Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In Re Marriage of Corona (Cal. Ct. App. - April 7, 2009)

If you're (1) an attorney in San Diego, (2) have a heavily litigated (and somewhat nasty) divorce case, (3) the merits of which involve extensive disclosure of your (and your ex-wife's) assets and property settlement agreement, and (4) not only lost but were sanctioned $5000 below, one of the bad things that can happen on appeal is that you lose your appeal in a published decision.

Richard Corona knows what I mean.

This isn't a great result for the ex-wife either, mind you, since her financial stuff is all out there as well. But at least she wins, and well as gets some public vindication.

Though even her victory is far from a solid one. Particularly since she (or, more accurately, her counsel) initially argued on appeal that there was no jurisdiction over this interlocutory matter, then retracted this assertion at oral argument (once she realized that the transaction costs of the appeal had already been sunk) and instead urge the Court of Appeal to resolve the case, only to see that request rejected by Justice O'Rourke on the ground that she was right to begin with and that jurisdiction cannot be created by the consent of the parties. So while the sanction order gets reviewed (and affirmed), the majority of the appeal is dismissed for resolution at a later date. A result that lets -- i.e., forces -- the parties to continue to expend fees and to tee up the issue once more at a later date.

But that's the way the system works. Jurisdiction is like that.

Which is why you want to think before initially moving to dismiss.

P.S. - Mr. Corona might not care much about his financial information being revealed in light of his other problems, including those that led to his current ineligibility to practice law.