The UCL Practitioner
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Most recent Supreme Court word on retroactivity
The day after Proposition 64 became effective, the California Supreme Court issued McClung v. Employment Development Dept., ___ Cal.4th ___ (Nov. 4, 2004), in which it reconfirmed the strong presumption against retroactive application of statutory amendments: "'[T]he presumption against retroactive legislation is deeply rooted in our jurisprudence, and embodies a legal doctrine centuries older than our Republic.' .... '[A] statute may be applied retroactively only if it contains express language of retroactivity or if other sources provide a clear and unavoidable implication that the Legislature intended retroactive application.'" Slip op. at 8, 9 (quoting Myers v. Philip Morris Co., 28 Cal.4th 828, 844 (2002); Evangelatos v. Superior Court, 44 Cal.3d 1188, 1206-08 (1988)). McClung involved a very different type of statutory amendment, but nonetheless could not be more forceful in its language disfavoring retroactivity. Proposition 64 contains no retroactivity language. (Thanks to California Labor and Employment Law for pointing out this aspect of McClung.)
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