Last week, we took an initial look at the Court’s docket of insurance law decisions on the civil and habeas corpus cases on the criminal side. This week, we’re taking a closer look, asking the same questions we’ve applied in recent weeks to each area of law: (1) did the Court accept significantly more cases won by one side or the other below for review? (2) did the Court tend to reverse the wins of one side or the other significantly more often? and (3) leaving aside who the winner was below, how often were decisions reversed? First up is insurance law.
Overall, the Court’s insurance law docket has been relatively evenly balanced between insurer and policyholder wins from the Court of Appeal – 45.59% of the Court’s insurance cases between 1991 and 2017 were won by the insurer below (for purposes of this measurement, we disregard the small number of cases which arose from Ninth Circuit certified questions, for which there is no winner below). The Court was somewhat less likely to reverse insurer wins than policyholder wins – 51.61% of insurer wins from the Court of Appeal for the entire period were reversed by the Supreme Court, while 56.76% of policyholder wins were reversed. Overall, the Court reversed in 54.79% of its insurance law cases.
We report insurer wins from the Court of Appeal affirmed by the Court in Table 519. The Court affirmed one case in 1992, 1993 and 1995, two in 1997, one in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002, three in 2005, and one in 2008, 2009 and 2014.
The Court reversed one insurer win in 1991, two in 1992, one in 1993 and 1997, one each year from 2000 through 2006 as well as in 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017.
The Court affirmed two policyholder wins from the Court of Appeal in 1995 and two in 1997, one in 2000, 2001 and 2002, three in 2004, and one per year in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012.
The Court reversed two policyholder wins in 1991, three in 1992, one in 1993, two in 1994, one in 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001, three in 2003, and one in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2015.
Overall, the Court reversed in 72.22% of its insurance cases between 1991 and 1995. It reversed half the time between 1996 and 2000. Between 2001 and 2005, the Court reversed in only 43.48% of its insurance cases. Between 2006 and 2010, the Court reversed in half its insurance cases. Since 2011, the Court has decided only six insurance law cases, reversing outright in half and partially in one other, for a reversal rate of two-thirds.
Join us back here next time as we take a close look at the Court’s habeas corpus cases.