Legal News and Appellate Tips

Each week, TVA appellate attorney Tim Kowal reviews several recent decisions out of the appellate courts in California, and elsewhere, and reports about the ones that might help you get an edge in your cases and appeals.

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Tag: Appealable Orders

What Starts the 60-Day Deadline to Move for Attorney Fees (or Appeal)? It Took Two Documents to Trigger in This Case

Need to get attorney fees after winning your case? The deadline to file your motion is the same as the deadline to appeal, and here’s an example of the strange mysteries of the “triggering document” rules that trigger the 60-day deadline.

After a trust beneficiary won her first appeal, on remand in Karamooz v. Karamooz (D4d3 Nov. 14, 2022) no. G060515, 2022 WL 16918764 (nonpub. opn.) the probate court held a further hearing.

Then the court issued a couple of rulings that are the pieces of the puzzle of the 60-day deadline:

First, in June, the court issued a tentative decision.

Then in July, the court issued a modified statement of decision and order. The clerk served a filed-stamped copy of the modification.

Finally, in August, the respondent served a notice of entry of the tentative—but not the modification.

The appellant filed her fee motion in October—within 60 days after service of the notice of entry of the tentative, but more than 60 days after service of the file-stamped copy of the tentative.

So was the fee motion timely?

Held: The fee motion was timely. Whether the 60-day period started running from service the notice of entry of the tentative or the file-stamped copy of the modification is a trick question: neither one was complete in itself, and so neither was effective to trigger the 60-day deadline.

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Appeal Held Improper Following Motion to Vacate Prejudgment Orders

In this wage-and-hour action in Zhang v. Shao (D4d3 Apr. 1, 2021) no. G058045, the defendant employer made a number of procedural missteps, resulting in plaintiffs' obtaining summary judgment. Before appealing, employers tried to undo the damage in the trial court. But they bungled that, too. They filed a motion to vacate the order granting summary judgment. By the time the trial court ruled on employers' motion, it was more than 60 days later. Too late to appeal the judgment.

Some cautionary lessons from this opinion:
* Beware Using the Judicial Council Form Notice of Appeal
* Beware When Appealing Orders Other Than the Judgment Itself
* Beware Late Settlements of Appeals

Also: The court inartfully states the law re what is required in a notice of appeal.

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Orders Granting Terminating Sanctions, and Denying Motions to Vacate and Reconsider, Are Not Appealable: Appeal Dismissed

An order granting terminating sanctions may seem like the end of the world. It isn't. The judgment on the order granting terminating sanctions is the end of the world. Then, and only then, may you appeal.

Chung & Assocs. v. Mendoza (D2d1 Feb. 18, 2021) No. B297304 (unpublished)

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Can You Appeal an Order Denying Leave to Amend a Complaint?

Practitioners know that amendments to pleadings are liberally allowed. But every now and then, they are denied. What can you do then?

An order denying leave to amend is not directly appealable. So that's out.

You could try your case on the existing complaint and appeal if you are unsuccessful. But in that case, it would be difficult to establish any error in denying leave was prejudicial – after all, the trier of fact rejected your evidence.

There's always a writ petition. Good luck with that.

The solution: Strategic voluntary dismissal to expedite an appeal.

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