Legal Memorandum: Reversal of New Trial Order in CA

Issue: Under California law, should a new trial order be reversed when the trial court ignored an appellate court’s prior rulings regarding the sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: New trial order; Sufficiency of the evidence
Jurisdiction: California
Cited Cases: 136 Cal. App. 3d 802
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 09/01/2000

If a court ruled against defendants on a certain issue,  the law of the doctrine case places any arguments regarding those elements of damages beyond the reach of both the trial court and the defendants on this appeal.  See Gibson v. State (1962) 208 Cal. App. 2d 458, 462; see also Kowis v. Howard (1992) 3 Cal. 4th 888, 893 and cases cited therein.

If no claim is raised regarding the sufficiency of  proof regarding, for example,  past medical special damages, future medicals, or pain and suffering on the first appeal then these issues were waived, for failure to raise them on appeal.  See Wurzl v. Holloway (1996) 46 Cal. App. 4th 1740, 1754 n.1.  Moreover, the defendants are not entitled to belatedly raise these issues now, for the time to raise them, if at all, was on the first appeal.  See Amato, 53 Cal. App. 4th at 839.

These doctrines are designed to assure that once issues have been fully litigated and resolved, they may not be raised again by later appeals.  This rule assures that the lower courts and litigants who are attempting to resolve a case on remand will not be obliged to revisit issues that have already been litigated and resolved.  See Kowis, 3 Cal. 4th at 893 and cases cited therein.  For similar reasons, the well-settled rule that issues not raised on appeal are waived, see Wurzl, 46 Cal. App. 4th at 1754 n1, is not abrogated merely because the […]

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