U.S. Supreme Court

California Department of Justice Investigating Fontana Police Department Officer-Involved Shooting Under AB 1506

November 13, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

**The information provided below is based on preliminary details regarding an ongoing investigation, which may continue to evolve**

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced that the California Department of Justice (DOJ), pursuant to Assembly Bill 1506 (AB 1506), is investigating and will independently review an officer-involved shooting (OIS) that occurred in Fontana, California on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at approximately 8 p.m. The OIS incident resulted in the death of one individual and reportedly occurred as officers with the Fontana Police Department responded to a call for assistance regarding disturbing the peace at a residence.

Following notification by local authorities, DOJ’s California Police Shooting Investigation Team initiated an investigation in accordance with AB 1506 mandates. Upon completion of the investigation, it will be turned over to DOJ’s Special Prosecutions Section within the Criminal Law Division for independent review.

More information on the California Department of Justice’s role and responsibilities under AB 1506 is available here: https://oag.ca.gov/ois-incidents

 

Attorney General Bonta Voices Support for LGBTQ+ Community Following Unfavorable U.S. Supreme Court Decision

June 30, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

 

OAKLAND – In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, California Attorney General Rob Bonta reiterated his unyielding commitment to LGBTQ+ rights. Attorney General Bonta criticized the ruling, which denies equal access to public businesses for LGBTQ+ individuals. In August 2022, Bonta joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in submitting an amicus brief, urging the Supreme Court to reject a challenge to the State of Colorado’s public accommodations law.

“California’s unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community remains steadfast even in the face of today's disheartening decision," said Attorney General Bonta. "We unequivocally reject any form of discrimination. While this ruling is a setback, we will continue and redouble our pursuit of equality for all.”

In 303 Creative, Lorie Smith, owner of a graphic design firm, sought to exclude same-sex couples from her provision of wedding website design services based on her religious beliefs. That exclusion would have violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), which prohibits businesses serving the public from discriminating on multiple grounds, including sexual orientation. Smith filed a lawsuit in federal court contesting the constitutionality of CADA on First Amendment grounds. The district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rejected that theory, but today the Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the First Amendment prohibits Colorado from requiring Smith to offer wedding website design services to same-sex couples.

Historically, the law has required businesses that serve the public to treat all customers equally. After the Civil War, many states, including Colorado, enacted this common law principle into statute. Today, most states have laws prohibiting businesses from discriminating against customers based on characteristics like race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. These laws ensure that everyone, irrespective of their background or identity, can access goods and services without fear of exclusion. This is particularly important for the LGBTQ+ community, which is often the target of discrimination. Today’s unfortunate ruling undermines the effectiveness of these laws, but Attorney General Bonta remains committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ individuals can access goods and services on the same terms as the rest of the public.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision can be accessed here.

Attorney General Bonta: California Will Ensure Equal Access to Education, Despite U.S. Supreme Court Rulings on Higher Education Admissions

June 29, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina. In significant rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that race-based preferences in the admissions policies of both universities are unconstitutional.

“Today’s Supreme Court decisions have far-reaching implications for diversity and equal opportunity in higher education, said Attorney General Bonta. “I am deeply disappointed about the potential impact on ongoing efforts to create inclusive learning environments. Today’s rulings will make it harder to achieve that goal. California has long recognized the value of diversity in institutions of higher learning. While the ruling narrows the scope of permissible consideration of race in admissions, it does not diminish our resolve to pursue policies and practices that ensure equal access and opportunities for all students. I remain committed to working with educational institutions, community leaders, and stakeholders to find innovative solutions that promote diversity, equality, and inclusion.”

Attorney General Bonta joined a multi-state amicus brief in support of education access for underserved communities in Philadelphia. He also joined a multistate coalition to reduce barriers to education for underrepresented student groups. Attorney General Bonta remains committed to exploring innovative approaches to ensure equal opportunities for all students and to dismantle barriers that hinder their success. 

Attorney General Bonta Joins Multistate Coalition in Defense of Respect and Privacy for Transgender Students

June 28, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

 

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general in an amicus brief in support of the Ludlow School Committee’s efforts to create a safe and supportive environment for transgender children and all students. The Ludlow School Committee in Massachusetts is currently facing a challenge to its policy that seeks to prevent the unnecessary disclosure of a student’s gender identity, while also striving to include families in creating a safe school environment for transgender students. In the friend-of-the-court brief, the attorneys general reiterate the role of states in supporting safe, inclusive school environments that help all children learn, thrive, and grow into contributing members of society.

“All students, including those who identify as transgender, deserve a safe and supportive school environment that respects their identities,” said Attorney General Bonta. “We believe in nurturing a culture of understanding and acceptance that keeps students feeling safe, diminishes mental health risks, and sets up all students for success. At the California Department of Justice, we continue to uphold the rights of all students, including those from the LGBTQ+ community.”

Ludlow School Committee and its members, like other school authorities around the country, are charged with one of the most important functions of government — nurturing successive generations of children into capable citizens. In recognition of the paramount importance of this responsibility, courts have long afforded state and local governments significant discretion to shape school policies in order to best serve this goal, so long as they act within the constraints of federal law, including both the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination law. In the current case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the coalition asserts that Ludlow School Committee has exercised its lawful discretion to craft a policy to support transgender or gender-nonconforming students. The policy balances parents’ involvement in their child’s education with the recognition that not all families are supportive, and not all students are open about their gender identity at home. The policy endeavors to keep transgender students supported and safe while at school and at home. In addition, research shows that protecting transgender students’ ability to make choices about how and when to inform others is critical to their well-being, as transgender students are exposed to high levels of harassment and mistreatment at school and in their communities. 

In the amicus brief, the coalition asserts: 

  • States have an interest in making schools a safe and supportive environment for all youth, including transgender youth.
  • All students benefit from safe and supportive schools.
  • Transgender youth face unique struggles that are addressed through a safe and supportive school environment, and a policy that protects their privacy and preserves their trust increases their academic success and lowers their risk of missing school, dropping out, or committing suicide.
  • The plaintiffs’ proposed framework creates significant burdens on state and local governments' ability to fulfill the mission of their schools. 
  • The appellate court should uphold the district court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiffs’ challenge to Ludlow School Committee’s policy.

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

Attorney General Bonta Announces Lawsuit Against Telecommunications Company over Billions of Illegal Robocalls

May 23, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

An Estimated 577 Million Robocalls Sent to California Telephone Numbers on National Do Not Call Registry 

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, as part of a bipartisan coalition of 49 attorneys general, announced a lawsuit against Avid Telecom for allegedly initiating and facilitating billions of unlawful robocalls in California and around the country. Those robocalls included Social Security Administration scams, Medicare scams, and employment scams; two robocall examples can be found here and here. Today’s complaint is the result of efforts by the nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force, which Attorney General Bonta helped launch last year and is charged with taking legal action against telecommunications companies that perpetuate robocall traffic.

“As the People’s Attorney, I’ve been laser focused on protecting consumers since taking office, and stopping unwanted robocalls is an important bipartisan and nationwide effort,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In addition to being a daily annoyance, robocalls can and do cause real financial damage. I’m taking Avid Telecom to court for delivering not hundreds, or thousands, or millions of robocalls — but billions of robocalls. Our coalition alleges that Avid Telecom has violated federal and state laws, and we are confident that we will prevail.” 

From December 2018 to January 2023, Avid Telecom sent or attempted to transmit over 24.5 billion calls to consumers. More than 90% of those calls lasted under 15 seconds, strongly indicating that they were likely robocalls. Further, Avid Telecom sent or transmitted over 7.5 billion calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, an estimated 577,879,156 of those calls were to telephone numbers in California. Registering for the National Do Not Call Registry allows consumers to legally opt out from receiving telemarketing calls, but robocallers regularly fail to respect such legal prohibitions.

In the multistate coalition's complaint, among other misconduct, Attorney General Bonta alleges that Avid Telecom:

  • Violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits any person from making a call using an automatic telephone-dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice to any cellular telephone;
  • Violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule, which prohibits abusive and deceptive acts or practices by “sellers” or “telemarketers”; 
  • Violated the Truth in Caller ID Act, which prohibits the transmission of misleading or inaccurate caller-ID information;
  • Violated California's Unfair Competition Law, which prohibits unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business acts and practices, by transmitting a colossal number of illegal robocalls into California. 

In filing today’s complaint, Attorney General Bonta joined the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.

Attorney General Bonta Charges Organized Retail Theft Suspects with Theft of Approximately $76,000 in Goods from Home Depot Stores

April 14, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

 Suspects stole from Home Depot stores in counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego

GLENDALE— California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, along with the California Highway Patrol and other partnering agencies, announced arrests and charges against three individuals involved in a statewide organized retail theft operation targeting Home Depot locations and resulting in a total loss of over $75,000. The alleged conduct began in October 2021 and involved an organized criminal scheme in which suspects would enter stores and steal power tools and other retail items.

“Organized retail theft costs businesses, retailers, and consumers – and puts the public at risk," said Attorney General Rob Bonta. "Brazen criminal activity, such as the organized retail theft operation we have taken down today, will not be tolerated in California. I want to thank our law enforcement partners, including the California Highway Patrol, for their work in apprehending these suspects, and for our continued collaborative efforts to end organized retail theft. With these charges, we’re moving forward to hold these defendants accountable."

On April 12, 2023, The California Highway Patrol’s Southern Division Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF) investigators, with the assistance of investigators from CHP’s Border Division, and in cooperation with The Home Depot’s organized retail crime investigators served search and arrest warrants at multiple locations throughout Southern California. The alleged crimes occurred in the counties of counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego. The suspects face multiple counts of felony charges brought by the California Department of Justice, including organized retail theft, grand theft and receiving stolen property. 

California and states across the country have seen a pattern of organized retail crime. According to a 2020 national survey, U.S. retailers lose approximately $700,000 per every $1 billion in sales to organized retail crime. Attorney General has made this issue a top priority and asks the public to submit complaints and tips at oag.ca.gov/retail-theft

Attorney General Bonta and law enforcement partners throughout the state proactively collaborate to end organized retail crime. In 2021,  Attorney General Bonta brought together retailers and law enforcement to address the challenge of organized retail theft and develop strategies for combating this criminal activity head-on.  Also in 2021, Attorney General Bonta announced the sentencing of a group involved in organized retail theft in the Bay Area. In March 2022, Attorney General Bonta announced felony charges against members of a statewide organized retail theft ring and international shipping operation, and in April, announced the guilty pleas of two members of an organized retail theft ring operating throughout California targeting JCPenney and Sam's Club stores. In February 2023, Attorney General Bonta announced charges against organized retail theft suspects with theft of approximately $1 million in goods from Apple stores.

A copy of the complaint can be found here. 

 It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

 

 

Ahead of U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments, Attorney General Bonta Issues Statement in Support of Biden Administration’s Historic Student Loan Debt Relief Plan

February 28, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Under Biden Administration plan, an estimated 3.5 million Californians will receive relief

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement in support of President Biden’s ongoing efforts to provide relief for student borrowers. The statement of support comes ahead of oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court in a legal challenge to the Biden Administration’s plan to discharge between $10,000 and $20,000 in federal student loan debt for certain lower-income borrowers. This historic one-time program will provide student loan debt relief to approximately 40 million Americans, including more than 3.5 million Californians.  Attorney General Bonta, as part of a coalition of 21 state attorneys general, filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that the Secretary of Education properly exercised his statutory authority to provide targeted debt cancellation for lower-income borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ameliorate pandemic-related economic hardship and prevent spikes in defaults once student-loan repayments that were paused during the pandemic resume.

“The historic cancellation of federal student loan debt will ease the burden for millions of Californians weighed down by the cost of their higher education dreams,” said Attorney General Bonta. “This one-time program targets borrowers most impacted by the pandemic – in keeping with federal authority to make changes to student loan payments in response to national emergencies. I urge the Court to allow the Department of Education to begin providing this sorely needed measure of relief.”

The Biden Administration's student loan debt relief program is currently on hold following court decisions halting implementation of the plan. In response to those orders, the Biden Administration has extended the pause on student loan debt repayments until 60 days after the Department of Education is permitted to implement the debt relief program, the litigation is resolved, or June 30, 2023. Californians should visit studentaid.gov/debt-relief-announcement for updates on the status of the student loan debt relief program.

Attorney General Bonta is committed to protecting student loan borrowers. This month, Attorney General Bonta led a multistate coalition in support of the federal overhaul of student loan income-driven repayment programs and urged further action to address the student loan crisis. Last year, Attorney General Bonta celebrated the Department  of Education’s decision to grant federal student loan relief to 560,000 borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges after a decades-long battle by the California DOJ to hold the predatory, for-profit school accountable and to secure debt relief for the students. Attorney General Bonta obtained a judgment against Ashford University and its parent company Zovio for defrauding California students. The Attorney General also secured a multistate settlement against student loan servicer Navient resolving allegations of misconduct in the servicing and collection of federal student loans. In 2021, Attorney General Bonta announced the successful resolution of litigation against the Department of Education after the Biden Administration committed to fixing the broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs. The improvements followed a lawsuit and yearslong advocacy by California and others urging the Department of Education to take robust action to fix the program. 

 

Attorney General Bonta Joins Multistate Amicus Brief Supporting Accountability for Gun Industry

January 17, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Multistate coalition argues that states have the power to curb dangerous industry practices

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a multistate coalition in a legal effort supporting states’ rights to enact commonsense laws to protect the public from gun violence. The coalition of 18 attorneys general today filed an amicus brief in support of New York’s defense against a legal challenge to its firearm-related public nuisance statute in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The New York statute, similar to the law Attorney General Bonta championed in California — AB 1594 — restores the right of victims to hold the firearm industry responsible for its misconduct. In the amicus brief, the coalition argues that New York’s statute is in line with individual states’ longstanding authority to advance laws and policies that protect consumers from harms committed by manufacturers and sellers. In 2021, gun violence is believed to have killed nearly 49,000 people in the United States, more than in any other year on record.

“In California, we put people before profits — we won't tolerate it when companies' reckless and greedy practices endanger people’s lives,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Gun violence has left too many families broken, too many children traumatized, too many loved ones in pain — it’s time to stand up to the companies who peddle these deadly weapons. There is no reason that the gun industry should be the only industry exempt from responsibility for the harm that its products cause, especially when its products are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans each year. The California Department of Justice continues to stand with our partners across the nation in defending commonsense gun safety laws that protect communities and save lives.”

California’s AB 1594, which was sponsored by Attorney General Bonta and signed into law in July 2022, creates a pathway for Californians who have been harmed by gun violence to hold appropriate bad actors — including gun manufacturers and distributors — accountable. Under the law, if gun industry members fail to take proper precautions in their marketing and distribution to prevent their products from being used unlawfully, the Attorney General and individual Californians can file civil suits to recoup the damage from those failures. 

New York’s statute takes a similar approach to AB 1594, allowing its residents to take legal action against members of the firearm industry that violate state law. In National Shooting Sports Foundation v. James, a group of gun manufacturers and distributors filed a lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of the statute, but their motion for preliminary injunction was denied by the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. The plaintiffs are now appealing the district court’s ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

In their amicus brief supporting New York’s defense of the law in the appeals court, the attorneys general assert that state laws that provide a remedy for unlawful sale and marketing of firearms benefit the public by encouraging responsible business practices. Moreover, such statutes are a lawful exercise of state sovereign authority and are not preempted by the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which allows states to enact laws regulating firearms sales and marketing and also provide for civil lawsuits when gun manufacturers and sellers violate those laws. And finally, such laws are consistent with the U.S. Constitution’s dormant Commerce Clause, which permits states to create public-nuisance statutes to address gun violence occurring within their borders, consistent with the states’ well-established authority to regulate matters of legitimate local concern, even where interstate commerce may be affected.

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the brief can be found here.

Attorney General Bonta Conditionally Approves Sale of Madera Community Hospital to Trinity Health

December 15, 2022
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Sale will allow over 150,000 residents living in predominantly rural communities to continue receiving emergency services in their area

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today conditionally approved the sale of financially distressed Madera Community Hospital to the Trinity Health Corporation. The 106-bed hospital located in the Central Valley offers vital services to more than 150,000 residents living in Madera and its surrounding communities. Many of those residents live in rural areas and rely on the hospital for critical care, as it is the only provider of emergency and lifesaving surgical services within a 30-minute drive. The conditions of Attorney General Bonta's approval will ensure the Madera community maintains access to critical emergency and surgical services in their area. Under California law, any transaction involving the sale or transfer of control of a healthcare facility owned by a nonprofit must secure the approval of the state Attorney General.

“When it comes to accessing emergency healthcare, every minute counts,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Having a hospital in the neighborhood can make the difference between life and death for a patient. Maintaining access to critical healthcare for our communities is always our top priority. Today's conditions seek to protect the welfare of Madera County residents, and ensure they can continue to access life-saving and hospital services when they need them most.”

The sale of Madera Community Hospital was found to be a benefit to the community, the majority of whose residents live in the predominantly rural Madera County area and are from lower-income Latinx communities. Many of them may lack transportation to the nearest alternative emergency or hospital services, which are approximately a 30-minute drive away in Fresno County.

Besides emergency care, Madera Community Hospital also provides other important services to the community, including preventative and primary care services, treatment of chronic conditions, and women’s and maternal health services.

Under the terms of the sale, Trinity has committed to the following:

  1. Making financing available up to $45 million for installing and implementing a new medical records system and providing seismic upgrades to the hospital;
  2. Spending $3 million per year on other necessary investments into the hospital, including equipment upgrades

Under the terms of the conditional approval, the Attorney General has required, among other things, that Trinity:

  1. Use commercially reasonable best efforts in good faith to maintain services at the Madera Community Hospital for 5 years;
  2. Accept price caps to ensure continued affordability for Madera residents;
  3. Ensure continued certification of the hospital as a Medi-Cal and Medicare facility;
  4. Provide charity care, financial assistance to patients, and community benefits;
  5. Comply with nondiscrimination rules in the provision of healthcare services; and
  6. Provide emergency reproductive healthcare services, notice and information to the public about nonemergency reproductive healthcare not provided, as well as information about alternative licensed providers and transport

These conditions will benefit the Madera community by: 

  • Helping to ensure essential emergency care, acute hospital, and outpatient services continue for the Madera community and its rural populations, and for low-income and Medi-Cal recipients for at least five years;
  • Advancing public health and welfare for the Madera community by allowing the hospital to raise rates and revenue to stabilize its financial status;
  • Allowing improvements and upgrades for the hospital and its services along with recruitment of specialized medical professionals;
  • Ensuring emergency reproductive healthcare continues;
  • Saving lives by helping prevent the loss of the only GACH and emergency room in the county;
  • Curbing excessive prices for Medi-Cal Managed Care and Medicare Advantage, in a highly concentrated rural-like market for at least five years; and
  • Curbing excessive pricing for commercial out-of-network emergency services in a highly concentrated rural-like market with no alternatives for emergency care for at least five years

The California Department of Justice’s Healthcare Rights and Access Section (HRA) works proactively to increase and protect the affordability, accessibility, and quality of healthcare in California. HRA’s attorneys monitor and contribute to various areas of the Attorney General’s healthcare work, including nonprofit healthcare transactions; consumer rights; anticompetitive consolidation in the healthcare market; anticompetitive drug pricing; privacy issues; civil rights, such as reproductive rights and LGBTQ healthcare-related rights; and public health work on tobacco, e-cigarettes, and other products.

A copy of the conditional approval letter is available here.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Releases Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas

June 23, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris released the following statement on the Supreme Court's ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas, a high-profile affirmative action case regarding whether public universities can consider race in admissions decisions.

“Our nation's diversity is our strength, and our public colleges and university systems should strive to reflect that diversity. Evidence shows that fostering student bodies with wide arrays of backgrounds and experiences benefits all students and helps them prepare for a global workforce. There shouldn't be any doubt the Constitution permits public institutions of higher education to consider a range of factors, including race, when making admissions decisions and I'm glad the Supreme Court affirmed that right today."