When settling a case after a judgment, parties sometimes explore the possibility of a stipulated reversal of the judgment. In the Court of Appeal, the burden required is very high. But what about getting a stipulated vacatur of the judgment at the trial court?
The parties in Meridian Financial Services, Inc. v. Phan (D4d3 Aug. 10, 2021) 67 Cal.App.5th 657 [282 Cal.Rptr.3d 457, 67 Cal.App.5th 657], review filed (Sept. 17, 2021) stipulated for vacatur of large portions of the statement of decision and judgment as a condition of their settlement. The trial court went along with it.
But the judgment that was left over still had preclusive effect. So the exercise was largely pointless.
The Upshot: Do not put a lot of stock in a stipulated reversal or vacatur of a judgment. It is very difficult to achieve in the Court of Appeal. And even if you can achieve it in the trial court, the effect may be less than you think.