Friday, February 5, 2016

Cal Supreme Court Statistical Review

Kirk Jenkins at Sedgwick presents The California Supreme Court In 2015: A Year In Transition at Law360.
2015 was a year of transition for the California Supreme Court as two new justices appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Justices Mariano-Florentino Cuellar and Leondra R. Kruger, took office in early January. Because the new justices replaced Republican appointees, there has been widespread speculation that the court’s decisions might move in a more liberal direction. One year into the new justices’ tenure, the statistical evidence for any marked shift at the court is decidedly mixed.
The SoCal connection:
Not surprisingly, Los Angeles dominates the court’s civil docket, producing 34.48 percent of the caseload. Orange County was next, with 15.63 percent of the civil docket, followed by Alameda and San Diego counties, which accounted for 9.38 percent each. San Francisco and the Workers’ Compensation Board accounted for 6.25 percent of the court’s civil docket apiece. 
Other interesting stats & figures:

  • The court’s civil docket was dominated by government and administrative law cases — 43.75 percent of the total caseload. Sixty-four percent of those cases were won by the plaintiffs below, and the court reversed in two-thirds. 
  • Overall, the court reversed in 71.88 percent of its civil cases. This is a significant increase over its recent trend; the three-year weighted average reversal rate in civil cases is 61.25 percent. Indeed, the court’s reversal rate in civil cases has been remarkably stable for quite some time. With the exception of the two-year blip in 2012 and 2013, the three-year weighted average reversal rate has been between 57 and 66 percent for the past 16 years.
  • Lag times between the Supreme Court granting review and a final decision have become a subject of increasing discussion in recent years in the California appellate bar. ... Non-unanimous civil decisions in 2015 were pending an average of 700.75 days, and cases decided unanimously were pending only slightly less — an average of 699.54 days.