Legal Question in Appeals and Writs in California

Filing appeal in pro per

Hi,

I need to file an appeal from a blatently wrong decision by a Superior Court judge in Pasadena. He awarded attorney's fees on a case which had already mutually settled in court with no mention of attorney's fees. When I missed the deadline to pay the amount, even though an extension was requested, the other side went into court and asked for and was awarded attorneys fees in the amount of $38,000. I refinanced my house and paid both the judgment and attorney's fees. I need to file in the next few days, and wondered if I could file in Pro Per (because of the time)and then get an attorney to handle the appeal.

Thanks so much for your help!

Leslie

Asked on 3/20/03, 11:46 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Larry Rothman Larry Rothman & Associates
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Re: Filing appeal in pro per

You can file in pro per. We can help you and provide you with free consultaton. Please call Mary at my office to set up an appointment.

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3/21/03, 10:12 am
Timothy J. Walton Internet Attorney
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Re: Filing appeal in pro per

If all you are asking is whether the notice of appeal filed in the trial court must bear the name of the attorney who represented you at trial, then the answer is no.

You need to know that the time for filing of a notice of appeal is "jurisdictional" which means that the appellate will do nothing if that piece of paper is not filed on time.

For California state civil cases, the time for filing notice of appeal depends upon a couple of factors. Take a look at

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules/titleone/a29-9-11.htm#TopOfPage

Feel free to call or email if you have other questions.

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3/20/03, 12:11 pm
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman
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Re: Filing appeal in pro per

Yes, you can file a notice of appeal in pro per. The question of when the deadline actually is can be a bit tricky, and missing the deadline is pretty much fatal to your case, so don't take any chances on this one. I often take on appeals that have previously been filed in pro per and other appellate attorneys do the same, so you shouldn't hesitate to do this.

You should understand, though, that some types of cases presumptively involve payment of attorney fees to the prevailing party. A settlement agreement in such cases that doesn't say anything about attorney fees usually means that the party which recovers *is* entitled to collect such fees. This isn't always true so you should have an attorney look at the case for you, but the fact that fees were awarded here is not necessarily an error at all, let alone a blatant one. A competent attorney should have seen this issue and done something about it, but if you were in pro per then I'm afraid you may have found out one of the reasons why litigating in pro per is often unwise.

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3/20/03, 2:36 pm

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