Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, September 11, 2017


Page 1


Appeal of $3.15 Million Judgment Fails Based on Inadequate Record, Brief


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Court of Appeal routinely affirms judgments based on the appellant having failed to supply an inadequate record on appeal or provide citations to the record—but Friday’s affirmance on both of those bases was unusual in light of the amount of the judgment against the appellant: $3.15 million.

It was also unusual in that the party failing to provide the appeals court with what it needed was represented by counsel, while the prevailing respondent was in pro per.

Div. Five of this district, in an unpublished opinion by Acting Justice Kim Dunning, upheld the judgment in the case by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael M. Johnson, pursuant to a jury verdict, in favor of musician Ivan Rene Moore and against real estate agent Kimberly Martin-Bragg. The action was for conversion of personal property, trespass to chattel, and refusal of a landlord to release the tenant’s personal property.

Dunning, an Orange Superior Court judge serving on assignment, remarked that the parties “were ‘longtime domestic partners,’ but their former relationship has been eclipsed by a series of legal travails between them.”

Affirmance Required

She declared:

“The inadequacy of the appellate record as well as Martin-Bragg’s failure to brief a number of the issues she raised compel that we affirm.”

Martin-Bragg, a former Los Angeles police officer, was represented by attorneys Thomasina M. Reed and Felton T. Newell.

Reed also represented Martin-Bragg in an appeal decided by Div. One on Aug. 1, 2013. There, Moore, representing himself, gained a reversal of a judgment in favor of Martin-Bragg.

The parties each claimed ownership of property in Ladera Heights in which they had cohabitated.

Justice Victoria Chaney wrote that the trial court’s “determination of the ownership issue within the summary unlawful detainer proceeding, and refusal to permit trial of the issue of title outside of those summary procedures, was an abuse of discretion requiring the judgment’s reversal and remand to the trial court for determination of the parties’ rights to legal and beneficial title to the property and their respective rights to possession based on that determination.”

Martin-Bragg declared bankruptcy last year and Moore filed bankruptcy Aug. 3.

Div. One of the Court of Appeal for this district on July 27, 1998 reversed Moore’s misdemeanor conviction for willful failure to provide care for his daughter, who was 11, finding instructional error.

Appellant’s Lawyers

Both of Martin-Bragg’s lawyers have been in the public eye.

Reed in 1992 was one of three challengers to then-Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joyce Karlin, now retired, who made a controversial sentencing decision. None of the challengers forced Karlin into a run-off.

The Los Angeles County Bar Association rated Reed “not qualified.”

She was an unsuccessful candidate in 1996 for the state Assembly. That year, the State Bar suspended her for six months, staying the suspension, and placing her on probation for two years, based on seven counts of misconduct in five matters.

Newell is president of the John M. Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles. While a Los Angeles deputy city attorney, he was a candidate for Congress in the June 8, 2010 primary election.

His law degree is from the University of Chicago. One of his professors was Barack Obama.


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