October 14, 2016

Summary of October 12, 2016 conference report for civil cases

The following is our summary of the Supreme Court’s actions on petitions for review in civil cases from the Court’s conference on Wednesday, October 12, 2016. The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted, (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, or (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal.

Review Granted

Montrose Chemical Corporation of California v. Superior Court (Canadian Universal Insurance Company) – S236148- Review Granted and Transferred- October 12, 2016

This is a writ proceeding about which little information is available online.  It might have arisen from longstanding litigation to determine whether several insurers are obligated to defend and indemnify their insured in three groups of environmental contamination lawsuits involving DDT.  (See Montrose Chemical Corp. v. Superior Court (1993) 6 Cal.4th 287; Montrose Chemical Corp. v. Superior Court (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 902.)  The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Three, summarily denied petitioner Montrose Chemical Corporation’s petition for writ of mandate.  The Supreme Court granted review and transferred the matter to the Court of Appeal “with directions to vacate its order denying mandate and to issue an order directing respondent Superior Court of Los Angeles County to show cause why the relief sought in the petition should not be granted.”

Certified Questions of State Law – Questions Restated

Migdal Insurance Company v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, S236177- Certified Questions of State Law Modified – October 12, 2016

As we noted last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit asked the Supreme Court to decide questions of California law. The court ordered briefing deferred pending a determination whether to restate the questions presented.

In its conference on October 12, the Court ordered the questions presented restated as follows:

(1) When two primary liability insurers agree that their policies cover the same loss, may the primary insurer whose policy contains an “other insurance” clause (stating that its insurance is excess over any “other insurance or . . . self-insurance plan that covers a loss on the same basis”) enforce that clause in an action for equitable contribution brought by the primary insurer who defended and settled the insured’s claim and whose policy does not contain an other-insurance clause?

(2) In the same equitable contribution action described in Issue 1, when the amount paid by the primary insurer that settled the claim exceeds the non-settling primary insurer’s liability policy limits, what is the effect, if any, of the non-settling insurer’s “limits reduction” clause (stating that “[a]ll payments made under any local policy issued to [the insured] by us or any other insurance company will reduce the Limits of Insurance of this policy”)?

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)




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