Sanctions for Frivolous Appeals

Sanctions for Frivolous AppealsCalifornia Rules of Court §8.276 allow a judge to impose sanctions on a party or an attorney for violating one or more Rules of Court. Those violations include: taking a frivolous appeal or appealing only to delay; including matter in the record that is not reasonably material to the appeal’s determination; filing a frivolous motion; or committing any other unreasonable violation of these rules. Violations can be imposed on the motion of a party or on the court’s own motion.

Though courts are generally tolerant of parties’ and lawyers’ acts/omissions, applying sanctions “most sparingly to deter only the most egregious conduct,” the court will occasionally impose sanctions as a punishment to the offender and a deterrent to other parties and lawyers. For example, on May 12, 2014, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, Division Seven imposed $10,000.00 in sanctions on the Appellants’ attorney in an unpublished opinion Rouzbahan v. Fregoso. Upon Respondent’s motion (which requested $27,000.00 in sanctions), the court found that the Appellants’ attorney pursued a frivolous appeal and filed a misleading brief. According to the unpublished opinion: the opening brief was filed nearly a year after the notice of appeal was filed; the attorney relied on the wrong standard of review for the appeal; the attorney made an argument “unquestionably without merit” regarding substantial evidence; the attorney did not provide a full reporter’s transcript of the trial, “frustrating any meaningful review of the evidence”; the appeal gave a “misleading description of the record”; and the brief “falsely asserted” that Respondents did not present evidence contradicting the Appellants’ version of the underlying incident. Though the court did not impose the full $27,000.00 sanctions requested, the court concluded that “[t]his style of lawyering cannot be condoned” and ordered the Appellants’ attorney to directly pay $10,000.00 to the Respondents. Though sanctions are used sparingly, they are imposed every so often and they can sting a might.

By Kathy Catanzarite

Source: Kathy Catanzarite – Staff Writer

Note from This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author,, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.