Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted review in County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (Atlantic Richfield Co.), no. S163681. This is the case in which the Court of Appeal held that public entities may hire outside attorneys to handle "ordinary civil cases" on a contingency-fee basis. County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (Atlantic Richfield Co.), 161 Cal.App.4th 1140 (2008). The petition for review and other briefs can be found here.
This morning's Daily Journal reports that "High Court to Review Lead Paint Attorney Issue" (subscription). The Recorder reports that "Contingency-Fee Issue Heads to High Court" (subscription). From the Recorder article:
Attorneys on both sides of the battle expressed relief at the court's decision, saying they welcome a ruling deciding the issue once and for all.
"It is a significant issue nationwide and has not been settled," said Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel, whose office originally filed the suit eight years ago. "So it's definitely ripe for the Supreme Court to weigh in with [its] analysis and views."
The case ... is heavily lawyered. Forty-two attorneys are listed on the government agencies' side, while the manufacturers show 29 lawyers from 16 law firms nationwide.
Review was granted by five of the seven Supreme Court justices, with Justices Marvin Baxter and Carol Corrigan recusing themselves. Neither said why, but statements filed with the secretary of state reveal that Baxter owns stock in BP Amoco and Corrigan in E.I. duPont de Nemours.