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Depublication of California Cases

A brief California's practice of depublication and superseding by grant of review, with advice on finding out if your case has been depublished or superseded.

Introduction

California Court of Appeal cases originally designated for publication in the official California Appellate Reports (Cal. App.) can become "not citable" in pleadings due to actions taken by the California Supreme Court.

This guide explains those actions, links to the underlying California Rules of Court, and shows how to find out the publication status of a case.

Alert — Rule Change re: Grants of Review (July 1, 2016)

As of July 1, 2016, the California Rules of Court will be amended to remove the absolute bar on citing to Court of Appeal decisions under review by the California Supreme Court. Details and rules are below.

Depublication - Defined

Depublication occurs when the Supreme Court orders that an opinion of the Court of Appeal not be officially published. These cases won't be in Cal. App. bound volumes and cannot be cited (CRC 8.1115).*

* Warning! Depublished cases remain in the unofficial West's California Reporter, and on Lexis and Westlaw. The presence of a case in California Reporter, Lexis, Westlaw, or any other online legal research service should never be taken to mean that the case may be cited.

Superseded by Grant of Review - Defined

Before July 1, 2016, cases could be superseded by a grant of review. When the California Supreme Court agreed to review a Court of Appeal decision, this action superseded the lower court's opinion, which was automatically not citable (CRC 8.1115). That opinion did not appear in a Cal. App. bound volume.*

* Warning! Superseded cases remain in the unofficial West's California Reporter, and on Lexis and Westlaw. The presence of a case in California Reporter, Lexis, Westlaw, or any other online legal research service should never be taken to mean that the case may be cited.

Here's the text of California Rules of Court 8.1105(e)(1) as it appeared before the 2016 amendments. (The rule stated, in pertinent part, "Unless otherwise ordered under (2), an opinion is no longer considered published if the Supreme Court grants review or the rendering court grants rehearing.")

What is the Applicable Authority?

The authority governing depublication and superseding by grant of review is found in the California Constitution and the California Rules of Court.

Learning More

Here are some overviews and analyses of the California Supreme Court's depublication practice.

To find more post-1979 articles, search LegalTrac using the key word depubli*.

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