Friday, January 22, 2021

GMSR Studio!

 How has GMSR adapted to remote arguments? By creating state of the art studios! Check out  "GMSR Studio" - Lights, Camera, Action

Appellate reading

From How Appealing:

  • Access online the Winter 2021 edition of Appellate Issues, a publication of the ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers: Via this link. Usually, this issue focuses on the previous November’s Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit, but this year out of necessity it mostly focuses on the new normal.
  • Access online the new issue of The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process: You can access the table of contents via this link and you can download a PDF copy of the entire issue via this link.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

It's gotta be over $5K...


One vocal critic of this blog objects to the posting of legal-themed license plates as "silly." Well, SCAN posts what SCAN wants to post, silly or not, including this recent pic of a car parked near the beach in La Jolla.

And it's relevant, sort of, to this case here about appealing from sanctions orders. The set up reads like something from the appellate specialization exam. But specialists should have no trouble untangling the issues and solving the appealability puzzles presented.

Appellate seats & vacancies

Here's the current roster for California's 106 Court of Appeal Justices: 

The First District (20 seats) is showing vacancies in the PJ spots for Divisions 3 and 5.
The Second District (32 seats) is showing vacancies in Division 1 and 7.
The Third District (11 seats) has one vacancy.
The Fourth District (26 seats) has no vacancies (10 seats in 4/1; and 8 each in 4/2 & 4/3).
The Fifth District (10 seats) has no vacancies.
The Sixth District (7 seats) has two vacancies.

If you ever forget how the Court of Appeal is structured in terms of borders, divisions, seats, etc., turn to Govt. Code sections 9100-69107 (Gov. Code Title 8 (Organization & Government of the Courts), chapter 4 (The Courts of Appeal).)

Appellate humor

Appellate specialist Ryan Squire submits a cartoon for the amusement of the appellate bar:

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Top Lawyers of the Decade

The DJ's special insert today is Top Lawyers of the Decade, on the Chief is on the list, of course(!), in Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye: The solid core who has held together California's judicial branch, which begins: "Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye’s first decade as Chief Justice of California was plagued by chronic budget shortfalls, a record number of wildfires, and a pandemic. Five of the court’s seven justices retired. These events were bookended by a pair of historic financial crises."

  • “There is some tradition with chief justices, dating back to prior chiefs and continuing with her, to take the tough ones and perhaps some of the controversial ones for herself,” Groban said. “Knowing her now as I’ve come to know her, it’s no surprise. She’s not afraid of making difficult decisions.”
  • Many now remember her appointment as one of the defining acts of Schwarzenegger’s governorship, and one that changed the trajectory of California’s court system. Reached recently, Schwarzenegger said he hopes to see her on the U.S. Supreme Court someday. “I think she’s terrific,” Schwarzenegger said. “She’s known as someone who is in the center, someone who does not care about politics as much as serving the people. I’ve been proud of her,” he added.
  • Cantil-Sakauye’s fierce independence was demonstrated early in the Trump administration when she quietly left the Republican party and registered as an independent, and then when she publicly spoke out against immigration enforcement officials’ practice of arresting undocumented immigrants in state courthouses.
Speaking of the Chief, PJ Rubin quotes her keynote address from a few years ago in a concurring opinion here today, of interest for those in the access to justice space (i.e., all of us!).

And in the case note category of dismissals from nonappealable orders, here's one where the court of appeal has to knock down a bunch of arguments from an appellant desperately trying to pursue an appeal from a nonappealable order.

Now what?

There has been much chatter about Justices Liu and Kruger being appointed to other positions. Today's DJ, for instance has 'Attorney General Goodwin Liu,' urging Gov. Newsom to make such an appointment. Similarly, there's been talk about appointments to the 9th Cir., SCOTUS, or the SG's office. The best place to follow this conversation is At The Lectern, which today reports that Justice Kruger reportedly has declined Solicitor General job twice.

Law360 has Trump's Imprint on the Judiciary in 6 Charts, which notes:

  • With 234 judicial appointments during his four years in office, President Donald Trump enjoyed the most productive single term since the 1970s and named the same number of appellate jurists as President Barack Obama did in two terms.
  • As Trump leaves office, his appointees account for more than a quarter of all active Article III judges. His imprint is even more significant on the appeals courts, where his 54 picks amount to just over a third of all active judges.
  • Trump "flipped" the majority in three circuits — the Second, Third and Eleventh — but appointments by President-elect Joe Biden could easily undo the change.
  • While Trump's picks were much less diverse than Obama's, Republicans highlighted trail-blazing appointments, including Ninth Circuit Judge Patrick J. Bumatay, the first Filipino-American federal judge and only the second openly LGBT appellate jurist; D.C. Circuit Judge Neomi Rao, the first South Asian-American woman on a federal appeals court; and Judge Richard E. Myers II, the first Black judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
  • Overall, however, Trump's selections made the judiciary less diverse in both gender and race.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"Specially appearing respondents"?

Assume a case is dismissed for plaintiff's failure to serve defendants and prosecute the case. Plaintiff then appeals the dismissal order. Can defendants who were never served filed a respondent's brief as "specially appearing respondents"?  An argument for such standing is that respondents have a right to defend their interests on appeal because reversal would prejudice them. But the Court of Appeal here (in fn.1) says no dice:

A “respondent” is an adverse party (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.10(2); see also Code. Civ. Proc., § 902) and a “party” is a person appearing in an action (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 1.6(15)). ...  Because these defendants never appeared below, they are not “parties.” Accordingly, we will disregard defendants’ brief and oral arguments.

9th Cir. Order re HSDs

Effective January 16, 2021, Court Announces New Procedures Regarding the Filing, Service, and Management of Highly Sensitive Documents (HSDs)

Following a security audit of CM/ECF by the Department of Homeland Security, the Secretary of the Judicial Conference issued a policy directive that all federal courts start accepting highly sensitive documents (HSDs) for filing only in paper form or via a secure electronic device, and that courts store HSDs in a secure paper filing system or on a secure, standalone computer system not connected to any network. Implementation is left to each court. This administrative order establishes initial procedures to identify and ensure the security of HSDs. Modifications may be made by further administrative order or by adoption of General or Special Orders or rule changes.

  • In this Circuit, HSDs are defined as: Unclassified sealed documents involving: foreign sovereign interests; criminal activity related to cybersecurity, intellectual property, or trade secrets; terrorism; investigation of public officials; potential negative impact on national security or foreign relations of the United States; and sensitive commercial information likely to be of interest to foreign powers.
  • Any questions about how to proceed under this Administrative Order should be directed to the Clerk’s Office at

JNE Considering Feinberg for 3d DCA

The State Bar's Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation is evaluating Aimee Feinberg of the Cal. DOJ's SG's Office for a spot on the Third District Court of Appeal. She clerked for Justice Breyer (2004-2005) and before that D.C. Cir. Judge Tatel.

Beds on household repairs

“if gerbils had bar mitzvahs …”

Beds' latest hilarity is How Many Judges Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb? about how inept lawyers are at simple household repairs.

Judicial Appointments program


The Judicial Appointment Process:
What You Need to Know
February 19, 2021, 5:30 p.m.
Free event! No MCLE.


Diversifying the profession and our bench is critical for all Californians. Hear from the Governor’s new Judicial Appointments Secretary, the Deputy Judicial Appointments Secretary, the Chair of the Judicial Nomination Evaluation Committee, the two sitting judges about the judicial appointments process and how to plan your path to the bench.


Immediately following the event, a networking session will be held.
This program is collaboratively presented by the California Lawyers
Association and the California Judicial Council. Co-sponsored by the
Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California. We also welcome
the opportunity to co-sponsor this program with other bar associations.
If you would like to offer this program to your members at no charge,
please reach out to


  • Luis Cespedes, Judicial Appointments Secretary
    Office of California Governor Gavin Newsom
  • Gonzalo C. Martinez, Deputy Judicial Appointments Secretary,
    Office of California Governor Gavin Newsom
  • Aminder Singh, Chair , Judicial Nominees Evaluation (“JNE”)
  • Hon. Elizabeth G. Macias, Superior Court of Orange County
  • Hon. Connie R. Quinones, Superior Court of Los Angeles County

Monday, January 18, 2021

Happy MLK Day!

Here are some materials to celebrate today's holiday: 

In order to look to the future, it is often necessary to get a clear picture of the past. In order to know where we are going, it is often necessary to see from whence we have come.

—Martin Luther King, Jr. (1957)

• Letter from a Birmingham City Jail (1963)

• March on Washington “I Have a Dream” (1963)

• Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech (1964)

• “The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi” Calvin Trillin’s encounter with Martin Luther King, Jr. on a flight to Mississippi for The New Yorker (1964)

• Martin Luther King, Jr.’s appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press to discuss his historic five-day march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama (1965)

• “Where Do We Go From Here?” delivered at the 11th Annual Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, discusses boycotts, power, and love (1967)

• Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Speech “I Have Been to the

• Additional Context for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” (1968)

Friday, January 15, 2021

2d DCA meeting re retired annuitant

The 2d DCA will have hold a public meeting on Jan 29 at 3:00  to consider the following: "Resolution to approve the appointment of Thomas Kallay [the District's Managing Attorney] as a retired annuitant, to fill a critically needed Appellate Court Attorney position, within the 180-day period after retirement, as authorized by Government Code sections 7522.56(f)(1) and 21224(a)."

Transition of power program & Impeachment/25th Amendment program

Racial and Social Justice Task Force of LACBA will be presenting a free Zoom program on “The Intricacies of the Presidential Transition of Power” for Thursday, January 21, 2021, at 5:30 p.m., the day after the Inauguration, with Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of the UC Berkeley School of Law and Justice Brian Hoffstadt of the Second District Court of Appeal, moderated by LASC Judge Serena Murillo. This will be a  post-inaugural debrief of the political issues surrounding the 2020 presidential election, in which the panelists will bring to bear their considerable expertise in constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights, and appellate litigation.

Register at

Also: CLA is presenting a free program on Jan. 26:


Jan. 26, 2021 @ 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Issues surrounding the impeachment and the 25th Amendment have dominated the headlines. Join us for an engaging discussion about how impeachment, the 14th and 25th amendments work from the perspiration two constitutional law professors. Speakers include: Loyola Law School Professors Laurie Levenson and Jessica Levinson. Moderated by Erik Silber

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Justice Premo retires


Justice Eugene Premo of the Sixth District Court of Appeal has announced that he is retiring effective January 15, 2021. 

KCSC local rules

Kern County Superior Court has updated its local rules here. Of appellate note, Rule 1.10, covering electronic filing and service, includes subdivision (k)(14) (effective 1/1/21) noting that "Any appeal-related documents" are "not eligible for submission through electronic filing and must be filed through conventional methods."

File this under "yet another e-filing system that fails to account for appellate filings."

On other fronts, here's a nice turn of phrase (from this unpub): "The parties have engaged in protracted and torturous litigation, and the arbitrator in the second arbitration characterized it—in our view fittingly—as a “black hole of expense and rancor.”"

Justice Do sworn in to 4/1!

How do you Do?

This morning at 10:31 a.m. the CJA unanimously confirmed the appointment of San Diego Superior Court Judge Truc T. Do (pronounced "truck doe") as a justice on 4/1!

She fills Gilbert Nares' seat. Born in 1972, her family immigrated from Vietnam (becoming a naturalized citizen at age 11). Her first job was having a paper route. She graduated from UCLA and Stanford Law School and worked at Shepperd Mullin, then as a DA in LA (including handling murder cases) for 10 years; then she was a partner at Munger; then moved to San Diego to work at Jones Day. She understands access to justice because she grew up having to share a bathroom with six siblings. She was praised as "one of the great legal minds" in San Diego and for lives the 3 F's: Food (she is a "foodie"), Family, and Fun. Attorneys appearing before her should "be prepared and know the facts and law, because she will." After taking her oath (between 10:33-34 a.m.), she thanked the governor and promised to work hard; she thanked Marty Jenkins, the JNE Commission, the CJA, and many others, including St. Marks Methodist Church (which sponsored her family 15 years ago when they were refugees in Camp Pendleton). She knew from 7th grade that she wanted to be a lawyer. Her father's work in helping to settle war refugees inspired her to devote herself to justice.

See Commission Confirms Appointment to Court of Appeal: Justice Truc T. Do is the first Asian-American woman justice on the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

Dean Eastman "retires"

The Recorder reports: Law Prof Who Spoke at White House Rally Abruptly Retires Amid Calls for His Firing -- John Eastman reached an agreement to immediately retire from Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law.

See How Appealing for additional links.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

LA Law Library Cram Day

Cram Day On Demand!

Earn All 6 Mandatory MCLE Credits Before the Deadline (February 1, 2021)

Elimination of Bias * Legal Ethics * Competence Issues

California attorneys whose last names begin with the letters H-M are required to report their MCLE credits to the State Bar by February 1, 2021. This year, watch current, original video presentations on your own time, covering the required credits for all three mandatory subject areas: Elimination of Bias, Legal Ethics and Competence Issues.

All classes certified for California participatory MCLE credit. After registration, you will be provided course materials, evaluation forms and your Certificate of Attendance via email. Watch each recording to the end and answer the questions provided in the popup to verify your attendance.

Registration fees: $75 for all six classes on-demand. Recordings to be available no later than January 1, 2021.