Friday, May 13, 2005

Romano v. Mercury Ins. Co. (Cal. Ct. App. - April 29, 2005)

This is another well-written opinion by Justice Sills. I previously commented on another opinion penned by Justice Sills, although I couldn't decide there whether his (excellent) majority opinion was correct or whether the (excellent) dissent by Justice Ikola was more persuasive. There's no similar problem here, however, both because there's no dissent and because Justice Sills' analysis here seems both right and reasonable. He holds that an insurance company is obligated to pay uninsured motorist coverage when plaintiff is in an accident with an individual who has insurance coverage but whose insurer (eventually) is declared insolvent.

It's not that the defendant insurance company doesn't have some good arguments that the policy language doesn't obligate it to pay. Indeed, its counsel makes some quality arguments in that regard. But Justice Sills is right when he rejects them. His opinion is a great example of textual analysis -- both statutory and contractual -- that's cogently informed by both structure and purpose. Good job.