You probably knew that getting a rehearing from the Louisiana Supreme Court is difficult. You may not have known how difficult that task is. Here are the numbers from the LASC’s 2014 Annual Report:
Let’s say that the Court, in ruling against your client, split 4-3. To turn the case around, you only need to change one justice’s mind. What are the odds of doing that? Probably close to zero. I recently researched this question, examining all decisions in which the LASC voted 4-3 to deny rehearing, going back to 2010. In every single case, the original opinion was also 4-3, with the same 4 justices in the majority and the same 3 in the minority. In every 4-3 case in which a party applied for rehearing, the vote on rehearing was identical to the vote on original hearing. According to the results since 2010, litigants have actually had better success changing a justice’s mind when the original vote was 5-2 or 6-1 .
This is not to say that you shouldn’t apply for rehearing if you come out on the short end of a 4-3 vote. But before you do so, be aware that the chance of success may be lower than you think.