Procedural Requirements Do Matter In Cases.
c1902. Library of Congress.
Campbell v. Hyundai Motor America, Case No. B260298 (2d Dist., Div. 7 Dec. 16, 2015) (unpublished) is a triple whammy and shows why meeting procedural filing deadlines can be result dispositive in many matters.
Briefly told, plaintiff dismissed a lemon law case after defendant provided a replacement car. The settlement agreement did reserve any fees/costs issues for the trial judge. The lower court initially denied plaintiff’s fees motion based on the perception it lacked jurisdiction to decide. The trial judge then reversed itself upon plaintiff’s motion to set aside the dismissal under CCP § 473, actually awarding plaintiff $36,606 out of a requested $45,474.75 in fees (lodestar only, with a multiplier request denied).
Hyundai wisely appealed, gaining a reversal because—get this—the appellate court determined three procedural deadlines were blown.
The first deadline blown was that plaintiff failed to file its fee motion 180 days after dismissal, a mandatory (although not necessarily jurisdictional) defect.
The second deadline blown was that plaintiff failed to move to set aside the dismissal within the six month deadline for filing a 473 motion.
The third deadline blown was not timely appealing the trial judge’s order initially denying the motion based on lack of jurisdiction—that one was separately appealable, but was not appealed so as to preserve any error.
Ouch, ouch, ouch!