Monday, January 29, 2018

Hernandez v. Restoration Hardware, Inc., S233983

Judicial notice: Unpublished opinions:

(…) M. asked us to judicially notice several unpublished Court of Appeal opinions that adopted the same rule. With certain exceptions, not applicable here, the Rules of Court generally prohibit us from noticing unpublished opinions. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a).) We therefore declined to grant her request.

(Cal.S.C., Jan. 29, 2018, Hernandez v. Restoration Hardware, Inc., S233983)

De manière générale, le Tribunal n'est pas admis à prendre en compte les décisions de justice non publiées. Il n'est donc pas non plus utile d'essayer de les faire déposer au dossier par une requête en "judicial notice". La requête sera rejetée, sauf dans deux hypothèses prévues à la lettre b de la Rule of Court 8.1115:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Artis v. District of Columbia, J. Gorsuch, with whom JJ. Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito join, dissenting, Docket No. 16-460

Common law: Statute of limitations: Grace periods: Equitable tolling:

(…) Indeed, grace periods appear to find their roots in a common law rule known as the “journey’s account” that expressly sought to account for and afford to a dismissed party “the number of days which he must spend in jour­neying to the court” to refile his claim. 37 C. J., Limita­tions of Actions §526, p. 1082 (1925); see E. Coke, The Second Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England 567 (1642) (reprint 1797) (“The common law set downe the certaine time of 15 dayes,” because “a dayes journey is accounted in law 20 miles,” as “a reasonable time . . . within which time wheresoever the court of justice sate in England, the party . . . wheresoever he dwelt in England . . . might . . . by the said account of dayes journies ap­peare in court”); Spencer’s Case, 77 Eng. Rep. 267,267–268 (1603) (party has “the benefit of a new writ by journeys accompts” after first writ “abated”); Elstob v. Thorowgood, 91 Eng. Rep. 1086, 1087 (1697) (party has 30 days to bring an action “by journeys account” to avoid “the Statute of Limitations”).

(…) Fn. 4: The “principle of journeys account became definitely fixed and somewhat enlarged in England by an early statute. . . . This statute, with varying changes, has been enacted in nearly all of the states of the Union.” 19 American and English Encyclopaedia of Law 262 (2d ed. 1901); Cox, 47 S. E., at 915 (explaining that, “in lieu” of the journey’s account, the colonial act of 1767 permitted “a new action within one year” of dismissal, and then the act of 1847 allowed a new action within six months of dismissal “notwithstanding the intervening bar of the statute”); Denton v. Atchison, 90 P. 764, 765 (Kan. 1907) (statute adopted “the common-law rule of ‘journeys account’ ”); English v. T.H. Rogers Lumber Co., 173 P. 1046, 1048 (Okla. 1918) (“Statutes such as ours are said to have their origin in the common law rule of ‘journeys account’ ”); Baker v. Cohn, 41 N. Y. S. 2d 765, 767 (1943) (“Historically, the extension of one year’s time . . . is said to be an outgrowth of the ancient common law rule of ‘journey’s account’ ”); Sorensen v. Overland Corp., 142 F. Supp. 354, 362 (Del. 1956) (“The statute of ‘journeys’ account’ is one founded under English law, and enacted in most juris­dictions today”); Wilt v. Smack, 147 F. Supp. 700, 702 (ED Pa. 1957) (“Statutes of Journey’s Account originated in England and have long existed, in varying forms, among the states”).

Limitations periods for state law claims fall well within the peculiar province of state sovereign authority. As Chancellor Kent ex­plained, “‘the period sufficient to constitute a bar to the litigation of stale demands, is a question of municipal policy and regulation, and one which belongs to the discre­tion of every government, consulting its own interest and convenience.’” Sun Oil Co. v. Wortman, 486 U. S. 717, 726 (1988) (quoting 2 J. Kent, Commentaries on American Law 462–463 (2d ed. 1832)). Described as “laws for ad­ministering justice,” time bars are “one of the most sacred and important of sovereign rights and duties.” Hawkins v. Barney’s Lessee, 5 Pet. 457, 466 (1831). And “from a re­mote antiquity,” they have been the province of the sover­eign “by which it exercises its legislation for all persons and property within its jurisdiction.” McElmoyle ex rel. Bailey v. Cohen, 13 Pet. 312, 327 (1839). Our States have long “exercised this right in virtue of their sovereignty.”

(…) The propriety of a legal tool in one area does not establish its propriety in all; while stop clock tolling may be standard and off-the-shelf in other contexts (such as for equitable tolling) that doesn’t mean it is necessary and proper here. Indeed, and as we’ve seen, the “standard” and “off-the-shelf” solution to the problem of dismissal and the need to refile is the one adopted at common law and by state law: a grace period. If we’re interested in looking for the right shelf, that’s the one.

(U.S.S.C., Jan 22, 2018, Artis v. District of Columbia, J. Gorsuch, with whom JJ. Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito join, dissenting, Docket No. 16-460)

Les sources de la Common law en matière de suspension de délai et en matière de délai de grâce, citées dans une dissenting opinion du Juge Gorsuch. Cette opinion conteste la décision de la Cour qui applique une suspension de délai pour ouvrir action devant la cour d'un état. Seul un délai de grâce devrait s'appliquer selon le Juge Gorsuch, rejoint en cela par les Juges Kennedy, Alito et Thomas. La dissenting opinion ne remet toutefois pas en cause les principes applicables en matière d'"equitable tolling".

National Assn. of Mfrs. v. Department of Defense, J. Sotomayor, unanimous, Docket No. 16-299

Legislative history:

Fn. 9: Although the parties paint dueling portraits of the legislative history, the murky waters of the Congressional Record do not provide helpful guidance in illuminating Congress’ intent in this case. Even for “those of us who make use of legislative history,” “ambiguous legislative history” cannot trump “clear statutory language.” Milner v. De­partment of Navy, 562 U. S. 562, 572 (2011). Just so here.

(U.S.S.C., Jan. 22, 2018, National Assn. of Mfrs. v. Department of Defense, J. Sotomayor, unanimous, Docket No. 16-299)

Des limites de l'usage de l'histoire législative…

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Privacy Rights when e-commerce directed to California Consumers

California Civil Code §1798.83 (Title 1.81. Customer Records)

« Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (d), if a business has an established business relationship with a customer and has within the immediately preceding calendar year disclosed personal information that corresponds to any of the categories of personal information set forth in paragraph (6) of subdivision (e) to third parties, and if the business knows or reasonably should know that the third parties used the personal information for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes, that business shall, after the receipt of a written or electronic mail request, or, if the business chooses to receive requests by toll-free telephone or facsimile numbers, a telephone or facsimile request from the customer, provide all of the following information to the customer free of charge: (…) Add to the home page of its Web site a link either to a page titled “Your Privacy Rights” or add the words “Your Privacy Rights” to the home page’s link to the business’s privacy policy (…) The first page of the link shall describe a customer’s rights pursuant to this section and shall provide the designated mailing address, e-mail address, as required, or toll-free telephone number or facsimile number, as appropriate (…)If a business that is required to comply with this section adopts and discloses to the public, in its privacy policy, a policy of not disclosing personal information of customers to third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes unless the customer first affirmatively agrees to that disclosure, or of not disclosing the personal information of customers to third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes if the customer has exercised an option that prevents that information from being disclosed to third parties for those purposes, as long as the business maintains and discloses the policies, the business may comply with subdivision (a) by notifying the customer of his or her right to prevent disclosure of personal information, and providing the customer with a cost-free means to exercise that right. »

Hence, a Website directed to California Customers may wisely add at least a statement of this kind :
Link : Your California Privacy Rights
Text : California Civil Code Section 1798.83 permits our visitors who are California residents to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes. To make such a request, please send an email to, or write to us at: x, or call us at: ().

Thursday, January 18, 2018

McMillin Albany LLC v. Superior Court, S229762

Distinctions between tort and contract theories of recovery: Distinction between Common law and state statutes:

In Aas v. Superior Court (2000) 24 Cal.4th 627, 632 (Aas), this court held that the economic loss rule bars homeowners suing in negligence for construction defects from recovering damages where there is no showing of actual property damage or personal injury. We explained that requiring a showing of more than economic loss was necessary to preserve the boundary between tort and contract theories of recovery, and to prevent tort law from expanding contractual warranties beyond what home builders had agreed to provide. (Id. at pp. 635–636; see Seely v. White Motor Co. (1965) 63 Cal.2d 9, 18.) We emphasized that the Legislature was free to alter these limits on recovery and to add whatever additional homeowner protections it deemed appropriate. (Aas, at pp. 650, 653.)

Two years later, spurred by Aas and by lobbying from homeowner and construction interest groups, the Legislature passed comprehensive construction defect litigation reform. (Stats. 2002, ch. 722, principally codified at Civ. Code, §§ 895–945.5 (commonly known as the Right to Repair Act, hereafter the Act); all further unlabeled statutory references are to the Civil Code.) The Act sets forth detailed statewide standards that the components of a dwelling must satisfy. It also establishes a prelitigation dispute resolution process that affords builders notice of alleged construction defects and the opportunity to cure such defects, while granting homeowners the right to sue for deficiencies even in the absence of property damage or personal injury.

We are asked to decide whether the lawsuit here, a common law action alleging construction defects resulting in both economic loss and property damage, is subject to the Act’s prelitigation notice and cure procedures. The answer depends on the extent to which the Act was intended to alter the common law — specifically, whether it was designed only to abrogate Aas, supplementing common law remedies with a statutory claim for purely economic loss, or to go further and supplant the common law with new rules governing the method of recovery in actions alleging property damage. Based on an examination of the text and legislative history of the Act, we conclude the Legislature intended the broader displacement. Although the Legislature preserved common law claims for personal injury, it made the Act the virtually exclusive remedy not just for economic loss but also for property damage arising from construction defects. The present suit for property damage is therefore subject to the Act’s prelitigation procedures (…).

(…) When the Legislature intended to preserve common law claims as a complement to claims under the Act, it did so expressly. (§§ 931, 943, subd. (a); see Gillotti v. Stewart (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 875, 894.)

In holding that claims seeking recovery for construction defect damages are subject to the Act’s prelitigation procedures regardless of how they are pleaded, we have no occasion to address the extent to which a party might rely upon common law principles in pursuing liability under the Act. Nor does our holding embrace claims such as those for breach of contract, fraud, or personal injury that are expressly placed outside the reach of the Act’s exclusivity. (§ 943, subd. (a).)

(Cal.S.C., Jan. 18, 2018, McMillin Albany LLC v. Superior Court, S229762).

Les défauts affectant la construction immobilière étaient susceptibles d'une action contractuelle (en garantie p. ex.), mais non d'une action extracontractuelle ("in negligence") si le propriétaire ne pouvait démontrer aucun autre dommage affectant son immeuble ou aucun préjudice corporel. La Cour mettait ainsi une limite à la possibilité d'amplifier l'indemnisation contractuelle par le recours aux principes de l'indemnisation délictuelle. Seul le législateur était compétent pour déplacer cette limite en faveur du propriétaire (tel était l'état du droit au sens de la jurisprudence Aas, rendue en l'année 2000).

Deux ans plus tard, le législateur californien a passé une nouvelle loi, intégrée au Code Civil, révisant la procédure et le droit de fond en matière de défauts de constructions immobilières.

En l'espèce, la Cour doit juger si la présente procédure, commencée par une action en Common law alléguant des défauts de construction ayant entraîné une perte économique et des dommages à la propriété, relève ou non du droit mis en place par la nouvelle loi. La solution dépend de l'étendue selon laquelle dite loi modifie la Common law : la loi n'est-elle destinée qu'à abroger la jurisprudence Aas (ajoutant aux remèdes de la Common law une action en indemnisation d'un simple dommage économique (soit sans un dommage à la propriété immobilière elle-même)), ou est-elle destinée non seulement à abroger Aas, mais encore à remplacer à cet égard la Common law par de nouvelles règles s'agissant des procédures liées à un dommage à la propriété immobilière ? Basé sur un examen du texte et de l'histoire législative de la loi, la Cour conclut que le législateur entendait retenir la seconde des deux solutions possibles précitées. Tout en maintenant les actions en Common law en cas de préjudice corporel, il a édicté dite loi avec l'intention qu'elle s'applique aux situations de dommages purement économiques ainsi qu'aux situations de dommages à la propriété résultant de défauts de construction.

La Cour ne se prononce pas ici sur l'étendue de l'application de la Common law à une action établie par la nouvelle loi. La présente affaire ne traite pas non plus des actions pour "breach of contract", "fraud", ou, comme indiqué plus haut, en dommages corporels.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Tharpe v. Sellers, J. Thomas, with whom J. Alito and J. Gorsuch join, dissenting (Per Curiam opinion), Docket 17-6075

Retroactivity (here in a criminal context):

(…) First, no reasonable jurist could argue that Pena-Rodriguez applies retroactively on collateral review. Pena-Rodriguez established a new rule: The opinion states that it is answering a question “left open” by this Court’s earlier precedents. 580 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 13). A new rule does not apply retroactively unless it is substantive or a “watershed rule of criminal procedure.” Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288, 311 (1989) (plurality opinion). Since Pena-Rodriguez permits a trial court “to consider [certain] evidence,” 580 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 17), and does not “alter the range of conduct or the class of persons that the law punishes,” Schriro v. Summerlin, 542 U. S. 348, 353 (2004), it cannot be a substantive rule.

And Tharpe does not even attempt to argue that Pena-Rodriguez estab­lished a watershed rule of criminal procedure—a class of rules that is so “narrow” that it is “‘unlikely that any has yet to emerge.’” Schriro, supra, at 352 (quoting Tyler v. Cain, 533 U. S. 656, 667, n. 7 (2001)). Nor could he. Not even the right to have a jury decide a defendant’s eligibility for death counts as a watershed rule of criminal procedure. Schriro, supra, at 355–358.

(U.S.S.C., Jan. 8, 2018, Tharpe v. Sellers, J. Thomas, with whom J. Alito and J. Gorsuch join, dissenting (Per Curiam opinion), Docket 17-6075).

Une nouvelle règle de droit (ici pénal, établie par la Cour Suprême) n'est pas d'application rétroactive, sauf si elle est de nature "substantive" ou qu'elle constitue un tournant majeur en procédure pénale. Par exemple, un principe jurisprudentiel qui permet à une cour pénale de première instance de prendre en compte certains moyens de preuve, sans altérer les comportements qualifiés de délictueux ni la classe des personnes punissables, ne saurait être qualifiée de règle "substantielle". Et le droit à ce qu'un jury (et non la cour) décide de la question ultime du prononcé de la peine capitale n'est pas une règle qui constitue un tournant majeur en procédure pénale.

Children's Online Privacy

Children's Online Privacy: Privacy: Data security: Competition: Internet: Safe WEB Act.

FTC, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Jan. 8, 2018.

Electronic toy manufacturer VTech Electronics Limited and its U.S. subsidiary have agreed to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that the company violated a U.S. children’s privacy law by collecting personal information from children without providing direct notice and obtaining their parent’s consent, and failing to take reasonable steps to secure the data it collected. VTech will pay $650,000 as part of the settlement with the FTC.

In a complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, the Commission alleges that the Kid Connect app used with some of VTech’s electronic toys collected the personal information of hundreds of thousands of children, and that the company failed to provide direct notice to parents or obtain verifiable consent from parents concerning its information collection practices, as required under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In its first children’s privacy case involving Internet-connected toys, the FTC also alleges that VTech failed to use reasonable and appropriate data security measures to protect personal information it collected.

COPPA requires that companies collecting personal information from children under 13 online follow steps to ensure that children’s information is protected, including clearly disclosing to parents the information it collects, how the information will be used, and seeking verifiable parental consent. Companies also must take reasonable measures to protect the confidentiality, security and integrity of the personal information they collect about children.

According to the complaint against VTech, the company collected personal information from parents on its Learning Lodge Navigator online platform, where the Kid Connect app was available for download, and also through a now-defunct web-based gaming and chat platform called Planet VTech. Before using Kid Connect or Planet VTech, parents were required to register and provide personal information including their name, email address as well as their children’s name, date of birth and gender. VTech also collected personal information from children when they used the Kid Connect app.

With respect to Kid Connect, VTech failed to provide direct notice of its information collection and use practices to parents and did not link to its privacy policy in each area where personal information was collected from children.

At the same time, the complaint alleges that the company did not take reasonable steps to protect the information it collected through Kid Connect, such as implementing adequate safeguards and security measures to protect transmitted and stored information and implementing an intrusion prevention or detection system to alert the company of an unauthorized intrusion of its network. In November 2015, VTech was informed by a journalist that a hacker accessed its computer network and personal information about consumers including children who used its Kid Connect app.

The FTC also alleges that VTech violated the FTC Act by falsely stating in its privacy policy that most personal information submitted by users through the Learning Lodge and Planet VTech would be encrypted. The company, however, did not encrypt any of this information.

In addition to the monetary settlement, VTech is permanently prohibited from violating COPPA in the future and from misrepresenting its security and privacy practices as part of the proposed settlement. It also is required to implement a comprehensive data security program, which will be subject to independent audits for 20 years.

The FTC collaborated with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which is releasing its own Report of Findings. To facilitate cooperation with its Canadian partner, the FTC relied on key provisions of the U.S. SAFE WEB Act, which allows the FTC to share information with foreign counterparts to combat deceptive and unfair practices that cross national borders.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and stipulated final order was 2-0. The complaint and stipulated final order was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

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