As we continue our issue-by-issue examination of the Court’s voting patterns in various areas of law, this week and next we’re addressing the Court’s workers compensation decisions.
Between 1990 and 1997, the Court decided fourteen workers compensation cases in all – one in 1990, two each in 1991 and 1992, five in 1993, none in 1994, one each in 1995 and 1996 and two in 1997.
By a narrow margin, the Court’s decisions more often arose from cases won by the plaintiffs at the Court of Appeal: eight won by plaintiff, six by defendant.
Defendants who had won at the Court of Appeal had a rough time defending those wins. For the eight years, those defendants had two wins and four losses.
Plaintiffs had a sub-.500 winning percentage too. Plaintiffs who had won the case at the Court of Appeal won three times at the Supreme Court, losing five cases. Taken together, these charts imply that the Supreme Court was frequently taking workers compensation cases during this period in order to reverse.
Combining the data from the last two tables, defendants overall had six wins and eight losses in workers compensation cases at the Supreme Court.
So what types of issues was the Court deciding in its workers compensation cases? For the most part, procedural cases: nine cases involved procedural issues, two were workers comp exclusivity cases, two more involved the powers and structure of the Workers Compensation Commission and one involved the judiciary’s role in the process.
Below, we report the yearly votes of each individual Justices for the positions of defendants in workers compensation cases. Chief Justice George and Justice Baxter each cast seven votes for defendants. Justice Kennard cast six votes, Chief Justice Lucas and Justice Arabian cast five votes, Justice Panelli and Justice Mosk both cast four votes, Justices Werdegar, Brown and Chin cast two votes apiece and Justice Broussard cast one.
As for votes against defendants in workers comp cases, Justice Mosk led with ten. Justice Kennard cast seven votes, Chief Justice Lucas and Justices Panelli, Eagleson and Baxter cast five each, Chief Justice George cast four votes, Justice Werdegar had two and Justices Broussard, Brown and Chin cast one apiece.
Join us back here tomorrow as we continue our analysis of the Court’s workers compensation decisions.