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Tag: Appellate Briefing

November 28, 2023
Defense verdict reversed because admitting complaints against employee were prejudicial

One thing that someone complains about after every trial is that the other side offered prejudicial evidence that the judge should have excluded. It’s almost always a loser argument. But it carried the day in Argueta v. Worldwide Flight Servs. (D2d8 Nov. 8, 2023 No. B306910) [nonpub. opn.]. Dissenting, Justice Grimes still thought it was […]

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November 1, 2023
Can a respondent forfeit issues by failing to brief them? A bizarre opinion says yes

A bedrock rule of appellate practice is that an appellant who fails to brief an issue forfeits that issue. That rule applies to appellants. You know, the person challenging the judgment. It does not apply to the respondent—the person defending the judgment. Why? Because a bedrock principle of appellate review is that all intendments and […]

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June 8, 2023
Best Briefing Tips of 2022

After interviewing dozens of guests on the California Appellate Law Podcast, Jeff Lewis and I recapped some of the best briefing tips from 2022. In this clip we cover: Judges’ three key fears when deciding cases (via Ross Guberman) ️Kill your darlings—find the cleverest line in your brief, and delete it (via Ross Guberman) ️Litigation […]

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May 4, 2023
Telling judges what they “must” do only dares them to do the opposite

Consider these two alternatives for ending a brief: “This Court MUST reverse.” “This Court SHOULD reverse.” Stefan Love, who reviewed John Blumberg’s book Persuasion Tips for Trial Lawyers, explains why you should consider the latter choice. No one—judges included—like being told what they “must” do. But what if the authorities are clear that the result […]

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April 25, 2023
Should AI Replace Law Clerks? Yes, says Adam Unikowsky

Adam Unikowsky, an appellate litigator with nine appearance in the U.S. Supreme Court, argues that judicial law clerks could be replaced by AI. We discuss: “AI will make judges release more accurate decisions more quickly. This is good.” Judges already rely on clerk summaries, so if AI produces better summaries faster, that is good. AI […]

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January 10, 2023
The Best Advocacy Tips of 2022

In this roundup episode, we summarize the best tips for briefing, argument, and overall advocacy from the judges, attorneys, and specialists Jeff Lewis and I interviewed on the California Appellate Law Podcast in 2022. Some of the tips and trends we cover: There is a trend toward informality in legal writing—but do pop-culture references go […]

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December 14, 2022
Stipulated Briefing Extension Requests MUST Be Granted, Supreme Court Says

Have you ever felt the frustration of getting a stipulation from opposing counsel, only for the court to reject it? Well, when it comes to a briefing extension, the Supreme Court just ordered the Court of Appeal to give the full 60-day stipulated extension, and vacated the appellate court’s 46-day extension. In Aaronoff v. Olson, […]

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December 9, 2022
The “Published” Vs. “Unpublished” Distinction Matters Less Than You Think, Says Justice Lambden

Isn’t it frustrating to find just the right case that supports your argument, only to notice that the case is unpublished? And lawyers are forbidden from citing to unpublished cases. Don’t despair too much. Justice James Lambden (Ret.) notes that there are a number of published cases out there that lift the language or reasoning […]

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November 30, 2022
Skip Arguments in Your Brief, Lose Your Appeal

In one of those familiar scenarios where the costs make all the difference, the plaintiff in GI Excellence, Inc. v. Padda (D4d2 Nov. 7, 2022) No. E076843 (nonpub. opn.) won a modest $65,000 award after trial, but then sought over $755,000 in contractual attorney fees. When the trial court denied the fee motion in its […]

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October 11, 2022
“You Know It When You See It”: Justice Thompson (Ret.) on Writ Relief and Judicial Philosophy

Before Justice David Thompson left the bench in 2021 to become a private neutral, his colleague Justice Bedsworth called him “hard-headed.” And compassionate. But hard-headed? Justice Thompsons explains what Justice Bedsworth probably meant by that: “I say what I mean,” and tends to be direct—particularly at oral argument. Justice Thompson discusses his more stringent judicial […]

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"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."

— Plato (427-347 B.C.)

"At common law, barratry was 'the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up suits and quarrels' (4 Blackstone, Commentaries 134) and was punished as a misdemeanor."

Rubin v. Green (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1187

"A judge is a law student who grades his own papers."

— H.L. Mencken

"God made the angels to show Him splendor, … Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind."

— Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons

"Counsel on the firing line in an actual trial must be prepared for surprises, including requests for amendments of pleading. They cannot ask that a judgment afterwards obtained be set aside merely because their equilibrium was slightly disturbed by an unexpected motion."

Posz v. Burchell (1962) 209 Cal.App.2d 324, 334

"So far as the beginnings of law had theories, the first theory of liability was in terms of a duty to buy off the vengeance of him to whom an injury had been done whether by oneself or by something in one's power. The idea is put strikingly in the Anglo-Saxon legal proverb, 'Buy spear from side or bear it,' that is, buy off the feud or fight it out."

— Roscoe Pound, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law

"Moot points have to be settled somehow, once they get thrust upon us. If an assertion cannot be proved, then it must be settled some other way, and nearly all of these ways are unfair to somebody."

—T.H. White, The Once and Future King

"Upon putting laws into writing, they became even harder to change than before, and a hundred legal fictions rose to reconcile them with reality."

— Will Durant

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”

— James Madison, Federalist 62

"It may be that the court is thought to be excessively legalistic. I should be sorry to think that it is anything else."

— Hon. Sir Owen Dixon, Chief Justice of Australia

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