Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Robinson v. City of Chowchilla (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 23 & 27, 2011)

Christmas brings joy -- and disappointment -- to virtually everyone.  But apparently it doesn't necessarily end there.

On the Friday before Christmas, Justice Dawson issued this opinion.  Which affirmed the trial court.  To the chagrin, and yet happiness, of both of the litigants.  Defendants had filed the appeal.  But plaintiff filed a cross-appeal.  Both of them lose their appeal.  Which means that both of them somewhat win.  So no one's Christmas was entirely ruined.

But then, today -- the first business day after Christmas -- Justice Dawson issues this opinion.  Which involves plaintiff's separate appeal of the trial court's denial of his request for attorney's fees.  Surely both opinions were ready before Christmas.  But this one gets out only after the holidays.  And this one does not simply affirm.  Robinson instead obtains a reversal.  Victory!  Sweet victory.  A late Christmas present, to be sure.  But a happy one.

At least for Robinson.  The City of Chowchilla (and their lawyers) taste defeat.  But at least tasted holiday turkey first.

But fear not.  Justice Dawson has a present for them as well.  Robinson wins his appeal.  But that doesn't necessarily means Robinson actually gets a present.  The Court of Appeal simply remands.  Maybe he will be entitled to attorney's fees.  That's for the trial court to decide, in accordance with the Court of Appeal's holding.  And that holding has some portions that are favorable to Robinson, but others that favor the City of Chowchilla.

So, in the end, Justice Dawson spreads out both the rewards as well as the pain.  A little right before the holidays.  A little right after.

Merry Christmas.