California Court Upholds Judgment in Favor of City of Pasadena Because Plaintiff Failed to Provide Full Record on Appeal Regarding His Wrongful Death Claim

In an unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal recently affirmed a judgment in favor of the City of Pasadena, after the trial court held that the plaintiff had not set forth evidence supporting his negligence claim, nor had he shown that he suffered damages, emotional distress, physical injuries, or property damage due to the underlying incident.  In the underlying case, the plaintiff had proceeded in pro per, meaning that he was not represented by legal counsel.

At issue before the appellate court was whether the appellant had presented an adequate record for review of his wrongful death action. The court of appeals stated that the burden is on the party that appeals the lower court judgment.  They must demonstrate an error, and in doing so, they must supply an adequate record for the reviewing court to assess the lower court’s actions.

The plaintiff in this case filed a wrongful death action, alleging that the City of Pasadena’s fire department paramedics negligently transported his son to an emergency room after his son suffered gunshot wounds by a third party.  The trial court eventually granted summary judgment in favor of the City after the City’s requests for admissions showed that the plaintiff admitted he did not have evidence supporting his allegation of negligence. Additionally, the requests for admissions showed that he had not suffered compensatory damages, emotional distress, physical injuries, or property damage due to the incident.  Judgment had been entered for the City.

The appellate court stated that a self-represented party is not entitled to special treatment but must be treated like any other party. The plaintiff argued that the judgment should be reversed, in light of his status as pro per, but the court rejected this argument. Additionally, the court stated that on appeal, the party challenging the judgment must provide an argument and legal authority that demonstrates a prejudicial error. Appellate courts presume that trial court orders are correct, and a party that appeals must set forth an error.

Here, the record did not include the pleadings or the papers filed in connection with the defendant’s summary judgment motion. The court stated the rule that when a record is not adequate for review, the party that has appealed defaults, and the trial court decision will be affirmed.   The appellate court stated that without these documents, they could not review the order and must presume that the trial court order was correct.

The appellate court affirmed the judgment in favor of the City of Pasadena.

At Sharifi Firm, we represent individuals in their claims for compensation following an accident, including individuals setting forth a wrongful death claim.  Throughout Southern California, our wrongful death attorneys provide experienced advocacy for victims pursuing personal injury claims against at-fault parties. To set up a free, no-obligation consultation with a dedicated lawyer in our office, call 1-866-422-7222 or fill out our online form.

More Blog Posts:

Judgment in Favor of Defendant Transit System Upheld in Vehicle Accident Lawsuit, California Appellate Court Holds No Abuse of Discretion When Judge Excluded Plaintiff’s Expert Testimony, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, April 6, 2017

California Court of Appeal Dismisses Plaintiff’s Lawsuit for Damages Following Car Accident Due to Plaintiff’s Failure to Cooperate and Intent to Commit Fraud on the Court, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, April 13, 2017

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