Legal Question in Appeals and Writs in California

Summary judgment appeals de novo?

I was told by a lawyer that if I choose to appeal a summary judgment in favor of the defendant, it is different standard than after a jury trial.

Basically what he said is the court must view the evidence in a light favorable to plaintiff as the losing party. Is this true?

Asked on 11/17/07, 5:08 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Steven Murray Steven W. Murray, APC
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Re: Summary judgment appeals de novo?

Appellate courts review a summary judgment de novo. That is because all summary judgments are legal - not factual - decisions due to there being no disputed factual issues.

Questions of law are always reviewed de novo.

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11/17/07, 12:13 pm
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman
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Re: Summary judgment appeals de novo?

Yes, but the trial court was also required to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Theoretically the appellate court will look at the case exactly the way the trial court was supposed to.

"De novo" review means something different. It means that the appellate court will not presume the trial court was either right or wrong. Instead it will essentially decide the motion anew.

Summary judgments are reviewed de novo, as you say, but that is not the same thing as viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Plenty of other types of orders and judgments are reviewed de novo without requiring such a favorable stance on the evidence.

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11/17/07, 5:59 pm

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