Friday, July 01, 2016

Brooks v. Mercy Hospital (Cal. Ct. App. - July 1, 2016)

Some appeals are hard.  Some are absurdly easy.

This is an example of the latter.

I'm not even sure how the trial court gets this one wrong.  I suspect that the fact that plaintiff is an incarcerated prisoner and pro se litigant has something to do with it.  But still.

CCP 352.1 tolls the statute of limitations for a maximum of two years for anyone who's incarcerated "for a term less than life."  There's a longstanding, express holding of the Court of Appeal that says that the phrase "for a term less than life" includes prisoners sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

Mr. Brooks is one of those people.  Yet the trial court grants defendant's demurrer, holding that since Mr. Brooks was sentenced to life, he's not entitled to tolling.

Nope.  That's wrong.  Reversed.

I'm not even sure why defendants bothered to make this argument below.  Or to defend the grant of demurrer on appeal.  It's obviously wrong.  Just a waste of time and money, I'd figure.

But c'est la vie.  Their call.  In any event, the Court of Appeal easily disposes with this one.

Were all appeals so easy, eh?