Wednesday, May 8, 2013

100 California Appellate Decisions

In order to observe litigation dynamics on the state's appellate level, I took a sample scope of 100 appellate decisions (including ones from the Cal. Supreme Court, but not including Superior Court's Limited Jurisdiction's appeals). Unlike my earlier sample of 100 filed complaints at the trial-court level, which took only 3 days to fulfill, 100 appellate decisions were rendered over a span of approximately a month: my particular scope covered cases from March 26 to April 30, 2013. The results differ, as expected, since there are whole classes of cases regularly commenced in the trial court, but rarely appealed. Yet there are some similarities as well. Here are the particular results, per field:
Among these 100 decisions:

34 were criminal and criminal procedure cases;
28 involved procedural questions, and 5 cases had a more detailed emphasis on evidence/discovery issues;
17 were about torts, including 3 premises-liability, 4 legal malpractice, 3 medical malpractice (2 held for patient and one for the doctor), 2 on product liability, and one case on strict liability. One case involved a collision with a bicyclist and one case was in relation to asbestos claims;
13 were in the field of real property, including the land use, permits and entitlements (2 cases re: marijuana dispensary's permits, 3 CEQA cases, 3 on real estate financing, 2 on eminent domain);
9 cases in family law, where 3 were clearly family law cases, 2 were clearly regarding the juvenile court, and 4 had both family and juvenile issues combined;
8 cases were regarding different labor disputes, from worker compensation to wrongful termination;
4 cases covered Constitutional issues;
3 cases regarding Consumer Protections, where in 2 cases the court found for the consumer;
2 cases involved insurance claims (while many cases did, there were two primarily litigated on this subject);
1 case was in the area of intellectual property (covered here).

The total number here is higher than 100, because many "procedural" questions also involved a discussion on some other area of law.

Comparing these results with the one hundred of filed complaints, I can see that the areas of torts and real property are steadily litigated at all levels. Comparable popularity ratios can be seen in torts, real property, and consumer protection laws. I can safely guess, although I did not analyze those complaints, as they are sealed, that the criminal complaints are also outnumbering its civil counterparts, and hence will hold a top position, in any court.

More litigation posts

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