California Supreme Court Review

Understanding Appellate Decision Making

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  For the next three posts, fresh off our examination of the Court’s tort decisions, we’re going to take a close look at the cases and voting in the area of employment law. Between 1990 and 1999, the Supreme Court decided 22 employment law cases – two in 1990 and 1992, one in 1993, three per year in 1994, 1995 and 1996, two in 1997, four in 1998 and two in 1999. During the 1990s,…
Last week, we reported the first two thirds of the data regarding the Supreme Court’s handling of tort cases since 1990.  Today, we’re looking at the data for the years 2010 to 2018. During the most recent period, the Court has decided eighteen cases won by defendants at the Court of Appeal.  The Court has affirmed six of those decisions, while reversing twelve.  Across the entire period, winning defendants have won 41 while losing 42,…
Last time, we began our in-depth review of the Court’s record in 1990 in tort cases.  Today, we’re continuing that analysis. Between 2000 and 2009, the Court’s tort docket continued to be mostly comprised of cases won by the plaintiffs below – 42 plaintiff wins, 33 defense wins.  Although the two sides’ contributions were tied in several years, in only one of these ten years were there more defense than plaintiffs’ wins – 2000 (1-3). …
Last week, we reviewed the data on how the Supreme Court has handled insurance law cases since 1990 – both what sorts of cases the Court decides, which side typically prevails, and the individual Justices’ voting records on insurance cases.  This week (and next Thursday), we’ll be asking the same questions for the Court’s tort law cases, 1990-2018. We begin with the foundational question: how many cases primarily involving tort law issues has the Court…
Last time, we reviewed how the insurance industry has fared over the past twenty-nine years as a party to litigation at the California Supreme Court.  This time, we’re turning to the voting records of individual Justices: irrespective of whether the insurer was plaintiff or defendant, whether the case involved coverage or liability issues, and whether the insurer ultimately won or lost, how often did each Justice vote for an insurer party. In Table 845, we…
Late last week, we inaugurated a new biweekly series of posts on The Appellate Strategist analyzing the American Law Institute’s new Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance.  Since this week we’re beginning a new series taking a deep dive on the Court’s docket in various important areas of law, I thought we’d begin with insurance law cases.  Today, we’re looking at how many insurance cases the Court typically decides in a year; how those…
Today, we’re concluding our series of posts on agreement rates among the Justices with a look at the numbers for the years 2014 through 2018. Justice Corrigan’s closest matches were two Justices who cast only a few votes in 2014 prior to retirement: Justices Kennard and Baxter, who were both at 100%.  Justice Corrigan was at 85.71% with the Chief Justice, and 83.67% with Justice Chin.  Justices Corrigan and Kruger had an agreement rate of…
Today, we’re looking at the Justices’ agreement rates in divided criminal cases for the years 2008 through 2013.  As we did on the civil side, since during this period the Court was drawing closer to having its current membership, we present the data Justice by Justice in order to facilitate comparisons. Justice Corrigan’s closest match during these years was with pro tem Justices at 92.86%.  But of course, that’s a significantly lower number of votes…
Last time, we reviewed the Justices’ agreement rates in divided criminal cases – how many times did each possible combination of Justices vote the same way in criminal cases with at least one dissenter.  This time, we’re looking at the years 2002 through 2007. Justice Baxter’s agreement rate with Justice Moreno was 65.74%.  He agreed with the pro tems 63.64% of the time.  Justice Brown’s two highest agreement rates were with Justice Chin (72.86%) and…
Today, we’re continuing our review of the Justices’ agreement rates in divided criminal cases, this time looking at the data for the years 1996 through 2001. Justice Arabian had a 50% agreement rate with Justice Baxter, but 0% with Justice Mosk.  Justice Baxter agreed with pro tem Justices half the time, but with Justice Mosk in only 32.67%.  Justice Brown’s voting during this period was at least relatively comparable to Justice Baxter (76.04%), Justice George…