eBriefs June 27, 2019



U.S. Supreme Court


Administrative Law

A court should not afford Auer deference to an agency’s interpretation of a regulation unless, after exhausting all the “traditional tools” of construction, the regulation is genuinely ambiguous; if genuine ambiguity remains, the agency’s reading must still fall “within the bounds of reasonable interpretation,” and a court must make an independent inquiry into whether the character and context of the agency interpretation entitles it to controlling weight. Auer does not circumvent the Administrative Procedure Act’s rulemaking requirements, nor does it violate the separation of powers doctrine.

Kisor v. Wilkie; filed June 26, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 18-15_9p6b


Constitutional Law

Tennessee’s two-year durational-residency requirement applicable to retail liquor store license applicants violates the Commerce Clause; while the 21st Amendment grants the states latitude with respect to the regulation of alcohol, it does not allow the states to violate the “nondiscrimination principle” that was a central feature of the regulatory regime that the provision was meant to constitutionalize.

Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas; filed June 26, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 18-96_5i36


Criminal Law and Procedure

A judge’s sentencing authority derives from, and is limited by, a jury’s factual findings of criminal conduct; a judge cannot increase a defendant’s sentence beyond the statutory maximum based on the judge’s finding of new facts by a preponderance of the evidence.

United States v. Haymond; filed June 26, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 17-1672_5hek


Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals


Indian Law

An Indian tribe that had been party to prior litigation resulting in a permanent injunction granting tribal fishing rights failed to invoke the court’s continuing jurisdiction where the tribe did not abide by the pre-filing requirements laid out in the order issued in the prior litigation.

Skokomish Indian Tribe v. St. James School; filed June 26, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 17-35760


Tax Law

A taxpayer was required to provide an Internal Revenue Service disclosure of the fact it had joined a group term life insurance plan to fund a cash-value life insurance policy owned by its sole shareholder and only employee since this act was substantially similar to a listed transaction in Notice 2007-83; the taxpayer’s procedural due process rights were not violated when it was required to pay penalties for non-disclosure in full before seeking judicial review.

Interior Glass Systems, Inc. v. United States; filed June 26, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 17-15713


California Court of Appeal


Civil Procedure

A party seeking to benefit from the exceptions listed in Code of Civil Procedure §2033.420(b) has the burden of establishing the applicability of the exceptions listed therein.

Samsky v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company; Second District, Div. Eight; filed June 26, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 2999


Constitutional Law

A trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a motion for attorney fees where the plaintiff had sought over $1 million in damages for a civil rights action, but recovered less than $5,400, and then sought over $3.8 million in fees; the most critical factor in determining the reasonableness of a fee award in a civil rights action is the degree of success obtained by the plaintiff, although the court can also consider whether the motion is reasonable in terms of the amount of fees requested and the credibility of the supporting evidence.

Guillory v. Hill; Fourth District, Div. Three; filed May 31, 2019, publication ordered June 25, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3003



Successive causes of action for breach of contract may arise from a single contract with continuing obligations. Performance of a contract that results in one party breaching a contract with a third party, without more, does not prove intentional interference with the third party’s contract; a defendant is not immune from liability for intentional inference with contract merely because the defendant exercised rights under another contract. First Amendment protection for newsgathering or broadcasting does not extend to defendants who commit a crime or an independent tort in gathering the information.

Jenni Rivera enterprises v. Latin World Entertainment Holdings, Inc.; Second District, Div. Seven; filed May 29, 2019, publication ordered June 25, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3009


Criminal Law and Procedure

To establish a “prejudicial error” under Penal Code §1473.7, a person need only show by a preponderance of the evidence: he did not “meaningfully understand” or “knowingly accept” the actual or potential adverse immigration consequences of the plea; and had he understood the consequences, it is reasonably probable he would have instead attempted to “defend against” the charges.

People v. Mejia; Fourth District, Div. Three; filed June 26, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3021


Criminal Law and Procedure

A defendant convicted of felony accessory is not categorically ineligible for resentencing under Proposition 64, even though the crime of accessory is not specifically mentioned in the statute, if the completed felony which formed the basis for defendant’s accessory conviction is punishable as a misdemeanor under Proposition 64.

People v. Boatwright; First District, Div. One; filed June 25, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3027


Criminal Law and Procedure

A police officer’s testimony that the surveillance videos he viewed corresponded to the robberies under investigation was not inadmissible hearsay, even though his belief was based on extra-judicial statements, because it was offered only to show the officer had reasonable cause to arrest the defendants; the officer’s testimony that the events depicted in the videos matched the descriptions of the incidents he heard from witnesses was enough to authenticate the videos for purposes of a hearing on a motion to dismiss; because the videos bore indicia of reliability and because those videos provided a sufficient basis for the officer to recognize the defendants, the warrantless arrest of the defendants was objectively reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

People v. Alexander; First District, Div. Five; filed June 25, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3031


Government Law

Welfare and Institutions Code §14124.72 and §14124.76 do not violate the Supremacy Clause of the federal constitution. A trial court’s approval of a minor’s compromise that contained no allocation to Medi-Cal did not extinguish Medi-Cal’s entitlement to reimbursement; the calculation of Medi-Cal’s lien using the gross sum of actual costs, minus an attorney fee adjustment, minus a litigation cost adjustment, was appropriate.

Lomeli v. State Department of Health Care Services; Second District, Div. Eight; filed June 25, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3038



In re B.D.; First District, Div. Four; filed June 24, 2019


Cite as 2019 S.O.S. 3042