Thursday, April 11, 2013

Battaglia Enterprises v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - April 11, 2013)

I understand why Justice Aaron elected to decide this appeal even though the parties settled the case before oral argument.  After all, she'd already drafted the opinion.  No reason to let it go to waste.

But I do wonder why it ends the way it does.  When you're deciding an appeal (in the "interests of justice") involving parties who have settled, I don't think you can end the opinion, as this one does, with the line "Real parties in interest are entitled to costs in this proceeding."  Indeed, it may even be beyond your power to do so, as the case is moot.

State courts, unlike federal courts, may be entitled to issue advisory opinions.  But I don't think they can award monetary costs therein.

Otherwise, the opinion is fine.  As well as worthy of mention.  The Court of Appeal holds that parties (or at least sophisticated parties) can validly agree to mandatory venue clauses so long as the venue selected was a permissible one under California's venue statutes.  Pursuant to a 1929 case, we don't enforce venue selection clauses when the selected venue was impermissible; for example, we won't force a Bakersfield-only defendant to litigate a lawsuit brought by a Bakersfield-only plaintiff in San Diego even if the parties agreed to do so.  But if a Bakersfield corporation entered in to a contract in San Diego with a San Diego corporation, we'll enforce a venue selection clause that limits litigation to San Diego (rather than Bakersfield), because this was one of the otherwise permissible venues.

Makes sense.