Justia Immigration Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in California Courts of Appeal
State of Cal. v. Alco Harvest
Plaintiff is a foreign worker hired by defendant Alco Harvesting LLC to work at farms owned by defendant and appellant Betteravia Farms. He later brought employment claims against appellants. Alco moved to compel arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement presented to and signed by Plaintiff at his orientation. The trial court found the agreement void and denied the motion. It considered arbitration a “material term and condition” of Plaintiff’s employment and as such, a job requirement that Alco should have disclosed during the H-2A certification process. The Second Appellate District affirmed. The court explained that Alco’s arbitration agreement required Plaintiff to forfeit his right to a jury trial in “any claim, dispute and/or controversy that [any] Employee may have against the Company . . . arising from, relating to or having any relationship or connection whatsoever with [or to the] Employee’s . . . employment by, or other association with the Company . . . .” The arbitration agreement also prohibited him from participating in any class action claims against Alco. Thus, the court considered the relinquishing of these rights as “material terms and conditions” of his employment. View "State of Cal. v. Alco Harvest" on Justia Law
California v. Coca
The San Bernardino County District Attorney (the District Attorney) appealed a trial court order granting Karla Coca’s petition under Penal Code section 1473.7 to vacate a misdemeanor conviction. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded Coca failed to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that “the conviction . . . being challenged is currently causing or has the potential to cause removal or the denial of an application for an immigration benefit, lawful status, or naturalization.” The Court accordingly reversed the order. View "California v. Coca" on Justia Law
Immigrant Rights Defense etc. v. Hudson Insurance Co.
Appellant is a self-described “watchdog association” that brings actions for injunctive relief against immigration consultants under section 22446.5, which provides a right of action against an immigration consultant to anyone who suffers damages by reason of the immigration consultant’s fraud, misrepresentation, or failure to provide services.In October 2017, Appellant brought over 90 actions against immigration consultants, two of whom had bonds issued by Appellee insurance company. After Appellant prevailed at trial against the consultants, it filed suit against Appellee to recover its attorney fees and costs against the Immigration Consultant Act bond. The trial court granted summary judgment in the insurance company's favor.On appeal, the Second Appellate District affirmed, explaining a surety issuing a statutory bond is liable only to the extent indicated in the code section under which the surety executes the bond and under the plain language of the relevant bond statutes, a non-aggrieved person who suffers no damages is not entitled to recovery from an Immigration Consultant Act bond. View "Immigrant Rights Defense etc. v. Hudson Insurance Co." on Justia Law
P. v. Lopez
Appellant appealed the denial of his motion to withdraw his plea and vacate his conviction pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7, subdivision (a). The Legislature has declared that section 1473.7, as amended by Assembly Bill No. 2867, “shall be interpreted in the interests of justice and consistent with the findings and declarations made in Section 1016.2 of the Penal Code.” (Stats 2018, ch. 825, Section 1, subd. (c).) As a result, the Second Appellate District reversed the trial court’s order denying Appellant’s motion to withdraw his plea and vacate his conviction under Penal Code section 1473.7. The court remanded to the superior court with directions to grant the motion and vacate the conviction. The court concluded that Appellant has demonstrated a reasonable probability that if he had been properly advised of the immigration consequences of his plea, he would not have pleaded no contest to an offense that would subject him to mandatory deportation from the United States. Accordingly, the court wrote, that Appellant has carried his burden of establishing prejudicial error and is entitled to relief. View "P. v. Lopez" on Justia Law
Manuel v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County
Manuel sued for wrongful termination after he was injured during the course of his employment with BrightView. The parties dispute whether Manuel’s employment was terminated in retaliation for his job injury or whether he failed to return to work due to federal immigration authorities questioning his eligibility to work in the United States. After Manuel objected to BrightView’s written discovery requests concerning his immigration status, BrightView obtained an order compelling Manuel to provide further responses to its discovery requests.The court of appeal vacated and directed the trial court to deny BrightView’s discovery motion. BrightView did not meet its burden, under Senate Bill No. 1818 (2002, codified, in part at Labor Code section 1171.5), to show that inquiry into his immigration status was necessary to comply with federal immigration law. Senate Bill 1818 declared that “[a]ll protections, rights, and remedies available under state law, except any reinstatement remedy prohibited by federal law, are available to all individuals regardless of immigration status who have applied for employment, or who are or who have been employed, in this state." A former employee’s status as an unauthorized worker is not a complete defense to a claim of wrongful termination. BrightView may not propound discovery inquiring into Manuel’s immigration status absent any showing of clear and convincing evidence that Manuel is seeking remedies for wrongful termination in violation of federal immigration law. View "Manuel v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County" on Justia Law
California v. Gregor
Defendant Andrew Gregor, a naturalized citizen from Australia, pleaded guilty to a felony sex offense that was later reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed after early termination of probation. After he was informed he was not able to sponsor his father for a family visa due to this conviction, defendant filed a motion pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.7 and sought to withdraw his plea claiming he was unable to meaningfully understand, defend against, or knowingly accept the adverse immigration consequences of his conviction. The trial court denied the motion; defendant appealed. Finding no reversible error in that judgment, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "California v. Gregor" on Justia Law
People v. North River Insurance Co.
Bonds posted a $200,000 bail bond for Quinones-Arias. North was the surety and guaranteed the defendant’s appearance. Quinones-Arias did not appear at a plea hearing on December 17, 2018. The court declared the bond forfeited and issued a $200,000 bench warrant. A notice of forfeiture was mailed to the companies, advising that the forfeiture would become final on July 14, 2019 (180 days plus five days for mailing) unless the defendant is surrendered. On July 8, 2019, Bonds moved to toll the 180-day period based on temporary disability (Pen. Code 1305(e)), or alternatively to extend the time to return Quinones-Arias to court. (1305.4), arguing that Quinones-Arias’s detention and deportation constituted a temporary disability. A bail agent is entitled to tolling during a period of disability and for a reasonable time thereafter. The prosecutor stated that the Department of Homeland Security indicated that Quinones-Arias was not deported but voluntarily departed. The court denied the motion, finding that Quinones-Arias had voluntarily left the country and the bail agent had made no effort to return or surrender Quinones-Arias, or request his extradition.The court of appeal reversed, noting the state’s concession that Quinones-Arias was under a temporary disability when he failed to appear and the disability continued throughout the 180-day appearance period. View "People v. North River Insurance Co." on Justia Law
P. v. Manzanilla
In 2014, Defendant was convicted of one count of injuring a cohabitant resulting in a traumatic condition under Penal Code section 273.5 after he entered a guilty plea to the offense. Shortly after his conviction, Defendant sought to revoke his plea on the ground that he wanted to secure an "immigration safe" plea, as he was fearful that a felony conviction would impact his status as a lawful permanent resident. The court denied Defendant's request.Subsequently, Defendant filed another motion to vacate under Penal Code section 1473.7, claiming that he would not have taken the plea had he known about the immigration consequences. Despite the prosecution agreeing to offer Defendant a misdemeanor in lieu of a felony, the court rejected Defendant's request. Defendant appealed.The Second Appellate District reversed. Section 1473.7 permits a court to grant a motion to vacate based on prejudicial error that doesn't necessarily rise to the level of ineffective assistance of counsel. The court held that Defendant demonstrated prejudicial error under Penal Code 1473.7 based on 1.) counsel's failure to advise him of the immigration consequences of his plea, 2.) counsel's failure to defend against deportation, and 3.) Defendant's subjective understanding of the consequences of his plea. Thus, the lower court erred in denying Defendant's motion to vacate. View "P. v. Manzanilla" on Justia Law
P. v. Garcia
Defendant was charged with felony counts of sale/transportation/offer to sell a controlled substance (count 1) and possession for sale of a controlled substance (count 2). He pled guilty to count 1, offer to sell oxycodone in exchange for 36 months of formal probation with the service of 180 days in county jail. Count 2 was dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement. Defendant’s attorney and the trial court advised him at that time that he would be deported based on his negotiated plea. Seven years later he found himself the subject of deportation proceedings. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion to vacate his conviction. The trial court factually found Defendant's credibility to be “severely lacking,” and his declaration was “deceptively phrased” to mislead the court that counsel had not recommended Defendant meet with an immigration attorney when counsel had, in fact, consulted with Defendant's immigration attorney. The Second Appellate District affirmed and found that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion. The court explained that the plain and unambiguous language contained in the Felony Disposition Statement states: “If I am not a citizen and am pleading guilty to . . . a controlled substance offense, . . . I will be deported.” The court explained that even on independent review, Defendant’s contentions fail. At the time of the plea proceeding, Defendant had lived in the United States for approximately seven years with his family. The contemplation of his life in Mexico, contemporaneous with his guilty plea, is persuasive evidence Defendant knew he would be deported. View "P. v. Garcia" on Justia Law
Von Herrmann v. Super. Ct.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) entered into a contract with the City of Holtville (City) to detain noncitizens at the Imperial Regional Detention Facility (Facility). The City did not own the Facility, so the City subcontracted its detention responsibilities to the Facility’s owner. The owner did not operate the facility, so the owner subcontracted its responsibilities (with ICE’s approval) to a private operator, real party in interest Management & Training Corporation (Operator). Petitioner Anna Von Herrmann served the Operator with a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request regarding the Facility. Operator refused to comply, reasoning it was not subject to the CPRA because it did not have a contract directly with the City, and, thus, the Facility was not one that “detains a noncitizen pursuant to a contract with a city.” Alternatively, Operator contended several CPRA exemptions applied. Petitioner sought a writ of mandate from the trial court compelling Operator to comply with the CPRA request, but the court agreed with Operator’s interpretation of California Civil Code section 1670.9(c) and denied the petition without reaching Operator’s CPRA exemption claims. The Court of Appeal agreed the trial court construed section 1670.9(c) too narrowly as applying the CPRA only to an entity that contracts directly with a city to detain noncitizens. "[T]he structure of section 1670.9 as a whole, indicate the Legislature intended for the CPRA to apply to immigration detention facilities on a facility-wide basis rather than an entity-specific basis." The Court issued a writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate its order denying the petition and to enter a new order granting it, subject to resolution of Operator’s CPRA exemption claims. View "Von Herrmann v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law