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A piecemeal notice of judgment is not sufficient to trigger the 60-day deadline to appeal

Tim Kowal     February 22, 2023

So you think you know how to determine the deadline to file your notice of appeal? You can test your abilities using the facts of Castillo v. McCreary (D2d3 Feb. 21, 2023 No. B317493) 2023 WL 2131341 (nonpub. opn.).

On September 3, 2021, the trial court entered a minute order imposing discovery sanctions against the defendant’s attorney totaling $6,577. That is more than $5,000, so it is appealable. (Code Civ. Proc., § 904.1(a)(12).)

The minute order was not file-endorsed. But it attached a certificate of mailing, which was filed-endorsed.

The default deadline to take an appeal is 180 days. (Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 8.104(a)(1)(C).) But a file-endorsed order showing the date it was served triggers the 60-day deadline to appeal. (Cal. Rules of Ct., rule 8.104(a)(1)(A).)

So was a non-stamped order attaching a stamped certificate of mailing a triggering document under rule 8.104?

Close call, but no, held Castillo. Under Alan v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 894, the court may treat the order and certificate of mailing as the same document, for purposes of complying with the part of the rule that requires the order the show the date of mailing. But are they the same document such that a file-stamp on the certificate constitutes a file-stamp on the order? “[W]e are not aware of any courts to have taken that approach and we decline do so here.”

“Here, the trial court's minute order is not “truly” filed-endorsed.”

The court went on to reverse the sanctions against the attorney, because Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.450(g)(1) did not authorize sanctions against the attorney of a client who failed to appear for deposition.

Thanks to Marc Alexander for originally reporting on this case.

Tim Kowal is an appellate specialist certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Tim helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at CALpodcast.com, and publishes summaries of cases and appellate tips for trial attorneys. Contact Tim at [email protected] or (949) 676-9989.
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