A Noteworthy Rule 10 Opinion

How can a Rule 10 opinion be noteworthy?  Those of you who have no life other than the law know that a Rule 10 opinion is one that "shall not be published, and shall not be cited or relied on for any reason in any unrelated case."  So why discuss it in any forum?

Because one has been released, and they are rare.  You see, our appellate judges have been reluctant to use this rule because they are afraid that some members of the Bar will be upset that their case did not get a full-blown opinion.  So, the judges put in the extra time to write an opinion that the vast majority of lawyers would agree is unnecessary given the issues involved.  Time spent on such opinions takes away time that would be better spent on more complex matters.

We need to trust our appellate judges to make informed decisions about whether a case deserves a full-blown opinion.  As lawyers, we know that some cases do not deserve such an opinion and, if they do not, then we need to support the judges on the appellate court when they decide to do one.  The current workload of the judges on the civil court of appeals requires them to write about 1.5 opinions a week, 52 weeks a year.  True, they have clerks to assist them, but it still is a significant workload. There is no reason why the workload should not be reduced through the judicious use of Rule 10 opinions.

Here it is.  Note that it was released just 16 days after oral argument.