Week of September 3, 2007

"The appellate briefs of both parties contain factual assertions with references to pages in the record that do not support their statements, and, in respondent's brief, statements highlighted in boldface without any record references at all. The parties' carelessness amounts to a disregard of California Rules of Court, rule 8.204(a)(1)(C) and rule 8.204(a)(2)(C). We will disregard any factual references that violate these provisions. We cannot, however, ignore respondent's unprofessional tone, including rhetorical queries, a fawning portrayal of the arbitrator as a 'practical, savvy former trial judge,' and the suggestion that this court 'should be similarly outraged' by Fire's conduct"

Justice Franklin D. Elia
Baron v. Fire Insurance Exchange (Sept. 4, 2007, H029830)
p. 2, footnote 1

Read my summary of the case

Comment: It is impossible to stress too strongly the importance of being familiar with and complying with the Rules of Court. However, this quote also represents an example of the unusual occurrence in which the party whose brief is criticized most harshly (the respondent) is also the party who wins the appeal. Not only was the award of $1.5 million in punitive damages to the respondent affirmed, but the respondent was awarded Brandt attorney fees for the appeal. That's no excuse not to be as careful as possible about obeying the rules of court, but it does provide some hope that even if you are having a bad day and not producing your best work, if the law is on your side, your client will prevail. Or as some might say, when you're right, you're right.