Thursday, February 21, 2019
Court of Appeal:
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday directed the Los Angeles Superior Court to vacate an order granting a former attorney sanctions in the amount of $5,000, holding that as a self-represented party, he incurred no attorney fees.
Div. Three, in an unpublished opinion by Presiding Justice Lee Edmon, initially observed that an appeal by the sanctioned parties does not lie because a sanction may only be appealed, under Code of Civil Procedure §904.1(a)(12), if it “exceeds” $5,000—and $5,000 was the precise amount of the sanction imposed by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason.
Treating the appeal as a petition for a writ of mandate, Div. Three granted the writ.
Corporate Charters Suspended
Edmon noted that plaintiff Samuel Reece sought the sanctions based on the two defendants litigating the case while their corporate charters were under suspension. His motion was pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §128.7 which authorizes “an order directing payment to the movant of some or all of the reasonable attorney’s fees and other expenses incurred as a direct result of the violation.”
The jurist explained:
“Reece, who was self-represented, did not show that he incurred any attorney fees or other expenses. Reece’s moving declaration merely requested ‘a monetary sanction of $5,000...to deter repetition of such conduct[.]’ Due to Reece’s failure to establish that he incurred any attorney fees or other expenses…, the trial court lacked statutory authority to award Reece monetary sanctions in any amount.”
The case is Electronic Universe, Inc. v. Superior Court, B285898.
Lawyer Also Sanctioned
Jointly and severally liable for payment of the sanction were defendants Electronic Universe, Inc. and Vermont Sepulveda, Inc., along with their attorney, Andrew Smyth, a mid-Wilshire sole practitioner. Smith represented himself and Electronic Universe on appeal’ Vermont Sepulveda was not a party.
Reece represented himself on appeal. Admitted to practice on Dec. 19, 1986. Reece resigned from the State Bar with charges pending on May 21, 2000.
On Oct. 3, 2017, Electronic Universe and Vermont Sepulveda obtained certificates of revivor of their corporate charters.
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