Monday, September 25, 2006

Cano v. Glover (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 25, 2006)

Here's another very short (five-page, single-spaced) opinion by Justice Yegan. Which holds -- in a ruling that should be pretty troubling for the "plain statutory meaning" folks out there -- that when Section 581 of the CCP states that "The court may dismiss the complaint as to that defendant, when . . . . (2) after a demurrer to the complaint is sustained with leave to amend, the plaintiff fails to amend within the time allowed by the court and either party moves for dismissal," what it really means is that the court must dismiss the complaint.

Mind you, I think there's a pretty strong argument on Justice Yegan's side in this regard. But the language of the statute is pretty clearly discretionary, whereas Justice Yegan holds that it's actually mandatory instead. It's a result that seems right, but that is incredibly difficult to square with those who would hold -- and there are many of them out there -- that when statutory language is clear, the judiciary has no authority or ability to reform that statutory meaning.

So a good test case for hard core textualists.

P.S. - This hasn't been a good day for Justice Yegan on the publication front. On page three of the opinion, he spells "Judgment" as "JGudgment". Yikes. This one's a typo, unlike the other one. Let's fix this one up as well.