Articles Posted in California Supreme Court

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After declaring a fiscal emergency, the City of Los Angeles adopted a mandatory furlough program for its civilian employees. Many of those employees that were represented by a union (Union) filed grievances against the City, contending that the furloughs violated memorandums of understanding (MOUs) governing the terms and conditions of their employment. The grievances were denied, and the City denied the employees' request to arbitrate. The superior court subsequently granted the Union's petition for an order compelling the City to arbitrate the dispute. The court of appeal granted the City's petition for a writ of mandate, concluding that the City could not be compelled to arbitrate under the terms of the MOUs because arbitration would constitute an unlawful delegation to the arbitrator of discretionary policymaking powers that the City's charter vested in its city council. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) arbitration of the employee furlough dispute did not constitute an unlawful delegation of discretionary authority to the arbitrator; and (2) the City was contractually obligated to arbitrate the dispute. View "City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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An owners association for a construction defect action against a condominium developer, seeking recovery for damage to its property and damage to the separate interests of the condominium owners who composed its membership. In response, the developer filed a motion to compel arbitration based on a clause in the recorded declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions providing that the association and the individual owners agreed to resolve any construction dispute with the developer through binding arbitration. The trial court determined that the clause embodied an agreement to arbitrate between the developer and the association but invalidated the agreement upon finding it marked by slight substantive unconscionability and a high degree of procedural unconscionability. The court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the arbitration clause bound the association and was not unconscionable. View "Pinnacle Museum Tower Ass'n v. Pinnacle Market Dev." on Justia Law

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After a school district (District) approved the conversion of an existing public school into a charter school, a union (UTLA) claimed that the District failed to comply with collective bargaining agreement provisions (CBPs) concerning charter school conversion. UTLA petitioned to compel arbitration pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement. The trial court denied the petition, finding that the collective bargaining provisions (CBPs) regulating charter school conversion were unlawful because they conflicted with the Education Code, and therefore, arbitration of those unlawful provisions should not be compelled. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the court's function in adjudicating a petition to compel arbitration was limited to determining whether there was a valid arbitration agreement that had not been waived. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a court faced with a petition to compel arbitration to enforce CBPs between a union and a school district should deny the petition if the CBPs at issue directly conflict with provisions of the Education Code; and (2) because UTLA had not identified with sufficient specificity which CBPs the District allegedly violated, the case was remanded for identification of those specific provisions and to address whether the provisions conflicted with the Education Code. View "United Teachers of L.A. v. L.A. Unified Sch. Dist." on Justia Law