Thursday, June 15, 2017

Order denying motion to vacate remains appealable

Ryan v. Rosenfeld is out:
Image result for bond martini
Break out the martinis,
"shaken, not stirred!" 
Section 663 of the Code of Civil Procedure allows an aggrieved party in a civil case to move the trial court to vacate its final judgment. The question in this case is whether an order denying one of those motions is appealable even if it raises issues that could have been litigated via an appeal of the judgment. We answered yes to this question over a century ago. (See Bond v. United Railroads (1911) 159 Cal. 270, 273 (Bond).) Bond held that the statute authorizing appeals of postjudgment orders covered denials of section 663 motions. The current version of that statute allows for the appeal of ―an order made after a[n appealable] judgment.‖ (Code Civ. Proc., § 904.1, subd. (a)(2).) Orders denying motions to vacate under section 663 fit that description, and this court has always interpreted the language currently found in section 904.1, subdivision (a)(2), to make appealable all section 663 denials. The Legislature has done nothing to undermine or overturn that interpretation despite enacting over a dozen other changes to this very statutory scheme. So the rule announced in Bond remains valid.

Also, here's one from 1/4 with some valuable lessons about post-trial motions and error preservation.