Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Azure Ltd. v. I-Flow Corp. (Cal. Ct. App. - May 27, 2008)

When you know that an opinion is likely to be reviewed by your boss -- e.g., to have review granted by the California Supreme Court -- there's a strong tendency to write an expansive missive on the subject. After all, you want to put your best foot forward.

But Justice Ikola avoids that temptation here.

It's a case that I think will -- and am certain should -- be granted review by the California Supremes, if only due to both the importance of the subject matter and the split in the Court of Appeal. A couple of years ago, the Second District, in an opinion by Justice Vogel, decided that a defendant who transfers eschated property to the state is absoutely immune from liability even if it didn't follow the provisions of the Unclaimed Property Law; e.g., if it failed to properly notify the owner as required by the statute. Today, the Fourth District, in an opinion by Justice Ikola, disagrees, and concludes that the dissent of Justice Mallano in that case was more persuasive.

Property gets transferred to the state all the time. I'm certain that the process is far from perfect, and in any event, it's easy to make allegations that mistakes were made, particularly given the fact-intensive nature of the statutory process and the fluctuating value of some of the underlying assets. As a result, this is an important issue. The resolution of which is far too important to be decided purely according to the particular appellate district in which the lawsuit is filed or the particular panel that's drawn. As such, the California Supreme Court should take it up. And settle the matter once and for all.

When it does so, it won't have to wade through dozens of pages of Justice Ikola's personal views on the subject. He keeps this one to a single-digit number of double-spaced pages. And does so well.

Which is no small feat.

Look for this one to go up.