Monday, January 13, 2014

Can a defective special verdict be "saved" by the harmless error rule?

Sounds like a great question for the next appellate specialization exam!
Today 2/6 provides the answer (here in Taylor v. Nabors Drilling):
It is an issue of first impression whether or not a defective special verdict can be "saved" by the harmless error rule. We hold that a defective special verdict form is subject to the harmless error analysis.
Also of note in the "Cal. Const., art. VI, section 13 department," see F.P. v. Monier (3d Dist. Jan. 9, 2014), concluding that the trial court's error in failing to issue a statement of decision was not a miscarriage of justice, even though such a failure is often treated as reversible error per se.