Seyedan v. Ebrahimi (Oct. 25, 2011, B214791) 2011 WL 5041955 [nonpublished opinion]

“GMSR’s client, Maryam Seyedan, invested some $400,000 in real property acquired by defendant Nassir Ebrahimi in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, a joint venture that was memorialized in a written agreement and amended orally over time. In 2006, after Ebrahimi rebuffed her demand for her share of the profits from the joint venture, Seyedan sued him for breach of their joint venture. The jury found that Ebrahimi had breached both the joint venture agreement and his fiduciary duty to Seyedan. It awarded her economic damages of $7,238,027, representing her share of the joint venture profits, and $966,793 in noneconomic damages. It also found that Ebrahimi had acted with “malice, oppression or fraud”; pursuant to a stipulation between the parties, the trial court awarded Seyedan an additional $1,125,000 in punitive damages.
On appeal, Ebrahimi argued that Seyedan’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations, that the trial court had committed multiple evidentiary errors, and that his stipulation did not bind him to the agreed punitive damages number. The Court of Appeal rejected all these arguments and affirmed the judgment.

Trial lawyers note: One of the claimed errors was that portions of a witness’s testimony were erroneously excluded from video clips played to the jury. However, the record on appeal didn’t include a transcript of what the jury saw, because trial counsel had not submitted one to the trial court as required by California Rules of Court rule 2.1040. The court rejected the appellate challenge solely on the basis of absence of the transcript, stating “‘It is axiomatic it is the appellant’s responsibility to provide an adequate record on appeal.’” [Citation.] “‘[F]ailure to do so “precludes adequate review and results in affirmance of the trial court’s determination.”’” [Citation.]” (Slip Opn., pp. 13-14.)”

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