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Tag: Statements of Decision

February 8, 2024
Attorney who ignored appellate rules hit with $50k in sanctions

Failing to request a statement of decision. Misunderstanding what “substantial evidence” means. Preparing an incomplete appellate record. Yes, these mistakes will lose you your appeal. But they can also get you sanctioned. The appellant’s counsel in Mandir, Inc. v. Tiwari (D4d3 Mar. 27, 2023 No. G060437) (nonpub. opn.) got sanctioned nearly $50,000 for pursuing a […]

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December 22, 2023
CEB has my article, “Lack of statement of decision leads to reversal”

CEB DailyNews has published my article, “Lack of statement of decision leads to reversal.” The article is about the development dispute in Casa Verde Landscaping Maint. Corp. v. Lennary Cmtys. (D4d1 Oct. 24, 2023 D081550) [nonpub. opn.], where the appellant correctly followed the two-step process for a statement of decision. When the trial court still […]

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November 2, 2023
Failing to log the length of trial leads to appellate loss

The employee-appellant in Lewis v. Reptile Factory, LLC (D2d3 Oct. 12, 2023 No. B324197) [nonpub. opn.] challenged the trial court’s refusal to issue a statement of decision. The losing party has a right to a statement of decision, but only if timely requested. What is the deadline? There are two: 10 days, normally, but for […]

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October 25, 2023
Lack of statement of decision leads to reversal

One advantage to a bench trial is that you are entitled to a statement of decision. This can be better than a jury verdict because a statement of decision includes findings on all material issues. The cross-defendant in the development dispute in Casa Verde Landscaping Maint. Corp. v. Lennary Cmtys. (D4d1 Oct. 24, 2023 D081550) […]

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June 22, 2023
Statements of Decision: The what, why, how…and when judges trick you into waiving them!

This comes up every call I get after a judge trial: the statement of decision. The statement of decision in a bench trial stands in for the verdict in a jury trial. It tells you—and more importantly, the Court of Appeal—what findings the court made and what theories it accepted. Pretty important if you’re planning […]

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June 15, 2023
When It Comes to Writs of Administrative Mandamus, the Appealability Rules Are Confused (published at CEB)

CEB has published my article, “When It Comes to Writs of Administrative Mandamus, the Appealability Rules Are Confused,” available here. The article is about the mandamus case of County of Santa Cruz v. Santa Cruz County Civil Service Commission (D6 May 5, 2023 no. H049856) 2023 WL 3267749 (nonpub. opn.). The setup is that, when […]

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May 15, 2023
No reporter's transcript, no problem: denial of motion to compel arbitration still reversed on appeal

I have previously noted that California appellate courts ought to change their practice of requiring an oral record when the appellant does not seek review of any factual findings. (See here, here, and here.) Appellate justices are openly split on this point. (See here.) On the side of relaxing the requirement of having an oral […]

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May 10, 2023
When it comes to writs of administrative mandamus, the appealability rules are confused

When challenging an agency action via a writ of administrative mandamus, the trial court’s ruling is the appealable order. If you are going to appeal, do not wait around for a judgment, or you could be too late (like in this previous case). But that is not what happened in the mandamus case of County […]

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February 28, 2023
Ten Trial Tips That Appellate Specialists Want You to Know

You trial attorneys have a job to do. That job is to win the trial. And you can’t always do that and win the appeal at the same time. So you can’t pick a fight on every point. But, you had better fight the ones that turn the case. And, you had better make a […]

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February 9, 2023
When do you have to request a statement of decision?

When I tell trial attorneys my top appellate advice—don’t forget to get a court reporter—the common response is, “I already knew that.” But when I give them my second most important appellate advice—don’t forget to request a statement of decision—the common response is bemusement. “What for? The court gives a tentative decision, and I can […]

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"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

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

— H.L. Mencken

"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

“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

"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

Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly.

Leviticus

"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.)

"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

"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

"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

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