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Court of Appeal:

Appellant Can’t Prevail Because Lawyer Failed to Provide Copy of Judgment

Justice Wiley Says Appeals Court Is Powerless to Reverse Decision Which Contesting Party ‘Has Never Allowed Us to Perceive”


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Court of Appeal for this district has affirmed a $13,904 judgment because the defendant’s lawyer failed to provide to it a copy of the trial judge’s decision.

Although affirmances based on an inadequate record are frequent in appeals by pro pers, they do not often occur where the appellant is represented by an attorney—in this instance, Michael Joseph Gonzalez whose office is in Elysian Valley near Dodgers Stadium. His client was defendant Rumba Room Live Anaheim LLC which he represented both in the trial court and on appeal.

In a brief 172-word opinion by Justice John Shepard Wiley Jr., filed Wednesday and not certified for publication, Div. Eight affirmed a judgment of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John J. Kralik. Wiley said:

“…Rumba fails to give us the record of the trial court’s decision. We have neither a reporter’s transcript nor a pertinent decision by the trial court. Rumba does give us a minute order, but this order makes no mention of the decision Rumba attacks. We cannot reverse something Rumba has never allowed us to perceive.”

Notice From Court

The docket reflects notification from the Court of Appeal to Gonzalez on Jan. 4, 2018 that “Appellant is in default for failure to file a complete Case Information Statement,” advising: “NO Signed order or Judgment being appealed.” The court provided that Rumba had 15 days within which to cure the defect.

In actions that year, it dismissed the appeal on Feb. 2 based on noncompliance with the Jan. 4 order; on Feb. 27, it granted a motion to vacate the dismissal; and on April 11, it granted an extension of time to provide a copy of the judgment. On April 28, Div. Eight allotted another 45 days to the appellant to provide a copy of the judgment, proceeding to insert an extraordinary provision in its order directing the respondent, plaintiff Next Idea (International) LLC, “to render assistance in obtaining a conformed copy of the judgment.”

A new civil case information statement was filed by Gonzalez on May 21, but a copy of the judgment was still not provided.

No Opposition

Two extensions for filing the opening brief—totaling 61 days—were granted. The brief was filed; the respondent, represented by Sherman Oaks attorney Steven Lewis Friedland, did not bother to file a brief in response; Gonzalez did not request oral argument.

The case is The Next Idea (International) LLC v. Rumba Room Live Anaheim LLC, B287067.

Gonzalez, whose law degree is from the University of California at Berkeley, was placed on involuntary inactive State Bar status on Sept. 1, 2001 for failure to pay bar dues and MCLE noncompliance. He was suspended again on Sept. 4, 2002 for failure to pay dues, though no notation of a reinstatement on the interim appears in the online records.

The lawyer regained active status on June 9, 2003.     

From Jan. 1, 1997 to July 3, 2000, Gonzalez was on voluntary inactive status.


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