Last time, we began our in-depth review of the Court’s record in 1990 in tort cases. Today, we’re continuing that analysis.
Between 2000 and 2009, the Court’s tort docket continued to be mostly comprised of cases won by the plaintiffs below – 42 plaintiff wins, 33 defense wins. Although the two sides’ contributions were tied in several years, in only one of these ten years were there more defense than plaintiffs’ wins – 2000 (1-3). 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009 were all tied.
Next, we review the data for defendants’ won-loss record in cases where they had prevailed before the Court of Appeal. Between 2000 and 2009, these defendants fared well, winning 21 and losing only 12. Only in 2005 did these defendants lose more than they won.
Next we look at the tort plaintiffs who won below. These plaintiffs kept things even for the first half of the decade, winning 14 and losing 14. But things took a mild dive in the second half, winding up with nineteen wins and twenty-three losses. Winning plaintiffs were 0-3 in 2009, providing most of that margin.
How did tort defendants do overall for the decade, disregarding who won the case below? Almost exactly what they’d done the previous decade – winning 44 and losing 30 for a winning percentage of .5946. During the 90s, tort defendants won 59.13% of their cases.
During this decade, procedural issues remained prominent in the Court’s docket, and cases raising issues of duty were comparatively rare. In all, 32 of the Court’s tort cases primarily involved procedural issues, 24 were liability issues, and only 19 raised duty of care issues. Two cases fell into none of these categories.
Next, each Justice’s total votes for tort defendants each year. For the decade, the four Justices casting the most votes for defendants were Justice Baxter (47 votes), Justices Werdegar and Chin (41) and Chief Justice George (40).
The greatest numbers of votes against tort defendants during the decade were by Chief Justice George and Justice Werdegar (34 votes each), Justice Kennard (31) Justice Chin (30) and Justice Moreno (29).
And now, the most recent period – 2010-2018. In all, the Court decided thirty-eight tort cases: four in 2010, six in 2011 and 2012, two in 2013, five in 2014, one in 2015, six in 2016, three in 2017 and five in 2018.
Plaintiffs’ wins from the Court of Appeal were still more likely to be heard and decided by the Court than defendants’ wins. The Court decided nineteen cases won by the plaintiff between and sixteen won by the defendants.
Join us back here next week as we bring the tort data up to present day (including identify which Justices are more likely to support defendants’ positions than the entire Court on average is).