It took an unusually long time for the Supreme Court to rule on the petition for review in Wood v. Superior Court, reported yesterday.  The petition was filed on May 21, 2020.  But it wasn’t until this week that the court denied the petition (with three recorded votes to grant, by the way).

Rule 8.512(b) gives the court 60 days to rule, plus an optional 30-day extension, and a petition is deemed denied if there’s no ruling within that time.  Under normal circumstances, the Wood petition should have been decided before the end of August.

The reason for the delay was the filing of a notice of bankruptcy stay (see 11 U.S.C. § 362) less than two weeks after the petition was filed.  The Supreme Court said in Wood that the notice “operates as an automatic stay in this proceeding and the applicable time periods of rule 8.512(b) . . . are hereby suspended.”

When the bankruptcy stay was lifted five months later, the court ordered on November 6:  “the applicable time period of rule 8.512 (b) must begin to run anew from the date of this order.”  The court later granted itself a 30-day extension and the denial this week came 75 days after the November 6 order.

I’m not at all well versed in the law of bankruptcy stays, but it’s not clear why the court’s time to rule started to “run anew” instead of being, under 11 U.S. C. § 108(c), only 30 days from the stay’s termination.  The latter is apparently the timing for a superior court to rule on a new trial motion that is pending during a bankruptcy stay.  (ECC Construction, Inc. v. Oak Park Calabasas Homeowners Assn. (2004) 118 Cal.App.4th 1031, 1039–1040.)


Time to tweak the rule about the time to rule?