Judge: Barbara M. Scheper, Case: 22STCV16290, Date: 2022-08-16 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 22STCV16290    Hearing Date: August 16, 2022    Dept: 30

2Dept. 30

Calendar No.

Tran vs. Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, et al., Case No. 22STCV16290


Tentative Ruling re:  Defendants’ Demurrer to Complaint


Defendants State Bar of California and Donna Hershkowitz (collectively, Defendants) demur to the Complaint of Plaintiff Don Q. Tran (Plaintiff). The demurrer is sustained without leave to amend.           


In reviewing the legal sufficiency of a complaint against a demurrer, a court will treat the demurrer as admitting all material facts properly pleaded, but not contentions, deductions, or conclusions of law. (Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 318 (Blank); C & H Foods Co. v. Hartford Ins. Co. (1984) 163 Cal.App.3d 1055, 1062.) It is well settled that a “demurrer lies only for defects appearing on the face of the complaint[.]” (Stevens v. Superior Court (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 594, 601.) “The rules by which the sufficiency of a complaint is tested against a general demurrer are well settled. We not only treat the demurrer as admitting all material facts properly pleaded, but also give the complaint a reasonable interpretation, reading it as a whole and its parts in their context.” (Guclimane Co. v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co. (1998) 19 Cal.4th 26, 38 (internal quotes omitted).) For purposes of ruling on a demurrer, the complaint must be construed liberally by drawing reasonable inferences from the facts pleaded. (Wilner v. Sunset Life Ins. Co. (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th 952, 958.)

When ruling on a demurrer, the Court may only consider the complaint’s allegations or matters which may be judicially noticed. (Blank, supra, 39 Cal.3d at p. 318.) The Court may not consider any other extrinsic evidence or judge the credibility of the allegations plead or the difficulty a plaintiff may have in proving his allegations. (Ion Equip. Corp. v. Nelson (1980) 110 Cal.App.3d 868, 881.) A demurrer is properly sustained only when the complaint, liberally construed, fails to state facts sufficient to constitute any cause of action. (Kramer v. Intuit Inc. (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 574, 578.)


All of Plaintiff’s claims in this action arise out of allegations that Plaintiff did not receive a passing score on the California Bar Exam as determined by the California Supreme Court. (Comp. pp. 2-3.) Plaintiff contests the State Bar’s decision to curve the passing grade on the exam. (Comp. p. 3.)


Defendants first demur on the basis that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over attorney admissions. The Court agrees.


“[T]he Supreme Court has ‘sole original jurisdiction’ over the attorney admissions process.” (Smith v. State Bar (1989) 212 Cal.App.3d 971, 976.) “In the area of admission to practice, an applicant is admitted only by order of the Supreme Court which, upon certification by the bar's examining committee that the applicant fulfills the admission requirements, ‘may admit such applicant as an attorney at law in all the courts of this State ....’ (Saleeby v. State Bar (1985) 39 Cal.3d 547, 557; Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6064.) “Determinations and recommendations of the bar in matters of . . . admission are directly reviewable in this [Supreme Court].” (Ibid.) Any person refused admission to practice may challenge that decision via original petition to the California Supreme Court. (Bus. & Prof. Code § 6066; see Smith, 212 Cal.App.3d at 978.)

The demurrer is unopposed.


Because this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims, the demurrer is sustained.