Sometimes "complex litigation" is about the complexity of the legal issues and not just the size of the pile of dollars

Greatsealcal100Most cases described as "complex litigation" involve some combination of numerous parties or very large amounts of money.  Sometimes, though, "complex litigation" is primarily about the difficult nature of legal issues or the passion with which opposing parties vie over a difficult policy having wide-reaching consequences.  Jonathan L. v. Superior Court (August 8, 2008) is one one such case.

Jonathan L. addresses, in part, whether home schooling is permissible in California.  The details of the Court's analysis are outside the core areas of coverage for this blog.  However, the obviously difficult time the Court of Appeal had with this decision is an opportunity to learn something about what it takes to prevail in such hotly contested waters.  The listing of Amici Curiae spans three pages.  The August 8, 2008 Opinion follows after rehearing was granted by the Court.  Regarding that procedural history, the Court said:  "We filed our original opinion on February 28, 2008, granting the petition on the bases that: (1) California statutory law does not permit home schooling; and (2) this prohibition does not violate the U.S. Constitution."

On rehearing, the Court reversed itself, concluding that home schooling is permissible in California (my daughter is in trouble now).  You don't see u-turns like that happen with any regularity in appellate practice.  If you have any spare time, I suggest that you take a look at the opinion for the insight it offers into a Court struggling to get a very difficult decision right.  In this instance, I think their hard work resulted in the correct outcome.