December 9, 2010

Supreme Court quickly reverses Court of Appeal ruling that an order is not appealable, and remands for consideration of the appeal on its merits

There are times when the Supreme Court acts with remarkable speed, flexibility and decisiveness to guarantee the right to appeal and to have a controversy decided on its merits. Today’s opinion in Dana Point Safe Harbor Collective v. Superior Court is a prime example. As we discussed in this post, the City of Dana Point subpoenaed the identities of members of marijuana cooperatives located within the city. The Superior Court issued an order enforcing the subpoenas. The marijuana dispensaries appealed, but the Court of Appeal ruled the order enforcing the subpoenas was not appealable and the appeals would be deemed petitions for extraordinary writ relief. The Court of Appeal invited the dispensaries to file writ petitions. Instead, they sought Supreme Court review of the Court of Appeal’s order.

The Supreme Court granted review. What is interesting from a practice perspective is that the Court granted review of an order of the Court of Appeal, not of an opinion, and then moved with notable alacrity to decide the question of appealability. It set the matter for argument less than nine months after granting review. Today, a little more than one month after oral argument, the Court issued its unanimous decision ruling that the order appealed from is, in fact, final and appealable. The Court therefore reversed and remanded to the Court of Appeal for a consideration of the appeal on its merits.

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