Monday, November 27, 2017

F.P. v. Monier (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Nov. 27, 2017)

After a long (and happy) holiday break, it's sometimes nice to come back to unanimous decisions by the California Supreme Court that don't require you to do anything more than read the first paragraph of the opinion.  What's easier than that?

So, sure, you could read the subsequent twenty pages.  As I did.  But why bother?  There's no dissent, and all you'd get is the Court's reasoning.  Which is important, to be sure.  And worthwhile.

But as for just knowing the rule, yeah, you can stop after a single paragraph:

"Section 632 of the Code of Civil Procedure1 provides that “upon the trial of a question of fact by the court,” the court “shall issue a statement of decision explaining the factual and legal basis for its decision as to each of the principal controverted issues at trial upon the request of any party appearing at the trial.” We granted review in this case to decide whether a court’s error in failing to issue a statement of decision as this section requires is reversible per se. The Court of Appeal held that such errors are not reversible per se, but are subject to harmless error review. The court based its conclusion on article VI, section 13 of the California Constitution (article VI, section 13), which provides: “No judgment shall be set aside, or new trial granted, in any cause, on the ground of misdirection of the jury, or of the improper admission or rejection of evidence, or for any error as to any matter of pleading, or for any error as to any matter of procedure, unless, after an examination of the entire cause, including the evidence, the court shall be of the opinion that the error complained of has resulted in a miscarriage of justice.” For reasons explained below, we agree with the Court of Appeal and affirm its judgment."

Sometimes it's just fine to take the easy way out.  Today's an example.