Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Solus Industrial Innovations v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 22, 2014)

Reading tea leaves isn't easy.

The trial court overrules a demurrer, but certifies the issue as presenting a controlling issue of law, and defendant files a writ.  The Court of Appeal summarily denies the petition.  Trial court's ruling stands.

Except the California Supreme Court then grants review and transfers the issue back to the Court of Appeal with instructions to issue an OSC.  Hmmm.  The Court of Appeals figures that the Supreme Court didn't like the decision to overrule the demurrer.  So, as instructed, it hears the writ, and holds that the trial court erred, reversing the decision below.

All's right with the world.

Except now plaintiff files a petition for review.  Which the California Supreme Court again grants.  Transferring the matter back to the Court of Appeal and order it to reconsider its opinion in light of a particular statute.

You could read this latest grant in one of two ways.  Maybe it's a hint (as it often is) that the Court doesn't like the opinion below.  Or maybe the California Supreme Court's just being a pain (or, more charitably, just wants a more thorough evaluation of the merits).

Justice Rylaarsdam figures:  Once burned, twice shy.  The Court of Appeal changed its mind after the Court's original grant of review, and did what it thought the Supreme Court wanted.  It's not doing the same thing again.  This time, it sticks to its original disposition.  Trial court's still overruled.

The Court of Appeal essentially says:  Your move, California Supreme Court.  We're done trying to figure out the true motivation behind your grants of review.  If you want to change this thing, you'll have to do it yourself.