City of St. Helena

119 Cal. App. 4th 793 (June 21, 2004), 14 Cal. Rptr. 3d 713, 2004 Cal. App. LEXIS 970

The Court of Appeal (First District, Division 4) reversed the Commission’s holding that The Napa Valley Wine Train was a common carrier (and thus generally exempt from City regulation of its facilities). The Court concluded that the service was not a common carrier service because it did not provide “transportation” between one point and the other. The Court finessed the fact that the “one point and another” criteria statutorily only applies to vessels (Section 1007).20 The Court also concluded that the state of an entity’s formal certification was not dispositive of the entity’s status as a public utility. (In unpublished portions of the opinion, the Court reached some novel conclusions on procedural issues.) The word “Greyhound” does not appear in the decision (see Paras. 24 and 68, infra).
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20See Golden Gate Scenic Steamship Lines (Para. 79). See also Gomez v. Superior Court (Disney), 35 Cal. 4th 1125, 2005 Cal. LEXIS 6557, which calls into question the holding in City of St. Helena that the round trip train travel was not “transportation.” While not overruling the St. Helena court’s determination that the Wine Train was not subject to Commission jurisdiction, the Supreme Court “disapproved” of the St. Helena decision to the extent it suggested that a provider of round trip transportation was not a “carrier of persons for reward.” The Commission concluded that Gomez did not require the Commission to revisit its Wine Train Decision.

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