Monday, May 04, 2009

Sentry Select Ins. Co. v. Fidelity & Guarantee Ins. Co. (Cal. Supreme Ct. - May 4, 2009)

As I've occasionally mentioned (e.g., here and here), the Ninth Circuit has been on a certification tear recently. Which has a lot of things going for it. (Plus, they add yet another one to the list today.)

But there are downsides. As today's decision from the California Supreme Court reflects.

Here's shorthand for what the California Supreme Court said:

"The Ninth Circuit asked us a question on an issue about which the lower California appellate courts were split. A month later, the California Legislature amended the relevant statute. As a result, we don't especially feel like answering the question, so we won't. Moreover, on the facts of this particular case, it's crystal clear that X should win regardless of what the answer is. So there you have it."

Which is helpful, of course. And potentially entirely appropriate?

But what's the downside? How long did it take the California Supreme Court to not answer the question in this totally easy case?

Three years.

Imagine how long it'd take if it was a close case and they actually had to come up with an answer.