Recent Wins

GMSR successfully invokes rarely-used “disentitlement doctrine” to obtain dismissal of appeal from $8.5 million judgment

Stoltenberg v. Ampton Investments (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 161 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Five) [published]. Defendants, who live in New York, appealed from an $8.5 million California fraud judgment in favor of GMSR’s client without obtaining a stay of enforcement. While the California appeal was pending, a New York court held defendants in contempt for resisting plaintiffs’ enforcement efforts. GMSR moved to dismiss the California appeal, invoking the “disentitlement doctrine.” Under this doctrine, an appellate court may deny the right to appeal to a litigant who is in contempt of court in a proceeding related to the matter on appeal. The defendants contended that the doctrine was limited to a contempt of a California court, a question no California court had ever confronted. The Court of Appeal agreed with GMSR that the doctrine should not be so limited. It held in a published decision that because the defendants’ contempt of the New York court’s order directly related to enforcement of the judgment under review in the California Court of Appeal, the defendants had “disentitled” themselves of the right to appeal.