Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Appellate tidbits

Today's DJ features GMSR's Alana Rotter in Lessons From Appeals of Nonappealable 'Judgments' about Baker v. Castaldi. The case involved a bifurcated trial (liability & damages in phase one, amount of punitives in phase two). After the first phase, however, the trial court filed a document titled "judgment" and noted that the amount of punitive damages would "be assessed at a separate trial and set forth in an Amended Judgment." Hmm...
Image result for better safe than sorryBaker illustrates that it is critical for a losing party to identify when the court has entered a truly final judgment, and to file a timely notice of appeal from it. When in doubt as to whether a judgment is final, there is no harm in filing a cautionary notice of appeal. But stay alert: If the court subsequently resolves additional issues and enters a new judgment disposing of the entire case, file a new notice of appeal from that judgment as well. It will probably be the one that counts. 

Over at Law360, in Practitioner's Playbook: The Summary Judgment Motion, H&L's Jeremy Rosen is quoted:
“Even if summary judgment is granted, if it hasn’t been strategically argued in the narrowest possible way, that opens it up to a lot of attacks on appeal,” he said. “Oftentimes, not enough thought has gone into the original motion. If the motion is based on the narrowest legal principle and the fewest number of facts, there is less ability for the losing party to show reversal on appeal.”
And the MetNews finally reports: Justice Fred Woods to Retire From C.A. at End of Month.  [Update 3/26: The DJ today offers Justice to Retire After More than 30 Years on the Bench"He is one the nicest people I've ever worked with," said Justice Dennis M. Perluss, Woods' colleague of 13 years. "I have never heard him utter an angry word. Given that we are engaged in a fairly high stress profession, I think that's noteworthy."]