Thursday, May 21, 2020
Court of Appeal Imposes $15,000 Sanction for Appealing Dismissal of Farcical Lawsuit
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Div. One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal has imposed a $15,000 sanction on a lawyer who handled an appeal from an action against the Mormon Church which the San Diego Superior Court had dismissed as being of a crackpot nature.
Presiding Justice Judith McConnell wrote the opinion, filed Tuesday and not certified for publication. It upholds the judgment of Judge Kenneth J. Medel who dismissed an action filed by Jamieson Brown against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and others.
Medel properly exercised his inherent powers to scuttle an action manifestly predicated on poppycock, she declared—describing the allegations as “absurd and delusional”—and said attorney Francisco Javier Aldana must be penalized for filing a frivolous appeal.
“The notion that the Mormon Church, with the aid of dozens of codefendants, including prostitutes, police officers, and judicial officers, perpetrated a wide-ranging scheme of violence, intimidation, manipulation of the judicial system, ritualistic curses, sleep deprivation, romantic sabotage, and the theft of Brown’s spiritual power—all based on Brown’s opposition to Mormonism—falls, in our view, decidedly outside the realm of possibility. These allegations, and Brown’s defense of them on appeal, are so frivolous to the point of absurdity.”
Brown’s allegations are so absurd and delusional that we have significant concerns that his counsel of record—Francisco Javier Aldana—would defend such frivolous allegations against the defendants’ demurrers and motions to strike, much less appeal the trial court’s order dismissing the case.
Violation of Rules
McConnell said the lawyer also violated various rules of appellate procedure, noting:
“Several dozen pages of the briefing Mr. Aldana filed on behalf of his client are devoted to matters outside the appellate record. To take a few illustrative examples, the briefs discuss numerous passages from religious texts to support Brown’s claims that Satanists commit ‘evil and wicked acts’ and the Mormon Church has levied ‘war against this country.’ ”
“The briefs analyze sixteen different entries from the website Wikipedia on topics including Brigham Young University, the Book of Mormon, the History of San Bernardino, the mythology of bees, symbols of the State of Utah, and the Mexican-American War. They describe an individual user’s YouTube channel and the user’s alleged efforts to document ‘bizarre temple rituals taking place in the Mormon temples.’ Further, they examine the contents of myriad magazine and newspaper articles, films, opinion pieces, and websites—far too many for us to recite here.”
Didn’t Draft Complaint
Aldana, arguing against imposition of sanctions, pointed out that was his client, not he, who filed the 93-page complaint in Superior Court. McConnel responded:
“[W]e are not imposing sanctions against Mr. Aldana for the content of the complaint or Mr. Aldana’s conduct before the trial court. Rather, we are imposing sanctions against Mr. Aldana for pursuing a frivolous appeal—an appeal Mr. Aldana had a professional obligation to forego—and for committing unreasonable and extensive violations of the Rules in the appellate briefing he filed on behalf of his client.”
The jurist recited that the case had been settled prior to resolution of the appeal, but after briefing. She said in a footnote: “Because the request was made so late in the appellate process, we exercised our discretion to deny the request.”
The case is Brown v. Butler, D075348.
Aldana did not respond tom a request for comment.
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