Thursday, June 26, 2008

Monroy v. City of Los Angeles (Cal. Ct. App. - June 25, 2008)

It's rare to read an opinion regarding a trial in a routine civil case -- here, an automobile accident involving the LAPD -- in which (1) the Court of Appeal reverses the jury's finding of no liability on multiple grounds, all of which are fairly pedestrian (application of requests for admission, limitation of cross-examination, whether a percipient witness deposition was admissible because the witness was unavailable, etc.), and (2) I find myself repeatedly saying to myself "Yes. Right. Yes. Correct. I completely agree." Usually, I think that the trial court not only gets these issues right, but the deference that's given to the judgment makes reversal unlikely.

But here, yet again, is the exception that proves the rule. The opinion by Justice Aldrich seems entirely persuasive to me. I agree with him on every point; so much so, that it's hard to see why the trial court made the findings it did (especially on the deposition issue).

It's a good case to read for civil trial lawyers. Especially since it manifests how pretrial discovery may be exceptionally relevant to how a case ultimately gets resolved at trial.

Plus, on a more pedestrian level, it's also interesting to read how the LAPD works with regard to responses to "Code 1" through "Code 6" backup requests; e.g., how the police decide whether to respond to a request by obeying traffic laws or, alternately, turning on their lights and siren and speeding through town.

Interesting stuff.