Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Frivolous appeal sanctions

Today 4/1 imposes $18,810 in sanctions against plaintiffs/appellants and counsel (jointly and severally) for a frivolous appeal here. Lots of good quotes here, and some good lessons, including why one shouldn't fight against res judiciata!
Without citation to any authority, plaintiffs assert that sanctions for an objectively frivolous appeal cannot be awarded if "any issues raised on appeal [] require more than cursory review and rejection." In other words, they claim that if a single argument they have made on any issue in their appeal is objectively reasonable, sanctions must be denied. We disagree. Under plaintiffs' logic, appellants can escape sanctions for knowingly filing an untimely appeal for purposes of delay if they presented an objectively reasonable argument on the merits. An appeal is frivolous "when any reasonable attorney would agree that the appeal is totally and completely without merit." (Flaherty, supra, 31 Cal.3d at p. 650, italics added.) An appeal can be totally and completely without merit where, as here, a single issue is unquestionably dispositive of the entire appeal.

Image result for hired gun"[a]n attorney in a civil case is not a hired gun required to carry out every direction given by the client. [Citation.] As a professional, counsel has a professional responsibility not to pursue an appeal that is frivolous or taken for the purpose of delay, just because the client instructs him or her to do so. [Citation.] Under such circumstances, the high ethical and professional standards of a member of the bar and an officer of the court require the attorney to inform the client that the attorney's professional responsibility precludes him or her from pursuing such an appeal, and to withdraw from the representation of the client." (Cosenza v. Kramer (1984) 152 Cal.App.3d 1100, 1103.)