On Thursday, November 19, 2009, the Supreme Court finally acted on the last of the Tobacco II "grant and hold" cases, O'Brien v. Camisasca Automotive Mfg., no. S163207. Instead of transferring the case back to the intermediate appellate panel for further proceedings, as in McAdams and Pfizer (Galfano), the Court simply dismissed review. The dismissal order reads:
In light of the decision in In re Tobacco II Cases (2009) 46 Cal.4th 298 and Meyer v. Sprint Spectrum LP (2009) 24 Cal.4th 634, review in the above-entitled matter is dismissed. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.528(b)(1).)
(Hyperlink added.) This means that the earlier Court of Appeal opinion stands and binds the parties, but it remains unpublished. Here is my original blog post on the Court of Appeal opinion, and the opinion itself (Second Appellate District, Division Three).
I'm sure the similarity of issues between O'Brien and Kwikset was not lost on the Supreme Court. Both are "Made in the U.S.A." cases that lower courts dismissed for lack of Prop. 64 standing (although the similarities end there). Perhaps the Court felt that leaving the O'Brien opinion unpublished was the best way to manage the development of the case law in this area. O'Brien, of course, was decided long before review was granted in Kwikset, and I'm not sure there is any procedural way to convert O'Brien into a Kwikset "grant and hold" case, which it could easily have become if it had been handed down later.
Interestingly, both O'Brien and Pfizer/Galfano are Second Appellate District, Division Three cases, and two of the panel Justices (Klein and Kitching) are the same. Justice Croskey will join in re-deciding Pfizer/Galfano in a few weeks, whereas Justice Aldrich was the third panelist in O'Brien.