Friday, April 24, 2020

In re G.C. (Cal. Ct. App. - April 24, 2020)

Read this opinion, even if you don't care much about dependency cases.  It's got a majority opinion, a dissent, and a concurring opinion that responds to the dissent.

The disagreement between Justice Ramirez (who authors the concurring opinion) and Justice Menetrez (who authors the dissent) reads like a relatively personal one, at least in tone.  That might potentially be explained in part because it's an emotional case; the majority says that the kids have to be removed from the home to protect them, whereas the dissent says the kids are being taken from their parents for no reason.  No small stakes, to be sure.

The dissent also articulates a fairly important doctrinal point and asserts that lots of opinion make the same mistake as the majority here, whereas the majority defends that (important) underlying doctrine as both valid and substantially dispositive here.  So the case is important both for the parties involved as well as more generally, wholly apart from the somewhat unusual manner (for the Court of Appeal, anyway) in which the concurrence and dissent directly refer to each other.

Proof that there's real work being done by the Court of Appeal even in the midst of a global pandemic.