New trial motions; grounds: Santillan v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Fresno (2012)Cal.App.4th. The Los Angeles business lawyer will help you in business matters.

While the jury was deliberating, George’s lawyer received a phone call from a man who said he had been an altar boy at the same parish and had been inappropriately touched by Herdegen. When his mother had reported this to the principal of the parish school, he was expelled. Based on this information, the plaintiffs brought a motion for new trial based on newly- discovered evidence. The trial court granted the motion as to Howard, because the new witness said he reported the incident in 1967, at a time when Howard was still being molested by Herdegen. The motion was denied as to George, because the evidence showed his abuse had stopped in late 1965. The Court of Appeal affirmed. 

It rejected the church’s claim that Howard had not been diligent in failing to report the new evidence to the court immediately. The court noted that the cases the church relied on all involved bench trials, or situations where new evidence was discovered during the trial, but not raised until after the decision. Here, the new evidence was not available until the jury was already deliberating. The plaintiffs were not required to bring the evidence to the court’s attention during deliberations. The court found that the new evidence was material and supported the trial court’s decision to grant Howard a new trial.

Whistleblowers; Labor Code section 1102.5 and Education Code section 87160. Mize-Kurman v. Marin Community College Distr. (2012) Cal.App.4th(First Dist., Div. 2.)

Plaintiff was an administrator at the defendant community-college district. She made certain disclosures to her supervisors, including interference in the hiring process for the director of ESL support; her concern that a proposed scholarship fund that was limited only to Latino students was unconstitutional; that the district’s policy' of allowing students who were in arrears on their fees to register was illegal; and that she believed that the district was violating the law in seeking residency information from students. She sued, claiming she had been retaliated against. At trial, the court gave certain instructions based on the federal whistleblower statute, which she contended included restrictions not included in the California whistleblower statutes.

The jury’s verdict was against her. On appeal, she asserted instructional error. Reversed. Some of the restrictions included in the court’s instructions based on federal law were not a part of California law, and should not have been included. These were a requirement that the plaintiff was required to prove that any disclosures were made in good faith and for the public good, and not for personal reasons', that debatable differences of opinion concerning policy matters are not protected disclosures; and that information passed along to a supervisor in the normal course of duties is not a protected disclosure. Each of these restrictions was either erroneous under both California and federal law; or was applicable solely to the federal statute, but not to its California counterpart.

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New trial motions; grounds: Santillan v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Fresno (2012) Cal.App.4th. The Los Angeles business lawyer will help you in business matters.