The appellant in In re Marriage of Critzer (D6 Mar. 11, 2022 no. H047809) 2022 WL 736174 (nonpub. opn.) made not one, not two, but three mistakes in his notice of appeal. And he lost his appeal because of those mistakes. Here is what he did wrong:
The lesson here: Mind the Civil Case Information Statement. If you made any omissions in the notice of appeal, this is your last and best place to correct them.
Had the appellant made fewer than all three of these errors, his appeal may have survived. The court took care to recite the policy that a notice of appeal is to be construed liberally so that appeals are not dismissed for insignificant oversights in the notice of appeal: “ ‘[I]t is, and has been, the law of this state that notices of appeal are to be liberally construed so as to protect the right of appeal if it is reasonably clear what [the] appellant was trying to appeal from, and where the respondent could not possibly have been misled or prejudiced.’ (Luz v. Lopes (1960) 55 Cal.2d 54, 59; see also rule 8.100(a)(2) [‘notice of appeal must be liberally construed’].) A notice of appeal ‘is sufficient if it identifies the particular judgment or order being appealed.’ (Rule 8.100(a)(2).)” (In re Joshua S. (2007) 41 Cal.4th 261, 272.)”
But, “[t]he rule favoring appealability in cases of ambiguity cannot apply where there is a clear intention to appeal from only part of the judgment or one of two separate appealable judgments or orders.” (Norman I. Krug Real Estate Investments, Inc. v. Praszker (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 35, 47.)”
Because the appellant made all three of these errors, it evinced a “clear intention” he was not appealing from the QDRO orders.
(Note: The court also explained why the appellant’s case was not very attractive on the merits.)
Tim Kowal helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at www.CALPodcast.com, and publishes a newsletter of appellate tips for trial attorneys at www.tvalaw.com/articles. His appellate practice covers all of California's appellate districts and throughout the Ninth Circuit, with appellate attorneys in offices in Orange County and Monterey County. Contact Tim at email@example.com or (714) 641-1232.
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