Civility Is Also Stressed in Decision.
Wong v. Genser, Case No. A133837 (1st Dist., Div. 5 Nov. 30, 2012) (unpublished) is not only a lesson in tenacity, but also shows how an appealing party must be candid with the appellate tribunal--under penalty of harsh appellate sanctions. Also, the decision has some important words about civility, worthy of repetition.
What happened here was that appellant and her attorney did not produce a missing superior court notice of order entry that showed her appeal was untimely. However, respondent’s appellate counsel doggedly investigated the matter and found the entry notice showing the appeal should be dismissed.
That prompted the appellate court to issue sanctions of two types: (1) appellate expenses incurred by respondent, to be fixed on remand and ordered against appellant and her appellate attorney; and (2) $8,500 in sanctions payable by appellate counsel to the appellate court clerk for the time/energy invested by the appellate court in working up the case (on this last type of sanction, see Kim v. Westmoore Partners, Inc., 201 Cal.App.4th 267, 294 (2011) [appellate sanctions for frivolous appeals have recently ranged from $6,000 to $12,500].)
Now, let’s look at the appellate court’s words on civility. Appellant’s counsel made ad hominem attacks on opposing counsel, which the court chided this way: “Impugning the character of opposing counsel is almost never appropriate, and in this case these charges were particularly unfounded, given the level of hypocrisy [appellant’s counsel] demonstrated in making them.” It ended by quoting the State Bar’s Civility Guidelines, which indicated that counsel must “strive for the highest standards of attorney behavior to elevate and enhance our service to justice.”