Wednesday, April 06, 2005

21st Century Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - March 30, 2005)

Students often ask me for good case comment or law review article topics. This opinion is a pretty darn good candidate.

The issue in this case is whether the retroactive application of punitive damages violates the ex post facto clause of the Constitution. The Supreme Court hinted that it might in Landgraf, but Justice Croskey holds that it does not. The case arises in the context of the revival of otherwise time-barred insurance claims arising out of the Northridge earthquake pursuant to Section 340.9 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. The opinion by Justice Croskey is decent, but there's lots more that could be said, and a fair argument the other way. Plus, as far as I can tell, there's nothing good that's been written on the subject except for a couple of CERCLA articles. So a good topic for someone to pick up and run with.