Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Mepco Svcs. v. Saddleback Valley USD (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 2, 2010)

Here's what I like about this opinion:

(1)  Its breadth.  It's comprehensive.  It takes the issues seriously.  It engages them.  I like it.  Sure, that makes the opinion long.  But it also makes clear to the parties and the public how and why the Court decided as it did.  I like that.

(2)  Its result.  The Court of Appeal holds that the trial court abused its discretion in allowing some prejudicial testimony (that the president of the company mortgaged his home to pay subcontractors), but that the error was harmless since this emotional appeal likely didn't affect the verdict.  I agree on both counts.  And both are worth saying.

(3)  Its description of certain testimony.  For whatever reason, it brought a smile to my face when I saw the opinion's discussion of how one of the witnesses -- in typical construction-person lingo -- answered the question "What did you think about quality of the construction plans?"  The response:  "They suck."  When the attorney then followed up with "What do you mean by that?", the witness then explains:  "That means I don't like them."  Sometimes witnesses on the stand talk like they talk in the real world, and I love it.