Sir Robert Wright Chief Justice of the King's Bench, in the Trial of the Seven Bishops in 1688, reportedly admonished the lawyers: “First settle what the case is, before you argue it.”
In Southern Calif. Enterprises v. D. N. & E. Walter & Co. (1947) 78 Cal.App.2d 750 the court held that a litigant cannot rely, nor may a decision be based, on previous opinions that are not pertinent by reason of dissimilarity of facts. Rules applicable to the decision in which they appear cannot be repeated in exemplification of a theory different from that to which they were applied in the case where the opinion was rendered.
In 1602, Lord Coke wrote in Blade's Case “He who will have advantage of precedents, ought to search for them at his peril…for, the Court will not search for them…[and if no] precedents are shewn, the Court ought to adjudge according to law and reason.”
On that very issue, the court recently held in DiGenova v. State Board of Education (1962) 57 Cal.2d 167 that the doctrine of the law of the case does not extend to points of law which might have been but were not presented and determined… and again in People v. Ceballos (1974) 12 Cal.3d 470 the court held that a case is not authority for an issue not raised by its facts nor considered.