Appellate

Our San Jose, California appellate attorneys are proud to have argued before the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Utah Supreme Court, and various California Courts of Appeal. We have won appeals in multiple practice areas, firmly establishing our reputation as formidable advocates in both the trial court and on appeal. Based in Silicon Valley, our appeals practice extends throughout California and to other jurisdictions in select matters.

Most of our successes in the appellate courts have involved cases where we have represented our clients in the lower courts as well. However, Gates Eisenhart Dawson is often hired after a judgment or appealable order has been entered for the express purpose of representing the client in the court of appeal.

Representative Cases

In Meyers v. Board of Administration for the Federated City Employees Retirement Fund (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 250, we won a published reversal for the plaintiff, a public employee who was injured on the job and subsequently denied disability retirement benefits, first by the City of San Jose, and then by the trial court in his administrative mandate petition. The Court of Appeal reversed, finding that the trial court’s determination was not supported by substantial evidence.

In Tichinin v. City of Morgan Hill (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 1049, we won a news-grabbing published reversal of the trial court’s order granting the City of Morgan Hill’s anti-SLAPP motion. In connection with a local attorney’s constitutionally-protected activities, the City of Morgan Hill adopted a resolution condemning his protected activities and requesting his resignation from the City’s Urban Limit Line Subcommittee. The Court of Appeal’s reversal reinstated the plaintiff attorney’s civil rights lawsuit.

In Cabral v. Martins (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 471, our attorneys successfully represented attorneys after a former wife brought an action against her former husband and the attorneys who represented him in another action, alleging that they attempted to evade a child support judgment against the former husband through the modification of an estate plan. Our attorneys, on behalf of the former husband’s attorneys, filed a special motion to strike under the anti-SLAPP statute. The trial court granted the motions and awarded attorneys’ fees. In affirming the trial court’s order, the Court of Appeal held that the attorney’s actions in lodging a will with the probate court, defending the husband in litigation, and the will revision itself were protected activity for the purposes of the anti-SLAPP motion.

In Swift v. Superior Court (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 878, our attorneys won a published reversal of the trial court’s order striking the tenant plaintiffs’ peremptory disqualification of the judge as untimely. The Court of Appeal held that the tenants’ disqualification of the trial judge was timely, even though that judge had presided over earlier discovery motions, since such motions do not involve the determination of fact issues as to the merits of the case.

In Murray’s Iron Works, Inc. v. Boyce (2008) 158 Cal.App.4th 1279, our attorneys won a published reversal of the trial court’s order granting a contractor statutory penalties and attorneys’ fees. The Court of Appeal held that Civil Code §3260.1, which applies to construction contracts involving “progress” payments, does not apply to construction contracts where the only payments are either down payments or payments upon completion.

In Huong Que, Inc. v. Luu (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 400, Josh Borger represented on appeal a Vietnamese calendar distribution corporation and its owner in their lawsuit against previous corporate owners who had agreed to be the managing agents, alleging that they stopped performing management duties and misappropriated the corporation’s customer list and used it to solicit business for a competing business. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s issuance of a preliminary injunction, and determined that it was likely that the corporation and its owner would prevail on the claim that the previous owners breached the duty of loyalty and interfered with prospective economic advantages.

In Cabesuela v. Browning-Ferris (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 101, our attorneys, representing the plaintiff, won a published reversal of the trial court’s dismissal of the employee’s claims of wrongful termination in violation of public policy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court of Appeal held that a claim of retaliation for an employee’s complaints of job-related safety does not require proof of actual unsafe conditions, but merely that the employee’s complaints were reasonable and made in good faith.

In Gonzales v. Police Department, City of San Jose, California (9th Cir. 1990) 901 F.2d 758, our attorneys, representing the employee, won a published reversal of the district court’s denial of an employee’s discrimination claims. The employee, a Hispanic, claimed he was skipped over for promotion because of his race. He pointed to the fact that every time he was denied promotion, his employer failed to follow its affirmative action program designed to encourage the promotion of minorities. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the City of San Jose’s failure to follow its own affirmative action program constituted significant evidence in a Title VII suit against it. The Court also called into doubt the relevance of the City’s post-lawsuit promotion of other minority employees, finding that “curative measures simply do not tend to prove that a prior violation did not occur.”

In Pecoraro v. GBR Magic Sands MHP LLC (2016, Sixth District Court of Appeal, Case No. H040008), our attorneys were part of a team which won affirmance of a judgment following a bench trial cancelling a 98-year ground lease entered into in 1963. Like the trial court, the Court of Appeal rejected all of the respondents’ defenses including statute of limitations, res judicata, and contractual estoppel. The Court also rejected the respondents’ attacks on the remedy of lease cancellation as opposed to damages.

In Wang v. The TDS Group, Inc. (2014, Sixth District Court of Appeal, Case No. H038786), our attorneys won affirmance of the trial court’s order granting the defendant’s post-trial motion for new trial following a multi-million dollar plaintiff’s verdict. The Court of Appeal agreed that the erroneous jury verdict form gave rise to irreconcilably inconsistent jury answers, and thus was “against the law.”

In Tamayo v. CordeValle Golf Club, LLC (2013, Sixth District Court of Appeal, Case No. H037983), our attorneys, representing the employee, won affirmance of the trial court’s order denying the employer’s motion to compel arbitration of the employee’s retaliation claims. The Court of Appeal adopted our trial court arguments that the arbitration provision embedded in the employer’s handbook failed to constitute an enforceable contract where the handbook’s cover page stated that it is not “intended to confer any rights or privileges,” nor “does it constitute a contract of employment,” and that the handbook is “presented as a matter of information only.”

In Rad v. Golpour (2012, Sixth District Court of Appeal, Case No. H036035), our attorneys, representing some of the defendants in this corporate dispute, won a stunning reversal of the trial court’s million dollar judgment against all of the defendants. The Court of Appeal agreed with our arguments that, as a derivative shareholder suit, the plaintiff, a mere shareholder, could not recover when suing on behalf of the company. The Court of Appeal further held that the trial court erred in finding various defendants liable under theories of conspiracy, aiding and abetting, or lack of fiduciary duty, all for lack of substantial evidence.

In Williams v. Sun Microsystems, Inc. (2007, Sixth District Court of Appeal, Case No. H029828), our attorneys won a reversal of the trial court’s grant of summary adjudication of the employee’s claim of sexual orientation discrimination. In reversing, the Court of Appeal applied the rule that a senior manager’s discriminatory animus may be imputed to her subordinate decision-makers, thus allowing a jury to find that the adverse employment action was motivated by such illegal animus.

In David v. D & D Apparel, Inc. (2007, Sixth District Court of Appeal, Case No. H029839), we won affirmance of the trial court’s order in a business dispute granting the defendant relief from default. In affirming, the Court of Appeal found no abuse of discretion where the defendant’s prior counsel’s default was based upon that attorney’s terminal illness.

In Crediford v. Oliver (2000, Sixth District Court of Appeal, Case No. H021709), we staved off a petition for coram vobis relief, collaterally attacking a nearly half-million dollar judgment in favor of a pair of residential tenants who won the largest known retaliatory eviction verdict in Santa Clara County.

For more information about our appellate practice, we welcome you to contact GED.

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