Decisions from the 1st DCA (especiall7y 1/2) are more frequently including “closing observations,” as does this published opinion today from 1/2 in an appeal by a lawyer against a sanctions order imposed on her:
By way of closing observation, we note that [Appellant’s] brief provided us virtually no assistance in reaching our decision and fails to meet basic standards governing appellate briefing. The brief’s arguments are conclusory and undeveloped. It does not analyze the statutes we are asked to interpret, ignores published authority directly at odds with [Appellant’s] legal position, provides no pertinent legal authority, and relies on inaccurate citations to the California Rules of Court, an irrelevant statute and a bad misreading of irrelevant caselaw. Indeed, for this reason we could have affirmed the trial court’s ruling without even reaching the merits of this appeal on the ground that [Appellant’s] briefs have fallen far short of meeting her burden of persuading us that the trial court erred.
And that’s not all. There’s this too:
We remind counsel of a point we made in another case not long ago, specifically, that rule 3.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, entitled “Candor Toward the Tribunal,” provides in pertinent part as follows: “ ‘ “A lawyer shall not [¶] . . . [¶] (2) fail to disclose to the tribunal legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the lawyer to be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing counsel or knowingly misquote to a tribunal the language of a book, statute, decision or other authority. . . .” ’ (Rules Prof. Conduct, rule 3.3.)” (Davis v. TWC Dealer Group, Inc. (2019) 41 Cal.App.5th 662, 678.)
And then this:
For all of the many potentially meritorious cases that come before us on appeal, this case, regrettably, reminds us once again of the futility and costs of aggressive but ultimately empty advocacy in the appellate courts. There are presumptively innocent individuals—who could be any one of us—who have been incarcerated for crimes they say they did not commit, because of errors in the conduct of their prosecution. There are parents—who could be any one of us—who have been separated from their children, because of errors in the application of our juvenile dependency laws. There are children—who could be any one of ours—who, often against the backdrop of difficult life circumstances, have made errors of judgment that have brought them to the attention of our juvenile delinquency courts, sometimes resulting in the imposition of terms of rehabilitation that may be unwarranted, excessive or unduly harsh. We could go on. When counsel files an appellate brief in a civil case such as this that is so utterly lacking in content sufficient to persuade us of the claims they raise on appeal—by presenting arguments in conclusory fashion, failing to engage in any meaningful analysis, citing no potentially relevant authorities and failing to address authorities that plainly are relevant—it not only dooms their client’s appeal. It also clogs our appellate docket and inhibits our ability to timely review and decide other cases, including those involving interests of the utmost personal urgency and importance.
No motion for appellate sanctions was filed, and so no appellate sanctions are imposed. But:
We publish this opinion to make clear that, in the future, an appellate argument such as this that is so lacking in even potentially persuasive value will indeed carry the possibility of sanctions as a frivolous appeal. (See, e.g., J.B.B. Investment Partners Ltd. v. Fair (2019) 37 Cal.App.5th 1, 19 [imposing sanctions because “we conclude that ‘any reasonable attorney would agree that the appeal is totally and completely without merit’ and would not have raised the arguments defendants make on appeal”].)