Janice Rogers Brown is a
with more than eight years
of experience on the California appellate bench.
Justice Brown currently serves as an Associate Justice of the
California Supreme Court, a position she has held since May 1996.
She is the first African-American woman to serve on the State’s
highest court, and was retained with 76 percent of the vote in her
In 2002, Justice Brown’s
colleagues relied on her to write the majority opinion for the Court
more times than any other Justice.
to her appointment and confirmation to the California Supreme Court,
Justice Brown served from 1994-96 as an Associate Justice on the
Third District Court of Appeals, an intermediate state appellate
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Justice Brown is an
outstanding and highly qualified candidate
as evidenced by her
background, credentials, and training
The daughter of sharecroppers,
Justice Brown was born in Greenville, Alabama in 1949. During her
childhood, she attended segregated schools, and came of age in the
midst of Jim Crow policies in the South.
grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about NAACP lawyer
Fred Gray, who defended Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks,
and her experiences as a child of the South motivated her to become
Her family moved to Sacramento,
California when Justice Brown was in her teens, and she later
received her B.A. in Economics from California State in Sacramento
in 1974, and her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 1977. She also
has received honorary law degrees from Pepperdine University Law
School, Catholic University of America School of Law, and
Southwestern University School of Law.
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Justice Brown has dedicated
all but two years
of her twenty-six year
legal career to public service
T Prior to more than eight years
as a judge in state courts, Justice Brown served from 1991-94 as
Legal Affairs Secretary to California Governor Pete Wilson, where
she provided legal advice on litigation, legislation, and policy
1987-90, Justice Brown served as the Deputy Secretary and General
Counsel for the California Business, Transportation, and Housing
Agency, where she supervised the state banking, real estate,
corporations, thrift and insurance departments.
From 1979-1987, Justice Brown
was a Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the California
Attorney General, where she prepared briefs and participated in oral
arguments on behalf of the state in criminal appeals, prosecuted
criminal cases, and litigated a variety of civil issues.
She began her career in 1977 and
served two years as a Deputy Legislative Counsel in the California
Legislative Counsel Bureau.
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Justice Brown has
participated in a variety of community organizations
dedicated to improving the
quality of life for all citizens of California.
Brown has served as a Member of the California Commission on the
Status of African-American Males. The Commission was chaired by
now-U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), and made recommendations
on how to address inequities in the treatment of African-American
males in employment, business development and in the criminal
justice and health care systems.
She was a member of the
Governor’s Child Support Task Force, which reviewed and made
recommendations on how to improve California’s child support
Brown served as a Member of the Community Learning Advisory Board of
the Rio Americano High School and developed the Academia Civitas
program to provide government service internships to high school
students in Sacramento. She also assisted in the development of a
curriculum to teach civics and reinforce the values of public
has volunteered time with the Center for Law-Related Education, a
program that uses moot courts and mock trials to teach high school
students how to solve everyday problems.
Justice Brown has also taught adult Sunday school at the Cordova
Church of Christ for 10 years.
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The Honorable Janice
Nominee to the United
States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
who know her best are saying about Justice Brown:
“Much has been written about Justice Brown’s humble
beginnings, and the story of her rise to the California Supreme
Court is truly compelling. But that alone would not be enough
to gain our endorsement for a seat on the federal bench. We
believe that Justice Brown is qualified because she is a superb
judge. We who have worked with her on a daily basis know her
to be an extremely intelligent, keenly analytical, and very hard
working. We know that she is a jurist who applies the law
without favor, without bias, and with an even hand.” Letter
from a bi-partisan group of 12 of Justice Brown’s current and former
judicial colleagues (including all of her former colleagues on the
Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District and four current members
of the California Supreme Court) to the Honorable Orrin G. Hatch,
October 16, 2003.
“We know Justice Brown to be a
person of high intelligence, unquestioned integrity, and
even-handedness. Since we are of differing political beliefs and
perspectives, Democratic, Republican and Independent, we wish
especially to emphasize what we believe is Justice Brown’s strongest
credential for appointment to this important seat on the D.C.
Circuit: her open-minded and thorough appraisal of legal
argumentation– even when her personal views may conflict with those
arguments.” Letter from a bi-partisan group of 15 California law
professors to the Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, October 15, 2003.
“In my opinion, Justice Brown
[possesses] those qualities an appellate justice should have. She is
extremely intelligent, very conscientious and hard working,
refreshingly articulate, and possessing great common sense and
integrity. She is courteous and gracious to the litigants and
counsel who appear before her.” Letter from Ellis Horvitz, a
Democrat and one of the deans of the appellate bar in California to
the Hon.Orrin G. Hatch, September 29, 2003.
“We recommend the confirmation
of Justice Brown based on her broad range of experience, personal
integrity, good standing in the community and dedication to public
service.... In many conversations with Justice Brown, I have
discovered that she is very passionate about the plight of racial
minorities in America, based on her upbringing in the south.
Justice Brown’s views that all individuals who desire the American
dream, regardless of their race or creed, can and should succeed in
this country are consistent with MILE’s mission to ensure brighter
futures for disadvantaged youth of color.” Undated Letter from
Regis Lane, Director of Minorities in Law Enforcement, a coalition
of minority law enforcement officers in California to Orrin Hatch.
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Honorable Janice Rogers Brown
Nominee to the United
States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
to the Issues
has never publicly stated her views on the subject of abortion or
Roe v. Wade, and her personal views on this subject are irrelevant.
Her opinions demonstrate her willingness to follow Supreme Court
Unlike Justice Brown, Supreme Court
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1985 called Roe “heavy handed
judicial intervention” that “was difficult to justify.” The Senate
confirmed Justice Ginsburg to the Supreme Court 96 to 3. Those who
supported her nomination include six of the 10 Democrats currently
on the Judiciary Committee: Biden, Feingold, Feinstein, Kennedy,
Kohl, and Leahy.
Parental Consent (American Academy of
Pediatrics v. Lundgren). Justice Brown has voted to uphold a
California parental-consent abortion law, which her critics may
allege is an indication of her anti-abortion views.
Justice Brown’s opinion on California’s
parental consent statute is well within the legal mainstream. The
United States Supreme Court has routinely found these statutes
constitutional. In fact, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, – the case
that reaffirmed Roe v. Wade – the Court held that: “Our cases
establish, and we reaffirm today, that a State may require a minor
seeking an abortion to obtain the consent of a parent or guardian,
provided that there is an adequate judicial bypass procedure.”
Parental involvement in abortion
decisions is a mainstream, popular policy that is supported by an
overwhelming majority of the American people. According to a 2000
Los Angeles Times poll, 82% of the American people support
“Second Parent” adoptions. (Sharon
S. v. Superior Court). Justice Brown disagreed with the majority of
the California Supreme Court that the California legislature had
authorized “second parent adoptions” – i.e., where the “birth
parent” allows another adult to become an “adoptive parent” without
surrendering his or her own parental rights and responsibilities.
The majority’s ruling in the case was
unprecedented. No other jurisdiction in the United States permits
more than two adults to serve as parents to a child. As Justice
Baxter pointed out in his partial concurrence and dissent, “This
makes new law, not only here but nationwide.”
• Justice Brown’s conclusion was based on
her belief that courts should defer to the expressed intent of the
legislature. And the California legislature, in no uncertain terms,
had ruled out the possibility of “second parent adoptions.
California law states: “The birth parents of an adopted child are,
from the time of the adoption, relieved of all parental duties
towards, and all responsibility for, the adopted child, and have no
right over the child.”
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Hi-Voltage Wire Works case, Justice Brown powerfully wrote that
“discrimination on the basis of race is illegal, immoral,
unconstitutional, inherently wrong, and destructive of democratic
society.” Her judicial decisions repeatedly demonstrate her firm
commitment to this bedrock principle of civil rights. She has also
held true to anti-discrimination principles in cases involving
claims of age and disability discrimination.
Justice Brown has let stand large
damage awards under California’s fair employment law. In one
such case, Aguilar v. Avis Rent-a-Car Systems, Justice Brown
forcefully stated that “plaintiffs should not be subjected to racial
invectives in the workplace,” and she described the defendant’s
workplace comments as “disgusting” “offensive” and “abhorrent.”
Discharge in Violation of Public Policy Cases (Konig, City of
Moorpark, and Stevenson). Justice Brown fearlessly opposed attempts
to circumvent the carefully designed administrative procedures under
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which the
California legislature established to eradicate unlawful
In each of
these three cases, Justice Brown wrote separately, but agreed with
the majority that the plaintiffs in these race, disability and age
discrimination cases could pursue their discrimination claims under
FEHA and receive full recovery.
Action (Hi-Voltage). Justice Brown has been wrongfully accused of
categorically opposing affirmative action. In the famous Hi-Voltage
Wire Works case, every judge at every stage of the litigation –
including the trial court, intermediate appellate court, and the
California Supreme Court – agreed with the result reached by Justice
bi-partisan group of California law professors has written that they
unanimously agree that Justice Brown reached the legally correct
result: “The holding in Hi-Voltage – disallowing race and
gender-based contracting preferences by the State – is a faithful
application of California’s constitutional instruction . . . .”
Letter to Chairman Hatch from California Law Professors, October 15,
also specifically wrote in the Hi-Voltage Wire Works case that
“equal protection does not preclude race-conscious programs.”
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Justice Brown’s decisions regarding
consumers’ rights and other related issues demonstrate that she
approaches cases by following the law wherever it leads her, without
regard to the background or identity of the litigants.
has authored and concurred in numerous opinions protecting the
rights of ordinary consumers. For instance, she has ruled in favor
of plaintiffs in cases involving fraud claims against cigarette
companies, allegations of elder abuse, claims that drinking water
was tainted by harmful chemicals, wrongful death claims, and tort
claims by victims of various acts of negligence. See Attachment A.
Competition Law cases (Stop Youth Addiction Inc. and Quelimane). In
a series of cases, Justice Brown has demonstrated her willingness to
protect small businesses and consumers who ultimately bear the
expense of the abusive use of California’s unfair competition law.
In Stop Youth
Addiction Inc., Justice Brown would have dismissed the claims of a
for-profit corporation whose only business is filing lawsuits, and
whose sole shareholder is the mother of the corporation’s lawyer.
This sham corporation filed eight identical lawsuits in multiple
venues seeking more than $50 billion in restitution against some
2000 defendants, many of whom are small retailers.
Damages Cap case (Lane v. Hughes Aircraft Co.). Justice Brown has
been criticized because she adopted the mainstream and widely-held
notion that punitive damages should be capped at some multiple of
compensatory damages. Her opinion demonstrates that, as a judge,
she believes in “proportionality” and strives to ensure that the
punishment fits the crime.
she issued her opinion in Lane, the United States Supreme Court
vindicated her position in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
Company v. Campbell and similarly held that a ratio of more than
4-to-1 “might be close to the line of constitutional impropriety.”
Childhood Lead Poisoning Protection Act
(Sinclair Paint Co.). The California Constitution, as amended by
Prop. 13, requires that new taxes be imposed by a two-thirds vote of
the legislature. The program at issue was to be funded by an
“assessment” against manufacturers whose products contain lead, but
was passed by only a simple majority of the legislature.
Writing for a
unanimous Court of Appeals, Justice Brown applied precedent,
recognized the assessment for what it truly is, and determined that
it is a “tax” within the meaning of Prop. 13. The majority simply
liked the program, so they said the line between “taxes” and “fees”
is “blurred” and upheld the assessment.
Co. was not about whether children should be protected from lead
poisoning. Justice Brown did not dispute that the goals of the
program were beneficial. She merely held that it was funded in a
manner that violated the California Constitution. Under Justice
Brown’s opinion, the California legislature could have funded the
program out of general appropriations or any in number of lawful
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JuJustice Brown’s criminal law decisions
demonstrate that she is an impartial and even-handed jurist who has
a strong and solid commitment to the rule of law. She has an
impressive record of deciding cases not only based on the law as
propounded by the Legislature, but also of applying controlling
court precedent – even in situations where the law compelled her to
take an unpopular position.
Stun Belt case (People v. Mar). In dissent, Justice Brown
argued that because a defendant had not demonstrated that he was in
any way prejudiced by use of a stun belt at trial – a showing he was
required to make – the Court should not overturn his conviction for
assaulting a police officer.
The use of the
stun belt in this case was reasonable, given that the defendant’s
own attorney argued that the defendant was incompetent, that he was
incapable of having rational conversations with counsel, that his
behavior was “explosive,” and that he was psychotic.
and state courts have upheld the use of stun belts at trial,
including the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth,
Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuits, and state appeals courts in
Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota and Washington.
Consent” Rape case (In re John Z.). After evaluating the facts in
the record in a rape case, Justice Brown dissented and contended
that the prosecution could not show the absence of a reasonable
doubt regarding the defendant’s reasonable and honest belief that
the victim had withdrawn her consent, as required under California
Justice Brown fully recognizes that women have an absolute
right to refuse or end an act of sexual intercourse. She began her
dissent by noting: “A woman has an absolute right to say ‘no’ to an
act of sexual intercourse. After intercourse has commenced, she has
the absolute right to call a halt and say ‘no more,’ and if she is
compelled to continue, a forcible rape is committed.
Respected legal and political commentators have
criticized the majority opinion in the John Z. case. See Robert
Shapiro, “Prejudice: Advance Sheet,”
Bar Association), Spring 2003 at 61; Debra J. Saunders, “Not
As She Does,” S.F. Chron.,
January 12, 2003 at D5.
Fourth Amendment and Death Penalty. Justice Brown has demonstrated
her respect of Fourth Amendment rights throughout her tenure on the
judge, and has authored opinions reversing verdicts or sentences for
in a separate opinion, Justice Brown argued for the exclusion of
evidence of drug possession that was discovered after the defendant
was arrested for riding his bicycle the wrong way on a residential
street, suggesting the possibility of racial profiling.
authored an opinion in In re Brown reversing a verdict and death
sentence in a case where the prosecutor deprived the defendant of a
fair trial by failing to both discover and disclose an arguably
exculpatory blood test.
In another case,
Justice Brown dissented from the majority opinion, arguing that a
defendant’s death sentence should be set aside on grounds of
ineffective assistance of counsel. See In re Visciotti, 926 P.2d
987, 1010-12 (Cal. 1996).
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Justice Brown has a
demonstrated record of protecting free speech and her opinions
reflect a thoughtful consideration of the often-difficult issues
that arise in First Amendment cases.
(Nike v. Kasky). Justice Brown dissented from her colleagues’ view
that Nike could be sued under California law for inaccurate comments
it made in defending the company’s overseas labor practices. Well
within the mainstream, Justice Brown believed that the California
statute authorizing the lawsuit unconstitutionally burdened free
commentators and groups and several major newspapers agreed with
Justice Brown’s views. Liberal Harvard Law School professor
Lawrence Tribe represented Nike in the case. The ACLU and AFL-CIO
filed amicus briefs that sided with Nike
boards of the USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and
Chicago Tribune all supported Justice Brown’s position in the case.
One paper noted that the California Supreme Court opinion threatened
to chill free speech by corporations and others by allowing
“censorship by lawsuit” rather than “more speech, which invariably
exposes the truth.”
(People ex rel Gallo). Justice Brown, writing for a majority of
the California Supreme Court, upheld an injunction sought by the
city of San Jose barring gang members from intimidating, harassing,
threatening or assaulting persons within a four-block area, from
associating with one another and from creating a public nuisance in
their crime-riddled neighborhood.
her detractors, Justice Brown’s opinion “denied the First Amendment
rights of Latino youths to peaceful assembly.” According to the
facts of the case, far from engaging in “peaceful assembly”, gang
members in the Rocksprings neighborhood of San Jose openly drank,
smoked marijuana, snorted cocaine from the hoods of cars, used yards
and garages as urinals, sold drugs, engaged in fistfights and
gunfights, and harassed, intimidated and retaliated against
neighbors who dared complain to the police.
the Mayor of San Jose, a Democrat and self-described “longtime
member of the ACLU” supported the injunctions, which later were used
statewide to end gang activity.
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PROPERTY AND ECONOMIC RIGHTS
Justice Brown’s speeches evince a strong belief in individual
property rights. However, her opinions as a judge reflect a strict
adherence to binding precedent and a respect for the principles of
In a 2000 speech, Justice Brown criticized Justice Oliver Wendell
Holmes dissent in the Lochner case, where Holmes noted that “the
constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory,
whether of paternalism and the organic relation of the citizen to
the State or of laissez faire.” In Justice Brown’s view, the
Founders indeed intended to address economic rights when they
drafted the Constitution– they protected private property rights
through the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause.
Opponents of Justice Brown have seized upon
this quote to suggest that she supports the majority’s
long-since-discredited view in Lochner that the 14th Amendment's Due
Process Clause barred states from regulating in the area of employee
wage and hour limitations, because individuals have a fundamental
right to contract with employers, and states cannot interfere with
Justice Brown has been openly critical of Lochner, noting in another
opinion that “the Lochner court was justly criticized for using the
due process clause ‘as though it provided a blank check to alter the
meaning of the Constitution as written.’” Santa Monica Beach, Ltd.
v. Superior Court, 968 P.2d 993, 1026 n.3 (Cal. 1999) (Brown, J.,
critics also fail to point out that the Supreme Court itself has
expressed the view that property rights are intended to carry the
same weight and import as other rights found in the Constitution.
In the Dolan case, the Court noted that “we see no reason why the
Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, as much a part of the Bill of
Rights as the First or Fourth Amendment, should be relegated to the
status of a poor relation...”
case. (San Remo Hotel). Justice Brown dissented from an opinion
upholding a local San Francisco ordinance designed to maintain the
city’s stock of low-income housing. Under the ordinance, hotel
owners who wished to convert rooms from long-term to short-term use
were required either to pay a fee or replace the long-term units
that would be lost by conversion.
Brown’s view, requiring hotel owners to maintain and use their
property for the benefit of the poor, thereby decreasing the value
of the property, amounted to an unconstitutional taking.
adhered strictly to United States Supreme Court precedent in the
area of takings law. It was consistent with the Supreme Court’s
holdings in Nollan and Dolan, as well as Erlich, a California
Supreme Court takings case.
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• Justice Brown is known to her colleagues as
a hard-working, intellectually gifted and personable judge. Any efforts
to characterize her as lacking the proper judicial temperament are
A bi-partisan group of her current and
former colleagues have written in support of her nomination, calling her
a “superb judge” and “extremely intelligent, keenly analytical, and very
In 2002, Justice Brown was called upon by
her colleagues to write the majority opinion for the California Supreme
Court more times than any other Justice on that court, a sign of respect
by her colleagues for her writing ability and top-notch work ethic.
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decisions regarding workers’ rights demonstrate that she approaches
cases by deferring to the policy choices that the legislature enacts
into positive law, refraining from substituting her views for those of
the legislature, and adhering faithfully to binding precedent issued by
the United States Supreme Court.
Justice Brown has authored and concurred in numerous opinions
protecting the rights of average working Americans. For instance,
she has ruled in favor of plaintiffs in cases involving exposure to
asbestos, one-sided arbitration agreements, disability benefits, access
to personnel files, wrongful termination, retaliation, workers
compensation, overtime pay, and calculation of pension payments.
See Attachment B.
(Little v. Auto Stiegler). Justice Brown agreed with the majority that
the appellate arbitration provision in the arbitration agreement – which
allowed appeals only of awards greater than $50,000 – was unconscionable
because it “inordinately benefits defendants” and should be severed.
Justice Brown departed from the majority
because they imposed burdensome conditions upon arbitrations. Justice
Brown’s opinion is yet another reminder that she defers to the policy
choices made by the legislature. Justice Brown understood that by
imposing restrictions on arbitrations that have no congressional or
legislative basis, the majority approach not only undermined the
“liberal federal policy favoring arbitration,” but also contravenes
California’s “strong public policy in favor of arbitration as a speedy
and relatively inexpensive means of dispute resolution.”
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Brown and Consumer Protection Case Justice Brown has authored and
concurred in numerous opinions protecting the rights of ordinary
In Naegele v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Justice Brown wrote that a
state statute granting tobacco manufacturers immunity for certain
products liability actions does not bar fraud claims alleging
that the defendants manipulated the addictive properties of cigarettes
via additives and that the defendants controlled nicotine delivery to
smokers by adding ammonia. 28 Cal.4th 856 (2002).
In People ex rel. Lockyer v. Shamrock Foods, Justice Brown joined in an
opinion holding that the more stringent state standard for identifying
and labeling milk and milk products, rather than the more lenient
federal standard, applied in California. 24 Cal.4th 415 (2000).
In Schreiber v. Kiser, Justice Brown held that a plaintiff who prior to
trial fails to submit declarations of treating physicians designated as
expert witnesses is not precluded from calling these witnesses to
testify. 22 Cal.4th 31 (1999).
In Mercado v. Leong, a medical malpractice action, Justice Brown found
that the trial court erroneously held that the mother of the patient was
not a direct victim of the physician’s negligence. Justice Brown
allowed the mother to recover for emotional distress even absent a
showing of outrageous conduct on the part of the physician. 43
Cal.App.4th 317 (1996).
In Olszewski v. Scripps Health, Justice Brown held that Federal Medicaid
law preempts a provision of the Medi-Cal law that authorizes
hospitals to place a lien on any recovery a beneficiary might
obtain from a third party tortfeasor. 30 Cal.4th 798 (2003).
In Lockheed v. Superior Court, Justice Brown held that medical
monitoring claims are susceptible to class action treatment. 29
Cal.4th 995 (2001).
In Delaney v. Baker, Justice Brown held that, in an action under the
Elder Abuse Act, the plaintiff is not limited to the remedies
otherwise available against health care providers under MICRA. 20
Cal.4th 23 (1999).
In Myers v. Phillip Morris Companies, Justice Brown joined in an opinion
holding that,although the California Legislature statutorily granted
tobacco companies immunity from personal injury actions between January
1, 1988, and January 1, 1998, they are liable for injury sustained or
discovered before or after that period. 28 Cal.4th 828 (2002).
In Hartwell Corp. v. Superior Court, Justice Brown joined in an opinion
permitting plaintiffs to proceed with certain causes of action against
both regulated and unregulated water utilities for injuries caused by
harmful chemicals in water. 27 Cal.4th 256 (2002).
In Samuels v. Mix, Justice Brown joined in an opinion holding that In an
action for legal malpractice in which the defendant asserted a statute
of limitations defense, the Court determined that the defendant, not the
plaintiff, had the burden of proof that the action was untimely.
22 Cal.4th 1 (1999).
In Bockrath v. Aldrich Chemical Co., Justice Brown joined in an opinion
holding that, in an action for personal injury caused by exposure to
toxic chemicals over an extended period of time, the plaintiff was
entitled to a second opportunity to plead causation with the required
specificity since the current standard had not been articulated by the
Court at the time he originally filed his complaint. 21 Cal.4th 71
In Salgado v. County of Los Angeles, Justice Brown joined in an opinion
holding that plaintiff – a victim of medical malpractice in conjunction
with his birth – was entitled to periodic payments of future
non-economic damages totaling, over time, the equivalent in current
dollars of an immediate lump-sum award rather than a reduced amount used
to purchase an annuity. 19 Cal.4th 629 (1998).
In Hess v. Ford Motor Co., Justice Brown has held that a settlement
agreement between an injured passenger and the driver – which released
the driver, his insurer, and “all other persons, firms, corporations,
and associations or partnerships” – did not bar the plaintiff’s
action against the vehicle manufacturer. 27 Cal.4th 516 (2002).
In Garcia v. McCutchen, Justice Brown joined in an opinion holding that
trial courts do not have authority to dismiss an action for
noncompliance with local “fast track” rules when noncompliance is the
responsibility of counsel and not of the litigant. 16 Cal.4th 469
In Russell v. Stanford University Hospital, Justice Brown joined in an
opinion holding that, under the applicable statute of limitation, a
plaintiff is entitled to a full 90-day “notice” period in addition to
the one- or three-year limitations period even if the complaint is filed
on the last day of the latter period. 15 Cal.4th 783 (1997).
In Sullivan v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., Justice Brown joined in an opinion
holding that the bar against recovery of damages for pain and suffering
in an action on behalf of a deceased plaintiff did not apply where the
plaintiff was alive at the time of the award but died while the case was
pending on appeal. 15 Cal.4th 288 (1997).
In Amex Life Assurance Company v. Superior Court, Justice Brown joined
in an opinion holding that, in light of policy’s incontestability
clause, the insurer could not assert an “imposter defense” against an
HIV-positive insured who had lied on his application and sent an
imposter to the required medical examination. 14 Cal.4th 1231
In Linder v. Thrifty Oil Co., Justice Brown joined in a ruling in favor
of class certification for a class action alleging violation of state
statutory law for the imposition of an additional charge for consumers
using credit cards to make gasoline purchases rather than paying with
cash. 23 Cal.4th 429 (2000).
In People ex rel. Lungren v. Superior Court, Justice Brown joined in an
opinion holding that the phrase “source of drinking water” in the
state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 includes
faucets allegedly containing lead, thereby permitting action by Attorney
General against faucet manufacturers. 14 Cal.4th 294 (1996).
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Justice Brown and Workers’
Justice Brown has authored and
concurred in numerous opinions
protecting the rights of
In Little v. Auto Stiegler, Justice Brown agreed that the appellate
arbitration provision in an arbitration agreement – which allowed
appeals only of awards greater than $50,000 – was unconscionable because
it “inordinately benefits defendants.” 63 P.3d 979 (2003).
In Hamilton v. Asbestos Corp., Justice Brown ruled that the statute of
limitations runs from the date the plaintiff discovered that his
disability was caused by asbestos injury, not from the date of the
injury. 22 Cal.4th 1127 (2000).
In McKown v. Wal-Mart Stores, Justice Brown held that the hirer of an
independent contractor is liable for injury to the independent
contractor’s employee caused by the hirer’s negligent provision of
unsafe equipment. 27 Cal.4th 219 (2002).
In County of Riverside v. Superior Court, Justice Brown held that, under
the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights, a peace officer is
entitled to view adverse comments in his personnel file and file a
written response to a background investigation during probationary
employment. 27 Cal.4th 793 (2002)
In Pearl v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Justice Brown joined in
an opinion holding that, in making its determination of industrial
causation for a worker’s injury in a case arising under the Public
Employees’ Retirement Law, the WCAB should not apply the more stringent
standard of workers’ compensation law. 26 Cal.4th 189 (2001).
In Guz v. Bechtel National, Justice Brown joined in an opinion holding
that an employee could proceed with various contractual causes of action
because written company policies and guidelines guaranteed fair layoff
protections. 24 Cal.4th 317 (2000).
In White v. Ultramar, Inc., Justice Brown joined in an opinion holding
that a supervisor who had broad discretionary powers and exercised
substantial discretionary authority within a corporation could be
considered a “managing agency” under a state statute authorizing an
award of punitive damages for wrongful retaliatory termination. 21
Cal.4th 563 (1999).
In Ramirez v. Yosemite Water Co., Justice Brown joined in an opinion
holding that the state courts should not rely on federal regulations or
interpretations less favorable to employees in construing state
regulations regarding overtime pay. 20 Cal.4th 785 (1999).
In Cuadra v. Millan, Justice Brown joined in an opinion holding that the
Labor Commissioner must calculate a backpay award from the date of the
filing of a complaint, rather than the later date of the hearing on the
complaint. 17 Cal.4th 855 (1998).
In State Farm v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Justice Brown
joined in an opinion holding that the definition of “employee” for
invoking workers’ compensation coverage under a comprehensive general
liability policy is broader than the definition under general workers’
compensation law. 16 Cal.4th 1187 (1997).
In Avalon Bay v. Workers Comp. Appeals Bd., Justice Brown agreed that
the 60-day time period for payment of medical benefits applies to the
cost of transportation to obtain medical treatment. 18 Cal.4th 1165
In Ventura Cty. Deputy Sheriffs’ Assoc. v. Bd. of Retirement, Justice
Brown joined in an opinion holding that even if certain types of
compensation are “compensation earnable” and “final compensation,” thus
entitling an employee to a higher pension benefit. 16 Cal.4th 483
In Phelps v. Stostad, Justice Brown joined in an opinion holding that
the plaintiff was entitled to recover his costs, including attorney
fees, event though he did not recover an amount equal to a nonbinding
arbitration award. 16 Cal.4th 23 (1997).
In Mullins v. Rockwell International Corp., an action for constructive
unlawful discharge, Justice Brown joined in an opinion holding that the
statute of limitations runs from the date the employee actually ceases
his employment, not from the occurrence of the intolerable working
conditions that give rise to the constructive discharge. 15 Cal.4th
In Romano v. Rockwell International Corp., Justice Brown joined in an
opinion holding that, in a wrongful termination action, the statute of
limitations runs from the date termination actually occurs, not from the
date the employee is given notice he will be terminated. 14 Cal.4th 479
In Colmenares v. Braemar Country Club, Justice Brown joined in an
opinion holding that, in an action by an employee for disability
discrimination, the more lenient state standard should apply, rather
than the more stringent federal standard. 29 Cal.4th 1019 (2003). Related