California Supreme Court Watch

Feb 24, 2021
Brennon B. v. Superior Court, S266254.

#21-87 Brennon B. v. Superior Court, S266254. (A157026; 57 Cal.App.5th 367; Contra Costa County Superior Court; MSC1601005.) Petition for review after the Court of Appeal denied a petition for peremptory writ of mandate. This case presents the following issues: (1) Is a public school district a “business establishment” within the meaning of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51)? (2) Even if a public school district is not a “business establishment” under that Act, can it nevertheless be sued under the Act when the alleged discriminatory conduct is actionable under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.)?

Review granted: 2/24/2021

Case fully briefed: 8/16/2021

Cause argued and submitted: 5/24/2022

Opinion filed: Judgment affirmed in full: 8/04/2022

See the Court of Appeal Opinion.

See the Petition for Review.

See the Oral Argument.

See the California Supreme Court Opinion.  (Brennon B. v. Superior Court (2022) 13 Cal.5th 662.)

“In 2016, [Brennon B.’s] guardian sued the [West Contra Costa Unified School] District on his behalf, asserting various claims arising out of Brennon’s experiences at De Anza High School; those claims included allegations the District had violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, § 51; the Unruh Civil Rights Act or the Act).

The question before us is whether a plaintiff who asserts such claims can hold a public school district liable under the Act and thus avail him- or herself of the enhanced remedies — particularly statutory penalties and attorney fees — it makes available. For the reasons set forth below, we hold that Unruh Civil Rights Act liability is not available in such circumstances. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeal denying Brennon’s petition for writ of mandate is affirmed.”

Justice Groban authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Corrigan, Liu, Kruger, Jenkins, and Guerrero concurred.