Why the LASC sometimes denies meritorious writ applications
21 October 2016
Today the Louisiana Supreme Court released its oral-argument docket for December. Eight cases are scheduled for oral argument. These include three civil cases, four criminal cases, and one lawyer-disciplinary case.
The docket is a reminder of why the Court often denies meritorious writ applications. Simply put, the Court has only a limited number of oral-argument slots. Some of those slots must be allotted to criminal cases and disciplinary cases, leaving only a few slots for civil cases. This means that, if your writ application nails one or more of the writ-grant criteria in Rule 10, the writ may still be denied. Your application is competing with perhaps dozens of equally meritorious applications for a limited number of oral-argument slots. Your case has to be not just important, but more important than the other cases competing for that limited number of slots.
I had a quick look at the three civil case on the December docket. One of them, Radcliffe 10, LLC v. Burger, involved a fractured decision from the First Circuit, sitting en banc, with no majority opinion on the dispositive issue and two dissents or partial dissents. Another, South Lafourche Levee District v. Jarreau, went to a five-judge panel in the First Circuit, resulting in two partial dissenting opinions. Lesson: a case with one or more dissenting opinions may be the one that emerges from the pack.