Decisions in Criminal, Tax, Copyright, and Cyberspace Law Matters

By FindLaw Staff on January 19, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Sharp v. Superior Court, B222025, concerned a defendant's petition for a writ of mandate seeking to compel the superior court to vacate its order granting the People's motion for a mental examination by a prosecution-retained expert.

In denying the petition, the court held that the trial court's authority to order a mental health examination by an expert retained by the prosecution is not "specifically addressed" by section 1027, and as such, section 1054.3(b) authorizes a trial court to order a defendant who pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to submit to a psychiatric examination by a prosecution-retained expert.  The court rejected defendant's argument that the trial court's order violates his constitutional rights and defendant's claim that the order is an improper retrospective application of a statute that operates prospectively only as meritless.  Lastly, the court held that there is nothing in the record establishing discovery abuse or showing other conduct that would be material to the exercise of the trial court's discretion in making the order.

Shaoxing County Huayue Import & Export v. Bhaumik, B220483, concerned a challenge to the trial court's denial of an individual's argument that the state court action should be stayed because the alter ego claim belonged to the bankruptcy estate, in a bankrupt corporation's creditor's action to recover payment in state court from the individual based on an alter ego theory of liability.  In affirming, the court held that the creditor's action to hold the individual liable as an alter ego for a creditor's substantive causes of action against a bankrupt corporation was not the property of the bankruptcy estate.

People v. Caballero, B217709, concerned a challenge to the trial court's imposition of a sentence of 110 years to life in prison, in a conviction of defendant for willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder, with findings that he personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, inflicted great bodily injury upon one victim, and committed the crimes for the benefit of a criminal street gang.  In affirming the sentence, the court held that defendant's sentence passes constitutional muster where his sentence resulted from his intentionally discharging a firearm during an attempt to kill three individuals, leading to the infliction of great bodily injury upon one of them.

People v. Armas, B214134, concerned a challenge to the trial court's conviction of defendant for violating the Sex Offender Registration Act and for probation violation.  In reversing in part and remanding, the court held that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction for failing to register his new address within five days of when he changed addresses as there was no evidence that defendant failed to register with the police department.  The court also reversed defendant's conviction for failing to register as a transient within five days of when he became a transient for instructional error.  However, the court affirmed the defendant's conviction for failing to notify the agency of his initial registration of his change of address within five days of moving, and as such, defendant's probation violation must be affirmed.

Nortel Networks Inc. v. State Bd. Equalization, B213415, concerned a plaintiff's suit against the State Board of Equalization seeking a tax refund for sales tax imposed on the software that plaintiff licenses to operate telephone switching equipment.  The court reversed in part and remanded as the software licensed by plaintiff is exempt from sales tax under the Technology Transfer Agreement (TAA) statutes because it is copyrighted, it contains patented processes, and it enabled the licensee to copy the software, and to make and sell products embodying the patents and copyright, and as such, the Board's attempt to limit the scope of the TTA statutes by excluding prewritten computer programs is an invalid exercise of its regulatory power.  However, the court affirmed the trial court's judgment awarding plaintiff a refund of the sales tax it paid for licensing switch-specific programs.

Kullar v. Foot Locker Retail, Inc., A127375, concerned a challenge to the rrial court's denial of defendant's motion to disqualify the attorneys for parties who have objected to the proposed settlement agreement in the first of two class actions and are the plaintiffs in the second action in which a class has not yet been certified.  In affirming, the court held that the filing of the second action has not created a conflict of interest requiring counsel's disqualification.

Hypertouch, Inc. v. Valueclick, Inc., B218603, concerned a challenge to the trial court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment in ruling that the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM) preempted plaintiff's section 17529.5 claims, in plaintiff's suit against defendants, engaged in online marketing services, claiming violations of Business & Professions Code section 17529.5(a), which prohibits entities from advertising in a commercial electronic message that contains various types of deceptive content.

In reversing and remanding, the court held that plaintiff's section 17529.5 claims are not preempted by the CAN-SPAM Act.  Further, the court held that plaintiff has raised a triable issue of fact regarding whether defendants violated section 17592.5, as plaintiff is not required to demonstrate that defendants sent or had knowledge of the offending emails and there are triable issue of facts with respect to whether the content of the emails violated section 17529.5.  Lastly, the court held that defendants are not entitled to summary adjudication as plaintiff may seek actual damages for any email it received within three years prior to the filing of the complaint and liquidated damages for any email received within one year prior to the filing of the complaint.

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