that statutes of repose are not sub­ject to equitable tolling. See, e.g., id., at ___–___ (slip op., at 7–8); Lampf, Pleva, 501 U. S., at 363.

Petitioner makes an alternative argument that does not depend on tolling. Petitioner submits its individual suit was timely in any event. Section 13 provides that an “action” must be “brought” within three years of the rele­vant securities offering. See 15 U. S. C. §77m. Petitioner argues that requirement is met here because the filing of the class-action complaint “brought” petitioner’s individual “action” within the statutory time period. This argument rests on the premise that an “action” is “brought” when substantive claims are presented to any court, rather than when a particular complaint is filed in a particular court. The term “action,” however, refers to a judicial “proceeding,” or perhaps to a “suit”—not to the general content of claims. See Black’s Law Dictionary 41 (3d ed. 1933) (defining “action” as, inter alia, “an ordinary proceeding in a court of justice”); see also id., at 43 (“The terms ‘action’ and ‘suit’ are . . . nearly, if not entirely, synonymous”). Whether or not petitioner’s individual complaint alleged the same securities law violations as the class-action complaint, it defies ordinary understanding to suggest that its filing—in a separate forum, on a separate date, by a separate named party—was the same “action,” “proceeding,” or “suit.”
The limitless nature of petitioner’s argument, further­more, reveals its implausibility. It appears that, in peti­tioner’s view, the bringing of the class action would make any subsequent action raising the same claims timely. Taken to its logical limit, an individual action would be timely even if it were filed decades after the original secu­rities offering—provided a class-action complaint had been filed at some point within the initial 3-year period. Con­gress would not have intended this result.

Secondary authorities: C. Corman, Limitation of Actions §1.1, pp. 4–5 (1991); Black’s Law Dictionary 41 (3d ed. 1933).

(U.S.S.C., June 26, 2017, California Public Employees' Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc., Docket 16-373, J. Kennedy).

Péremption et prescription, suspension d'un délai :

L'émetteur de papiers-valeurs engage sa responsabilité pour ses déclarations inexactes ou pour ses omissions, au sens de la Section 11 du Securities Act de 1933.

Les délais sont régis par la Section 13 : un délai d'une année pour ouvrir action, à partir de la connaissance de la déclaration inexacte ou de l'omission, ou à partir du jour où dite connaissance aurait dû raisonnablement survenir. En aucun cas l'action ne peut-elle être déposée plus de trois ans après la mise à disposition publique, de bonne foi, des papiers-valeurs.

La question est de savoir si le second de ces deux délais est de péremption, et s'il peut être judiciairement suspendu en équité.

Dans la présente affaire, un demandeur était partie à une action de classe déposée dans le délai d'un an. Par la suite, dit demandeur s'est retiré de la procédure et a ouvert action individuellement, mais hors du délai de trois ans précité.

Les délais de prescription visent à encourager les demandeurs à agir de manière diligente dans un certain délai. De la sorte, le dies a quo par exemple en matière de dommage corporel ou matériel est le plus souvent le jour de la survenance du préjudice, ou le jour de la connaissance par la victime de son préjudice.

Par contraste, les délais de péremption visent la protection des défendeurs. Ils sont le résultat de la réflexion du législateur portant sur la période de temps après laquelle un défendeur échappe à toute responsabilité. De la sorte, le dies a quo de ces délais est le jour du dernier acte ou omission illicite du défendeur.

Le délai de trois ans de la Section 13, de par la structure et le texte de dite loi (cf. sa seconde phrase ci-dessus), reflète l'intention du législateur d'immuniser le défendeur de toute responsabilité après complet écoulement. Il s'agit ici d'un délai de péremption.

La structure de la loi – un délai de prescription plus court suivi d'un délai de péremption plus long – est typique s'agissant de l'ordonnancement des deux types de délai.

Seuls les délais de prescription peuvent être suspendus, notamment par le Juge statuant en équité (cependant, l'intention du législateur est décisive à cet égard, de sorte que le législateur peut prévoir un délai de péremption susceptible d'être suspendu, à des conditions bien définies).

Par exemple, si le délai de péremption tel que stipulé prévoit lui-même une exception expresse, l'intention du législateur est claire.

Toutes les règles régissant la suspension d'un délai ne dérivent pas d'une décision du législateur. Certaines de ces règles proviennent de la compétence traditionnelle des Tribunaux d'appliquer les principes jurisprudentiels de l'"equity". L'exemple classique est la doctrine de la suspension équitable, qui permet à un Tribunal de suspendre un délai quand une partie a procédé avec diligence, mais qu'une circonstance extraordinaire l'a empêchée d'agir judiciairement dans le délai. Ce type de règle est basé sur la présomption que le Congrès légifère en conformité avec la jurisprudence découlant de la Common law.

Par contraste, le but et l'effet d'un délai de péremption est de se substituer aux règles habituelles de suspension des délais établies par la jurisprudence statuant en équité. En établissant un tel délai de péremption, le législateur estime d'intérêt public de fixer une limite au-delà de laquelle la responsabilité du défendeur ne peut plus être engagée.

De manière alternative, le recourant soutient que dans la mesure où sa participation à l'action de classe est intervenue pendant le délai de 3 ans, son action individuelle, déposée après l'échéance de ce délai, ne serait pas tardive. C'est à tort. Les deux actions, déposées auprès de Tribunaux différents, à des dates différentes, par des parties nommées différemment, doivent être considérées comme deux actions différentes. Considérer ces deux actions comme équivalentes reviendrait à juger recevable le dépôt d'une action individuelle des dizaines d'années après le dépôt de l'action de classe, dans l'hypothèse où cette dernière aurait été déposée dans le délai de trois ans. Le Congrès n'a jamais prévu un tel résultat.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Bd., docket 16-399, J. Gorsuch, dissenting

Stare decisis:

(…) This Court has long made clear that where, as here, we have not “squarely addressed an issue, and have at most assumed one side of it to be cor­rect, we are free to address the issue on the merits.” Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U. S. 619, 631 (1993); see also Legal Services Corporation v. Valazquez, 531 U. S. 533, 537 (2001) (Scalia, J., dissenting) (“Judicial decisions do not stand as binding ‘precedent’ for points that were not raised, not argued, and hence not analyzed”).

(U.S.S.C., June 23, 2017, Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Bd., docket 16-399, J. Gorsuch, dissenting).

A titre de rappel : la question litigieuse, résolue judiciairement, doit avoir été pleinement débattue et par les parties et par la cour pour valoir précédent.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., San Francisco Cty., Docket 16-466

Jurisdiction (personal): Standing: Class action: Res judicata:

The Court held that the defendant had standing to argue that the Kansas court had improperly exercised personal jurisdiction over the claims of the out-of-state class members because that holding materially affected the defendant’s own interests, specifically, the res judicata effect of an adverse judgment. Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Shutts, 472 U. S. 797, 803-806 (1985).

(U.S.S.C., June 19, 2017, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., San Francisco Cty., Docket 16-466, J. Alito (only J. Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion)).

Un défendeur qui fait face à plusieurs demandeurs, certains hors de l'état du for, est recevable à contester ("standing" – injury in fact, causation, redressability) la compétence de la cour pour connaître des prétentions des demandeurs hors de l'état du for. En effet, reconnaître la compétence pour connaître de ces prétentions est susceptible d'affecter les intérêts du défendeur, découlant en particulier de l'effet de chose jugée d'un jugement qui lui serait défavorable.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., San Francisco Cty., Docket 16-466

Specific Jurisdiction: Due Process Clause: Fourteenth Amendment: Fifth Amendment: Federalism:

Reverses and remands 1Cal. 5th 783, 377 P. 3d 874 (S221038, August 29, 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of San Francisco County).

(…) We granted certiorari to decide whether the California courts’ exercise of jurisdiction in this case violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 580 U. S. ___ (2017).

(California law provides that its courts may exercise jurisdiction “on any basis not inconsistent with the Constitution . . . of the United States,” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code Ann. §410.10 (West 2004)).

(…) Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, which “limits the power of a state court to render a valid personal judgment against a nonresident defendant,” World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U. S. 286, 291 (1980).

(…) The Due Process Clause, acting as an instrument of interstate federalism.

Our settled principles regarding specific jurisdiction control this case. In order for a court to exercise specific jurisdiction over a claim, there must be an “affiliation between the forum and the underlying controversy, prin­cipally, an activity or an occurrence that takes place in the forum State.” Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S. A. v. Brown, 564 U. S. 915, 919 (2011).

(…) Even regu­larly occurring sales of a product in a State do not justify the exercise of jurisdiction over a claim unrelated to those sales.

(…) What is needed—and what is missing here—is a connection between the forum and the specific claims at issue.

(…) Walden, 571 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 8): In that case, Nevada plaintiffs sued an out-of-state defendant for conducting an allegedly unlawful search of the plaintiffs while they were in Georgia preparing to board a plane bound for Nevada. We held that the Nevada courts lacked specific jurisdiction even though the plain­tiffs were Nevada residents and “suffered foreseeable harm in Nevada.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 11). Because the “relevant conduct occurred entirely in Georgia . . . the mere fact that this conduct affected plaintiffs with con­nections to the forum State did not suffice to authorize jurisdiction.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 14).

In today’s case, the connection between the nonresi­dents’ claims and the forum is even weaker. The relevant plaintiffs are not California residents and do not claim to have suffered harm in that State. In addition, as in Wal­den, all the conduct giving rise to the nonresidents’ claims occurred elsewhere. It follows that the California courts cannot claim specific jurisdiction.

(…) (Keeton held that there was jurisdiction in New Hampshire to consider the full measure of the plaintiff ’s claim, but whether she could actually recover out-of-state damages was a merits question governed by New Hampshire libel law).

(Rush v. Savchuk, 444 U. S. 320, 332 (1980); see Walden, 571 U. S., at ___ (slip op, at 8) (“A defendant’s relationship with a . . . third party, standing alone, is an insufficient basis for jurisdiction”)).

(…) In addition, since our decision concerns the due process limits on the exer­cise of specific jurisdiction by a State, we leave open the question whether the Fifth Amendment imposes the same restrictions on the exercise of personal jurisdiction by a federal court. See Omni Capital Int’l, Ltd. v. Rudolf Wolff & Co., 484 U. S. 97, 102, n. 5 (1987).

(U.S.S.C., June 19, 2017, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., San Francisco Cty., Docket 16-466, J. Alito (only J. Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion)).

Notion de "specific jurisdiction", telle que limitée par la Clause "Due Process" du Quatorzième Amendement, en cas de procédure devant le Tribunal d'un état, impliquant plusieurs demandeurs, certains domiciliés hors de l'état du for.

La Cour rappelle sa jurisprudence : un Tribunal est compétent s'il existe un lien entre le for et la prétention déduite en justice, par exemple suite à une activité ou à un événement qui s'est produit dans l'état du for. (En l'espèce, action de classe en Californie contre un fabricant de médicament. Les demandeurs californiens peuvent invoquer un dommage subi en Californie, suite à un achat du produit en Californie. Ces éléments ne peuvent pas être invoqués par les demandeurs domiciliés dans un autre état).

Des ventes régulières dans un état ne suffisent pas à fonder la compétence des Tribunaux de cet état si la prétention n'est pas liée aux ventes.

Dans une décision Walden, des demandeurs domiciliés au Nevada avaient agi devant le Tribunal du Nevada contre un défendeur domicilié en Géorgie. Les prétentions en dommages-intérêts découlaient d'une fouille prétendument illégale subie en Géorgie juste avant d'embarquer un vol à destination du Nevada. La Cour a jugé que les Tribunaux du Nevada n'étaient pas compétents (absence de "specific jurisdiction"), même si les demandeurs étaient résidents du Nevada et même s'ils subissaient un dommage dans cet état. La conduite relevante s'était en effet produite entièrement en Géorgie.

En l'espèce, la connexion entre les prétentions des demandeurs hors de l'état du for et le for lui-même est encore plus ténue que dans Walden. Ces demandeurs ne résident pas en Californie et n'ont pas subi de dommage dans cet état. En outre, comme dans Walden, la conduite à la base des prétentions s'est entièrement déroulée hors de l'état du for. Dès lors, les cours californiennes ne sont pas compétentes au sens de la "specific jurisdiction".

(Si la compétence est admise s'agissant de prétentions de parties demanderesses domiciliées hors de l'état du for, la question de savoir si ces demanderesses peuvent récupérer la totalité de leur préjudice subi hors de cet état est une question qui se juge à la lumière du droit de l'état du for, cf. décision Keeton).

(Les relations du défendeur avec un tiers, domicilié, lui, dans l'état du for, sont insuffisantes à conférer compétence spécifique).

La Cour laisse ouverte la question de savoir si le Cinquième Amendement impose à la compétence d'une cour fédérale les mêmes limites que celles décrites ci-dessus, qui ne concernent que la compétence spécifique des cours d'un état sous l'angle du Quatorzième Amendement.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ryan v. Rosenfeld, S232582

Appeal: Dismissal: Motion to vacate: Postjudgment orders:

Is the denial of a motion to vacate the judgment under Code of Civil Procedure section 663 separately appealable?

Section 663 of the Code of Civil Procedure allows an aggrieved party in a civil case to move the trial court to vacate its final judgment. The question in this case is whether an order denying one of those motions is appealable even if it raises issues that could have been litigated via an appeal of the judgment. We answered yes to this question over a century ago. (See Bond v. United Railroads (1911) 159 Cal. 270, 273 (Bond).) Bond held that the statute authorizing appeals of postjudgment orders covered denials of section 663 motions.

The current version of that statute allows for the appeal of an order made after an appealable judgment. (Code Civ. Proc., § 904.1, subd. (a)(2).)

Orders denying motions to vacate under section 663 fit that description, and this court has always interpreted the language currently found in section 904.1, subdivision (a)(2), to make appealable all section 663 denials. The Legislature has done nothing to undermine or overturn that interpretation despite enacting over a dozen other changes to this very statutory scheme. So the rule announced in Bond remains valid.

(Here Ryan later filed a notice of appeal for both the order dismissing the case and the order denying his motion to vacate the judgment).

(Rosenfeld has argued in this court that Ryan‘s motion to vacate was improper because the motion did not seek entry of a judgment different from the one that was entered. We do not address this question, which may bear on whether Ryan filed a proper section 663 motion. The Court of Appeal may address the question on remand – fn. 1).

Secondary sources: Witkin, Cal. Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Appeal, § 200, p. 277; Eisenberg et al., Cal. Practice Guide: Civil Appeals and Writs (2014), p. 2-123.

(Cal.S.C. June 15, 2017, Ryan v. Rosenfeld, S232582).

Un jugement civil est entré en force, puis la partie perdante demande son annulation, par exemple par le biais d'une "motion to vacate" (Section 663 du Code californien de procédure civile). Si le Juge rejette dite motion, un appel peut-il être déposé (au sens de la Section 904.1, subd. (a)(2) du Code) ? La réponse est affirmative, même si les arguments à l'appui de l'appel auraient pu être plaidés dans le cadre d'un appel contre le premier jugement, entré en force. Plus généralement, tous les rejets de requêtes selon la Section 663 peuvent faire l'objet d'un appel.

Tel en a décidé la Cour Suprême de Californie dans une décision de 1911 déjà, confirmée ici, et qui n'a pas été modifiée à ce jour. Le législateur n'est pour sa part pas intervenu à cet égard.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Docket 16-349

Debt collection:

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: who exactly qualifies as a “debt collector” subject to the Act’s rigors?
1 ) someone hired by a creditor to collect an outstanding debt.
2 ) But what if you purchase a debt and then try to collect it for yourself—does that make you a “debt collector” too? The answer is no.

(…) Statutory language defining the term “debt collector”: anyone who “regularly collects or attempts to collect . . . debts owed or due . . . another.” 15 U. S. C. §1692a(6).

In the very definitional section where we now find ourselves working, Congress expressly differentiated between a person “who offers” credit (the originator) and a person “to whom a debt is owed” (the present debt owner). §1692a(4). Elsewhere, Congress recognized the distinction between a debt “origi­nated by” the collector and a debt “owed or due” another. §1692a(6)(F)(ii). And elsewhere still, Congress drew a line between the “original” and “current” creditor. §1692g(a)(5). Yet no similar distinction can be found in the language now before us. To the contrary, the statutory text at issue speaks not at all about originators and cur­rent debt owners but only about whether the defendant seeks to collect on behalf of itself or “another.” And, usually at least, when we’re engaged in the business of interpret­ing statutes we presume differences in language like this convey differences in meaning. See, e.g., Loughrin v. United States, 573 U. S. ___, ___ (2014).

(U.S.S.C., June 12, 2017, Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Docket 16-349, J Gorsuch, unanimous).

Recouvrement de créances. La loi fédérale sur le recouvrement équitable des créances, qui prévoit des pénalités sévères à l'encontre de celui qui ne s'y conforme pas, s'applique à celui qui recouvre pour un tiers, mais pas à celui qui recouvre pour lui-même ni à celui qui recouvre pour lui-même une créance acquise d'un tiers créancier.

La présente décision est la première rendue par le Juge Gorsuch.

Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Docket 16-349

Possession (definition):

As a matter of ordinary English, the word “obtained” can (and often does) refer to taking possession of a piece of property without also tak­ing ownership—so, for example, you might obtain a rental car or a hotel room or an apartment. See, e.g., Oxford English Dictionary 669 (2d ed. 1989) (defining “obtain” to mean, among other things, “to come into the possession or enjoyment of (something) by one’s own effort or by request”); Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 568 U. S. 519, 532–533 (2013) (distinguishing between ownership and obtaining possession).

(U.S.S.C., June 12, 2017, Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Docket 16-349, J Gorsuch, unanimous).

Une définition de la notion de possession ("possession") au regard de la définition de la notion de propriété ("ownership").

Microsoft Corp. v. Baker, Docket 15-457

Class action: Class certification: Dismissal: Appeal: Art. III: (this is the concur. opinion).

The plaintiffs in this case, respondents here, sued Mi­crosoft, petitioner here, to recover damages after they purchased allegedly faulty video game consoles that Mi­crosoft manufactured. The plaintiffs brought claims for themselves (individual claims) and on behalf of a putative class of similarly situated consumers (class allegations). Early in the litigation, the District Court granted Mi­crosoft’s motion to strike the class allegations, effectively declining to certify the class. The Court of Appeals denied permission to appeal that decision under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f), which requires a party to obtain permission from the court of appeals before appealing a decision regarding class certification.

The plaintiffs decided not to pursue their individual claims, instead stipulating to a voluntary dismissal of those claims with prejudice. They then filed a notice of appeal from the voluntary dismissal order. On appeal, they did not ask the Court of Appeals to reverse the Dis­trict Court’s dismissal of their individual claims. They instead asked the Court of Appeals to reverse the order striking their class allegations. The question presented in this case is whether the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction to hear the appeal under both §1291, which grants appel­late jurisdiction to the courts of appeals over “final deci­sions” by district courts, and under Article III of the Con­stitution, which limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to “cases” and “controversies.”

The Court today holds that the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction under §1291 because the voluntary dismissal with prejudice did not result in a “final decision.” I disagree with that holding. A decision is “final” for purposes of §1291 if it “ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment.” Catlin v. United States, 324 U. S. 229, 233 (1945). The order here dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice and left nothing for the District Court to do but execute the judgment. See App. to Pet. for Cert. 39a (“directing the Clerk to enter Judgment . . . and close the case”).

I agree that the plaintiffs could not appeal in these circum­stances. In my view, they could not appeal because the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction under Article III of the Constitution. The “judicial Power” of the United States extends only to “Cases” and “Controversies.” Art. III, §2. This requirement limits the jurisdiction of the federal courts to issues presented “in an adversary con­text,” Flast v. Cohen, 392 U. S. 83, 95 (1968), in which the parties maintain an “actual” and “concrete” interest, Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 577 U. S. ___, ___ (2016) (slip op., at 6). Put another way, “Article III denies federal courts the power to decide questions that cannot affect the rights of litigants in the case before them, and confines them to resolving real and substantial controversies admitting of specific relief through a decree of a conclusive character.” Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U. S. 472, 477 (1990).

The plaintiffs’ appeal from their voluntary dismissal did not satisfy this jurisdictional requirement. When the plaintiffs asked the District Court to dismiss their claims, they consented to the judgment against them and disavowed any right to relief from Microsoft. The parties thus were no longer adverse to each other on any claims, and the Court of Appeals could not “affect their rights” in any legally cognizable manner. Indeed, it has long been the rule that a party may not appeal from the voluntary dismissal of a claim, since the party consented to the judgment against it. See, e.g., Evans v. Phillips, 4 Wheat. 73 (1819); Lord v. Veazie, 8 How. 251, 255–256 (1850); United States v. Babbitt, 104 U. S. 767 (1882); Deakins v. Monaghan, 484 U. S. 193, 199–200 (1988).

The plaintiffs contend that their interest in reversing the order striking their class allegations is sufficient to satisfy Article III’s case-or-controversy requirement, but they misunderstand the status of putative class actions. Class allegations, without an underlying individual claim, do not give rise to a “case” or “controversy.” Those allega­tions are simply the means of invoking a procedural mechanism that enables a plaintiff to litigate his individ­ual claims on behalf of a class. See Shady Grove Orthope­dic Associates, P. A. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 559 U. S. 393, 408 (2010) (plurality opinion). Thus, because the Court of Appeals lacked Article III jurisdiction to adjudicate the individual claims, it could not hear the plaintiffs’ appeal of the order striking their class allegations.

Plaintiffs’ representation that they hope to “revive their individual claims should they prevail” on the appeal of the order striking their class allegations does not under­mine this conclusion. This Court has interpreted Article III “to demand that an ac­tual controversy be extant at all stages of review, not merely at the time the complaint is filed.” Campbell Ewald Co., supra, at ___ (slip op., at 6). And in any event, a favorable ruling on class certification would not “revive” their individual claims: A court’s decision about class allegations “in no way touches the merits” of those claims. Gardner v. Westinghouse Broadcasting Co., 437 U. S. 478, 482 (1978).

(U.S.S.C., June 12, 2017, Microsoft Corp. v. Baker, Docket 15-457, J. Thomas, with whom the C.J. and J. Alito join, concurring in the judgment).

L'opinion concurrente rendue par le Juge Thomas est d'intérêt :

Les demandeurs ont agi pour eux-mêmes et pour la classe formée des consommateurs dans la même situation qu'eux. En début de procédure, la cour de district fédérale, saisie d'une motion de la défenderesse, a refusé de certifier la classe. Saisie à son tour, la cour d'appel fédérale n'a pas autorisé le dépôt d'un appel, en application de la Règle 23(f) des Règles fédérales de procédure civile.

Les demandeurs ont alors décidé de ne pas poursuivre la procédure portant sur leurs prétentions individuelles, en notifiant une annulation volontaire de ces prétentions, "avec préjudice". Ils ont ensuite déposé un appel contre l'ordonnance d'annulation de la procédure. Ils n'ont pas demandé à la cour d'appel de renverser dite annulation de la procédure : ils ont demandé à dite cour de renverser l'ordonnance par laquelle la certification de classe était refusée. La question posée en l'espèce est dès lors celle de savoir si la cour d'appel fédérale est compétente pour connaître d'un appel sous l'angle de la Section 1291 (qui lui confère compétence dans les procédures contre les décisions finales rendues par les cours de district fédérales) et sous l'angle de l'Art. III de la Constitution fédérale, qui limite la compétence du système fédéral aux affaires litigieuses, le litige devant être actuel et susceptible d'être réglé par une décision judiciaire.

La Cour Suprême juge en l'espèce que la cour d'appel n'est pas compétente au sens de la Section 1291 parce que l'ordonnance d'annulation "avec préjudice" ne s'analyse pas en une décision finale. Le Juge Thomas conteste ce raisonnement. Selon lui, une décision est finale au sens de la Section 1291 si elle met fin à la procédure au fond, ne laissant à la cour aucune tâche, si ce n'est l'exécution de dite décision de clôture de procédure. Et en l'espèce, c'est justement ce qui est advenu.

Le Juge Thomas convient que les demandeurs ne pouvaient valablement appeler dans les circonstances de l'espèce. Mais, selon lui, ils ne le pouvaient parce que la cour d'appel n'était pas compétente au sens de l'Art. III de la Constitution fédérale. La compétence des cours fédérales ne s'étend qu'aux affaires litigieuses, présentant des intérêts actuels et concrets, susceptibles de résolution judiciaire, affectant les droits des parties.

L'appel des demandeurs contre la décision d'annulation qu'ils ont eux-mêmes sollicitée ne satisfait pas aux conditions posées par l'Art. III de la Constitution fédérale. En demandant à la cour de district fédérale d'annuler leurs prétentions contre M., ils ont de ce fait accepté la décision rendue contre eux et ont ainsi renoncé à l'ensemble de leurs prétentions contre M. Les parties n'étaient ainsi plus parties adverses, et la cour d'appel ne pouvait pas modifier le contenu de leurs droits. La jurisprudence a par ailleurs établi à cet égard qu'une partie ne saurait recourir contre l'annulation judiciaire volontaire d'une prétention.

C'est à tort que les demandeurs soutiennent que leur intérêt à l'annulation de l'ordonnance qui refusait de certifier la classe est un intérêt suffisant au sens de l'Art. III de la Constitution. En effet, les allégués dans la procédure de classe, sans une prétention individuelle sous-jacente, n'entrainent nullement l'existence d'une controverse au sens de l'Art. III. Ces allégués "de classe" ne sont que le moyen de recourir à un mécanisme procédural qui permet à un demandeur de porter en justice sa propre prétention au nom d'une classe. Comme la cour d'appel n'était pas compétente pour se saisir de prétentions individuelles, elle n'était pas compétente non plus pour connaître de l'appel contre l'ordonnance refusant de certifier la classe.

Les demandeurs se trompent en soutenant que leurs prétentions individuelles pourraient renaître en cas de succès de leur appel contre l'ordonnance précitée. L'art. III de la Constitution impose l'existence d'un litige à tous les stades de la procédure, et non seulement au moment du dépôt de la demande. Par surabondance, une décision certifiant la classe ne provoquerait aucune renaissance des prétentions individuelles : une décision judiciaire certifiant une classe est sans effet sur la question du mérite de prétentions individuelles.

Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Docket 16-349

Interpretation (statute):

(…) Our usual presumption that “identical words used in different parts of the same statute” carry “the same mean­ing.” IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez, 546 U. S. 21, 34 (2005).

(…) See Magwood v. Patterson, 561 U. S. 320, 334 (2010) (“We cannot replace the actual text with speculation as to Congress’ intent”).

(…) Legislation is, after all, the art of compromise, the limitations expressed in statutory terms often the price of passage, and no statute yet known “pur­sues its stated purpose at all costs.” Rodri­guez v. United States, 480 U. S. 522, 525-526 (1987) (per curiam).

(…) The legis­lature says . . . what it means and means . . . what it says. Dodd v. United States, 545 U. S. 353, 357 (2005).

Secondary sources: P. Peters, The Cambridge Guide to English Usage 409 (2004); B. Garner, Modern English Usage 666 (4th ed. 2016); Oxford English Dictionary 669 (2d ed. 1989).

(U.S.S.C., June 12, 2017, Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Docket 16-349, J Gorsuch, unanimous).

Interprétation littérale d'une loi au sens formel. Considération des termes voisins dans la même loi.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Kokesh v. SEC, Docket 16-529

SEC enforcement proceedings (disgorgement): Statute of limitations:

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) pos­sesses authority to investigate violations of federal securities laws and to commence enforcement actions in federal district court if its investigations uncover evidence of wrongdoing. Initially, the Com­mission’s statutory authority in enforcement actions was limited to seeking an injunction barring future violations. Beginning in the1970’s, federal district courts, at the request of the Commission, be­gan ordering disgorgement in SEC enforcement proceedings. Alt­hough Congress has since authorized the Commission to seek mone­tary civil penalties, the Commission has continued to seek disgorgement. This Court has held that 28 U. S. C. §2462, which es­tablishes a 5-year limitations period for “an action, suit or proceeding for the enforcement of any civil fine, penalty, or forfeiture,” applies when the Commission seeks monetary civil penalties. See Gabelli v. SEC, 568 U. S. 442, 454.

Because SEC disgorgement operates as a penalty under §2462, any claim for disgorgement in an SEC enforcement action must be commenced within five years of the date the claim accrued.

(Nothing in this opinion should be interpreted as an opinion on whether courts possess authority to order disgorgement in SEC en­forcement proceedings or on whether courts have properly applied disgorgement principles in this context. The sole question presented in this case is whether disgorgement, as applied in SEC enforcement actions, is subject to §2462’s limitations period).

Secondary sources: T. Hazen, Law of Secu­rities Regulation §1:37 (7th ed., rev. 2016).

(U.S.S.C., June 5, 2017, Kokesh v. SEC, Docket 16-529, J. Sotomayor, unanimous).

28 U. S. C. §2462 prévoit un délai de prescription de cinq ans pour saisir la cour de district fédérale en cas de violation du droit des securities. Le texte de la loi limite l'application de ce délai aux procédures de saisie et de recouvrement des amendes civiles et pénales. La jurisprudence a précisé que ce délai s'appliquait aussi à la saisine des cours de district fédérales en vue d'obtenir l'exécution des peines civiles souhaitées par la Securities and Exchange Commission. Par ailleurs, en l'espèce, la Cour juge que ce délai s'applique également aux procédures en remise initiées par la Commission. En effet, l'obligation de remise est de nature punitive, de sorte qu'elle trouve sa place dans le cadre de la section 2462.

La Cour ne juge pas ici la question de savoir si les cours de district fédérales sont compétentes pour ordonner la remise des profits dans le cadre de procédures initiées par la SEC.