Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Arave v. Merrill Lynch (Cal. Ct. App. - Jan. 2, 2018)

One of the annyong things about practicing in the Ninth Circuit is its issuance of short, unpublished memorandum dispositions.  I understand why they do them; there are too many cases to resolve all of them in lengthy published opinions.  So you need to short circuit some -- indeed, perhaps most -- of them.

Still, if you're a lawyer for one of the sides, and you've spent hundreds of hours pouring out your detailed arguments in 50-page appellate briefs, it's incredibly distressing to get back a two- or three-page opinion back that engages with none of these arguments and simply gives you a conclusion.  I found that prospect distressing even when I was (long ago) clerking on the Ninth Circuit, and for that reason always wanted to go through the extra (albeit unnecessary) effort of drafting comprehensive opinions even if they were going to be unpublished.  I find the prospect even more distressing now that I'm on the receiving end of those opinions.  Again:  I understand why they're done.  But they're still no fun.

Which is, in part, why I really appreciated the first published opinion in 2018 from the California Court of Appeal.  It's an incredibly fact-intensive opinion about a particular discrimination case -- a case in which there was a five-week trial.  And the Court of Appeal goes through every argument that's raised in excruciating detail.  Justice Slough's opinion is 94 (!) pages.  It may not resolve the issues in the manner preferred by the losing party.  But the justices undeniably took their jobs very seriously, and went through their assigned tasks point-by-point.  In detail.

You can't argue with that.

It's a nice start to a new year to see something that's so obviously diligent.  Gives one hope.