Appellate Insights

GMSR’s monthly appellate insights offer concise, timely guidance on appellate issues, and tips for avoiding common pitfalls at all stages of litigation.

Jan 11, 2018 Alana H. Rotter
I Object!

A party that fails to preserve its evidentiary objections in the trial court forfeits any appellate challenge to the admission of the evidence.  Here are some guidelines for avoiding a forfeiture: If the trial court definitively denies a pre-trial motion in limine to exclude evidence,

Nov 16, 2017 Alana H. Rotter
No Harm, No Foul

Showing trial court error is critical in any appeal, but it’s usually not enough.  Only a few types of errors trigger an automatic reversal.  For all other types of errors, the appellant must also show prejudice—that is, a reasonable probability that the error affected the

Oct 12, 2017 Laurie J. Hepler
Is This Appealable?

California appellate courts lose jurisdiction once the deadline passes to notice an appeal.  Truly and forever.  So it’s time again for ASIC’s semi-annual selection of orders that just might be appealable (or not … we try to keep it interesting).  As always: these answers apply

Sep 12, 2017 Alana H. Rotter
Heads Up

Descriptive headings make briefs more clear, and result in a table of contents that provides a helpful roadmap of your position.  But on-point headings are more than just good practice—they are required, and failing to use them comes at a high cost: Each point in

Aug 10, 2017 Laurie J. Hepler
Lurching Toward E-Filing

Federal appellate courts mastered e-filing many years ago, and it’s the norm nationwide.   But state appellate courts in California still have not fully implemented it.  Here’s a summary of where things stand: The state Supreme Court forbids e-filing for merits briefs, but as of September

Jul 12, 2017 Alana H. Rotter
Writ Petition Deadlines

After suffering an adverse trial court ruling that isn’t immediately appealable, litigators often wonder whether they should seek discretionary review in the Court of Appeal via a writ petition.  The answer is case-specific because it depends on many factors.  But there is one overarching theme

Jun 15, 2017 Laurie J. Hepler
Get To The Point

What if no email you received had a Subject line?  What if writers only told you what they needed somewhere in the middle?  And how about a news article that goes on too long, sprinkled with “color words” that make you question its reliability? This

May 11, 2017 Alana H. Rotter
Avoiding Record Holes On Appeal

Videotaped deposition excerpts can be helpful or even essential at trial.  But because court reporters are not legally required to transcribe them, they can leave holes in the appellate record and a video clip won’t count as “substantial evidence” on appeal if the appellate court

Apr 26, 2017 Laurie J. Hepler
Is This Appealable?

It’s April, and time for ASIC’s semi-annual installment of “Is This Appealable?” — a selection of adverse orders that arise frequently for trial counsel and litigants. As usual, these answers apply 95% of the time in California state courts; there are sometimes exceptions. 5. Is

Mar 09, 2017 Alana H. Rotter
Dismissing Claims To Hasten An Appeal

A trial court ruling that resolves some causes of action but not others is not immediately appealable.  Parties sometimes try to hasten appellate review of a key ruling by dismissing the remaining, unadjudicated claims and asking the trial court enter a final judgment.  But the

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