Thursday, February 5, 2015
C.A. Scuttles Appeal Under ‘Disentitlement’ Doctrine
Justice Moore Finds Appellant’s Conduct Abhorrent
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Orange County-based Court of Appeal, in an opinion certified for publication yesterday, dismissed an appeal by a litigant based on her misconduct in the trial court, invoking the rarely used “disentitlement” doctrine.
The doctrine is based on the inherent power of an appellate court to refuse an audience to an appellant who has disregarded lower court orders.
Appellant Gloria Minthorne had been removed by San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ann Ludvigsen as trustee of the Minthorne Family Living Trust, established by her and her late husband, based breaches of her fiduciary duties to his children and grandchildren. She was ordered to quitclaim property in Hesperia to the substitute trustee, Adam J. Blumberg, her step-grandson.
She was also ordered to file an accounting.
In defiance of the orders, Minthorne quitclaimed the property to her daughter, instead, and did not file an accounting.
Writing for the Fourth District’s Div. Three, Justice Eileen Moore said:
“Gloria’s conduct since the judgment has frustrated the attempts of the court to legitimately effect its own orders. She has missed court dates, failed to keep her own promises, lacked candor in her communications with the court, and ignored the court’s orders. She cannot therefore now seek relief from the appellate court. The disentitlement doctrine applies.”
Moore also ridiculed the contentions put forth by Minthorne’s attorney, Robert E. Dougherty of Upland. She wrote:
“Gloria throws various varieties of pasta at the proverbial wall in her opposition to Adam’s motion to dismiss, in an apparently desperate hope that something will stick, all the while failing to distinguish her behavior from any case where the court held the disentitlement doctrine applied.”
The jurist said Minthorne’s conduct with respect to the Hesperia property was “put it bluntly, despicable.”
The case, filed Jan. 27, is Blumberg v. Minthorne, G050428.
Ave Buchwald of the Blumberg Law Corporation, in Long Beach, represented Blumberg.
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