But first, a brief programming note. I haven't posted this week for a simple reason. I've been swamped. Hopefully the blogging will pick up over the next few business days and then after Thanksgiving. As another aside, I was unspeakably disappointed to learn, earlier this week, that one of our best-known female law bloggers, Article III Groupie, is actually — gasp — a man. He works for the USDOJ. They apparently have no sense of humor. The blog is now password-protected. I hope he doesn't end up getting dooced.
So back to business. The court (Judge Howard J. Schwab) adopted a novel approach to Prop. 64 retroactivity in this order dated October 7, 2005 in Estrada v. Fed Ex Ground Package Systems, Inc. (Los Angeles County Superior Court case no. BC210130). The court ordered broad-ranging injunctive relief in a 17200 action, without class certification and despite Proposition 64, explaining:
The court is also cognizant that on November 2, 2004, the electorate enacted Proposition 64, which requires compliance with CCP section 382, which was not done here. There is a split in authority on the retroactive effect of Proposition 64, which issue is presently before the California Supreme Court.
However the issue is ultimately decided by the California Supreme Court, the court finds based upon the unique factual and procedural background of this particular case, Proposition 64 should not apply herein. Proposition 64 should not be applied retroactively to eliminate pending injunctive relief claims in primarily B & P section 17203 claims, like this, that have already been fully litigated on a representative basis. This matter was a class action and injunctive relief could have been certified as a class issue. There was no necessity to do so by reason of the language of B & P 17203 as it existed at that time. The named plaintiffs filed their law suit and tried the issue of employment status with the expectation that they were prosecuting their claims on said representative basis, without the need for class certification for injunctive relief. It was only after the issue of employment status had been fully litigated and the Court issued its Statement of Decision on July 26, 2004, that the electorate on November 2 of that same year, enacted Proposition 64. When the issue of employment status was litigated, it was based upon not only reimbursement; but also that of potential declaratory and injunctive relief. Therefore by reason of the unique factual and procedural posture of this case, wherein the court had rendered a decision that would impact the issues of reimbursement, declaratory and injunctive relief before the enactment of Proposition 64, the court finds said amendment inapplicable to this case. Relief will be ordered as to all SWAs, whether or not they are class members or named plaintiffs under the provisions of B & P section 17203.
(Order at 3-4.) At first blush, this order seems directly contrary to Schwartz v. Visa Int'l Service Assn., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Sept. 28, 2005), in which the Court of Appeal reversed a multi-million-dollar final judgment in a fully litigated UCL action without a whisper of concern for the plaintiff's reliance on prior law. But unlike Schwartz, this case involved injured plaintiffs whose other claims had been certified for class treatment. The UCL claim could also have been certified, if the law had required it. This order is entirely consistent, therefore, with the Court of Appeal's holding in Mervyn's: "Application of Proposition 64 to cases filed before the initiative’s effective date would deny parties fair notice and defeat their reasonable reliance and settled expectations." Californians for Disability Rights v. Mervyn's, LLC, 126 Cal.App.4th 386, 397 (2005) (review granted). The final injunctive relief order, with a copy of the original Statement of Decision from July 2004, is here. Many thanks to the reader who passed these orders on to me.