• Decision on Appeal,  Judgment

    The Court of Appeal Time Machine – Interest Calculations on Modified Judgments

    If you obtained a judgment against your former client for over $7.7 million, and had the court of appeal knock it down to around $1.7 million, and the trial court entered judgment in that reduced amount 14 months after the date of the original judgment, you would want interest to run on the judgment — even from the reduced amount — from the date of the original judgment, right? Of course you would. After all, 14 months of interest at a simple 10% on the $1.7 million amount is nearly $200,000. That’s not pocket change. (Well, not for me, anyway.) But in Chodos v. Borman, case no. B260326 (2d Dist. August 18, 2015),…

  • Decision on Appeal

    Judge’s disqualification results in new trial for failure to issue a statement of decision

    Appeals based on a trial court’s refusal to issue a statement of decision require some soul searching. Usually, a successful appeal will merely result in the case being remanded to the trial court to issue a statement of decision, and the successful appellant may find himself no better off than he was before. But what if the judge that tried the case is not available to issue the statement of decision? In Wallis v. PHL Associates, Inc., case no. C066545 (3d Dist., October 17, 2013), you will find out. The judge who conducted the bench trial in Wallis was peremptorily disqualified after the bench trial. Since he was thus unavailable to…

  • Decision on Appeal,  Standard of Review

    “Normally, we would begin by . . . ” — departures from the usual analytical framework on appeal

    Any time a Court of Appeal decision starts its analysis with “normally,” you should sit up and take notice. It gives you a hint that the case may suggest ways for you to depart slightly from the normal analytical framework when the right case presents itself. This time, the tip comes from Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v.  Brookfield Crystal Cove, LLC, case no. G046731 (4th Dist., August 28, 2013, modified September 26, 2013). The plaintiff was an insurer that sued a contractor in subrogation to recover costs for its insured’s relocation expenses incurred while repairs were being made to property damage resulting from construction defects. The contractor successfully demurred on…

  • Decision on Appeal,  Sentencing

    When the Attorney General agrees with you

    Respondents sometimes must concede minor points along the way while arguing that such points do not require reversal. But seldom does one see the respondent agree that a judgment is even partially reversible. One is more likely to see it in a criminal appeal than in a civil appeal, especially when the criminal appeal involves errors in sentencing, as in People v. Frausto, case no. B212054 (2d Dist. Dec. 28, 2009), where the attorney general agreed that the trial court erred in imposing three cumulative 5-year sentencing enhancements under Penal Code section 667, subdivision (a)(1) for each of three prior serious felony convictions tried in a single proceeding and that…

  • Decision on Appeal,  Federal Courts,  Legal Writing

    The Unexplained Concurrence

    Here’s an interesting Howard Bashman’s column that explores the phenomenon of third justices who “concur in the result” without further comment on the majority opinion.  NOTE: Somehow this post got marked “private,” so I’m not sure it ever showed up on the blog before.  But it’s possible it was posted for a while befopre it got marked “private,” in case you’re looking for an explanation for any deja vu you’re experiencing.)

  • Appellate Procedure,  Decision on Appeal,  Legal Writing

    The Scope of Plurality En Banc Decisions

    In a post from the weekend cleverly titled to include “Ninth Makes Up its Mind on Inability to Make Up its Mind,” Ninth Circuit Blog performs a great public service by providing resources to help understand the scope of “fractured” en banc cases decided by plurality opinion. Definitely worth a read, especially if you are relying on such authority and want to “nail down” its strength and limitations. Ninth Circuit Blog’s post concludes that there’s advantage to be had from ambiguity: Come to think of it, if the federal judiciary is increasingly hostile to the rights of criminal (and particularly, indigent) defendants, maybe plurality decisions are good things. After all,…

  • Appellate Procedure,  Damages,  Decision on Appeal,  Federal Procedure,  Judgment,  Remittitur/Mandate

    A “Cautionary Tale” on Post-Judgment Interest when Court of Appeals Directs Entry of Money Judgment

    It’s always frustrating when you have to litigate over issues stemming from a court’s failure to do something that it should have done or even was required to do. Just ask the Oakland Raiders, who saw their new trial order reversed because the trial judge’s order did not satisfy the Code of Civil Procedure. The issue also arises in California courts where the trial court fails to rule on objections to evidence in the context of a summary judgment motion. The consequences of such failure have been discussed on a number of blogs recently, and The Appellate Practitioner has an excellent post regarding the Supreme Court’s recent grant of review…