Petitioner city sought a writ of mandate ordering respondent Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), to vacate its discovery order which compelled the drafter of petitioner's rent stabilization ordinance, Los Angeles, Cal., Municipal Code § 151.00 et seq., to answer questions regarding her work in drafting it, and which compelled members of petitioner's rent stabilization division to answer questions.

 

Petitioner city filed an action against real parties in interest, landlords, to recover rents charged in excess of those allowed under Los Angeles, Cal., Municipal Code § 151.00. When respondent trial court ordered that discovery could be taken from the drafter of § 151.00 regarding her work and also from employees of petitioner's rent stabilization division who had conducted an investigation in the matter, petitioner filed an action against respondent for writ of mandate. The business lawsuit attorney upheld the discovery of the investigation after it applied a balancing test under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2016(b). The court concluded that the qualified privilege of work product did not apply because petitioner had previously publicized the investigation and therefore would not be unfairly prejudiced by discovery. However, the court issued a writ of mandamus prohibiting discovery from the drafter of § 151.00 because the her thoughts on the statute would be inadmissible and, therefore, were not relevant or reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of relevant evidence.

 

The court upheld the order compelling discovery from the rent stabilization division because the investigation was not protected by work product or attorney-client privilege. However, it issued a peremptory writ of mandate which commanded respondent trial court to vacate the discovery order compelling testimony from the ordinance drafter because the court was required to look to the plain meaning of a statute and not to the drafter's intent.

 

Appellants, commission and medical professionals, sought review of a judgment issued by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) which awarded respondents economic damages.

 

Appellants, commission and medical professionals, challenged a ruling concerning an award of economic damages to respondent boxing coach and respondent boxer. Respondent boxer was subject to a comprehensive mental status examination in order to renew his license to box. Respondent boxer scored below average on the exam and was not reissued a boxing license. Respondents, boxing coach and boxer, testified that this ruling resulted in financial losses and a loss of a good reputation for respondent coach. After a seven week trial, respondents prevailed and were awarded economic damages and noneconomic damages. The court held that the injury complained of, the loss of prize money and respondent boxer's conceivable future earnings as a prize fighter, was not merely highly speculative, but specifically was not the type of injury Cal. Gov't Code § 815.6 was designed to prevent as foreseeable and thus provide a basis for civil liability. Therefore, the court reversed the judgments against appellants as they were entitled to sovereign immunity as employees of the state.

 

The court reversed the ruling of the trial court which awarded economic and noneconomic damages to respondents when appellants issued a report stating that respondent boxer's score on a mental exam was below normal and his boxing license was not renewed. On appeal, the court stated that as employees of the state, appellants were entitled to sovereign immunity and respondents were not eligible for damages.

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Comment by Kingsley Chigo Michael on March 28, 2021 at 5:02pm

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