Fourth District, Division 3 Honors Stipulation By Its Terms on Forfeiture of Appellate Rights.
Appellate courts will enforce the bargains struck between parties, even when they involve waivers of fundamental rights (such as the right to appeal). That happened in the next case we discuss.
In Fridman v. Beach Crest Villas Homeowners Assn., Case G042757 (4th Dist., Div. 3 August 4, 2010) (unpublished), the parties stipulated to have their dispute resolved through binding arbitration. As part of the stipulation, they also agreed “[a]ll rights to jury trial, the right to trial de novo, and appeal are waived” and included a specific reference to California Rules of Court, rule 3.817(c), which states that a judgment entered under this rule is not subject to appeal. The trial court found in favor of homeowner, awarding him $100 in emotional distress damages and then awarding him $110,000 in attorney’s fees—all arising from a dispute about the installation of an air conditioning unit. HOA appealed.
Justice Fybel, on behalf of a 3-0 panel, dismissed the appeal. The stipulation to arbitrate was clear and unequivocal in waiving appellate rights, so there was little to do but enforce the parties’ bargain. (Pratt v. Gursey, Schneider & Co., 80 Cal.App.4th 1105, 1107 (2000).) He has a scholarly discussion of cases dealing with contractual waivers of appellate rights, but found this waiver was clear and express.