President's weekly report — June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014 | By ROB RIVETT

Property Rights — Hearing on the One-Plan-to-Rule-Them-All

A San Francisco Superior Court heard arguments on Thursday in Bay Area Citizens v. Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.  This case is our challenge to “Plan Bay Area” a multi-jurisdictional juggernaut of a land use plan that calls for new development to be steered into “stack-and-pack” high-rises on only a tiny fraction of the area’s land, supposedly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.  We argue that the plan was concocted without adequate environmental review of the massive impacts caused by high-density housing all the while ignoring other concurrent efforts to reduce greenhouse gases emitted by cars and trucks.  For more on the hearing, see our blog post here.

Tort Reform — California Avoids the United States Supreme Court

The proponents of runaway class action litigation can breathe a sigh of relief, now that the United States Supreme Court denied cert in Sonic-Calabasas A v. Moreno.  This case arose out of an employment dispute where the employees had signed a waiver of certain California state administrative procedures.  A few years ago, the California Supreme Court vacated the waiver, saying it was “unconscionable” and violated public policy.  Then, after the United States Supreme Court struck a similar ruling in another case, this case was sent back to looked at again in light of the new decision.  Upon review the court came up with the same result, though this time the California Supreme Court made up a new argument why the waiver should be struck down — now saying that the employer had to provide an identical procedure to the waived state procedures.  Because the United States Supreme Court decided not to take up the case, the California ruling will stand for the time being.  In other words, even if an employee waives the right to an administrative hearing, the employee can still get that hearing or its equivalent.  Our blog post explains in more detail here.