Monday, October 07, 2013

City of Bell v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 4, 2013)

I'd critique the Court of Appeal for totally reaching out to decide this case.  But I'd have wanted to do the exact same thing.

The issue is whether Robert Rizzo, the former (and now disgraced) Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Bell, is entitled to a defense from the City for the many civil and criminal actions that are pending against him based upon his alleged looting of the City.  The trial court held that, yes, he's entitled to a defense.

The City filed a writ petition (since the relevant cases are far from over) on a very narrow issue:  whether the City was entitled to a jury trial (rather than a bench trial) on the various coverage claims.  But the Court of Appeal clearly was thinking more broadly.  It ordered supplemental briefing on a plethora of different issues, most of which dealt with whether Rizzo was even entitled to a defense in the first place.  And then issued a published opinion that held that he wasn't.

All in less than seven months.  From soup to nuts.

Justice can be pretty speedy when the Court of Appeal knows what it wants to do.