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1This topic of the newsletter this week is a request for a statement of decision in California pursuant to Section 632 of the

Code of Civil Procedure. A statement of decision is where the Court states the legal bases for its decision on certain controverted issues. A statement of decision can be requested in a civil, family law or probate case. Failure to request a statement of decision on all of the controverted issues in a case can prove fatal to any possible appeal of the case as the reviewing court is required to presume that every fact essential to the judgment was proved and found by the trial court. Any party appearing at trial may request a statement of decision. If the trial is concluded within one calendar day, or in less than eight hours spread out over more than one day, the request must be made before the matter is submitted for decision. If the trial is longer than that, the request must be made within 10 days after the court announces a tentative decision. See Code of Civil Procedure 632. A trial shall be deemed to actually commence at the beginning of the opening statement or argument of any party or his or her counsel, or if there is no opening statement, then at the time of the administering of the oath or affirmation to the first witness, or the introduction of any evidence. See Code of Civil Procedure 581(a)(6). Judicial time off the bench does not count in determining how long a trial "lasts". See Gorman v. Tassajara Development Corporation (2009) 178 Cal. App. 4th 44, 61-63. The 10-day period for making the request commences at the time the clerk mails the copy of the minute order or decision. See Hutchins v. Glanda (1990) 216 Cal. App. 3d 1529, 1531. If counsel makes a timely request for the statement, the court's failure to prepare the statement is reversible error. See Social Service Union, Local 535 v. County of Monterey (1989) 208 Cal. App. 3d 676, 681. The request for a statement of decision must specify the controverted issues for which a statement of decision is requested. The trial judge is not required to sift through a host of improper specifications in search of a few arguably proper ones. Although a party cannot be prevented from using the request as a way of arguing with the court rather than clarifying the grounds of its decision, a party who makes that choice is not entitled to rely on the resulting document to insulate the judgment from the presumption of correctness. See Yield Dynamics, Inc. v. TEA Systems Corp. (2007) 154 Cal. App. 4th 547, 558-559. When there has been a request for a statement of decision, the statement of decision may be limited to only those issues specified in the request if less than all material issues are specified See Harvard Investment Co. v. Gap Stores, Inc. (1984) 156 Cal. App. 3d 704, 709 n.3. If an issue was not brought up at the trial, the reviewing court is under no obligation to address it. See Colony Ins. Co. v. Crusader Ins. Co. (2010) 188 Cal. App. 4th 743, 750-751. A party waives any objection on appeal based on the trial court's failure to file a written statement of decision when trial lasts less than one day and that party fails to make an oral request, and when language in that party's points and authorities that were alleged to be a written request was not specific, but merely asked court to find in her favor. See Martinez v. County of Tulare (1987) 190 Cal. App. 3d 1430, 14341435.

If no statement of decision has been requested, the reviewing court is required to presume that every fact essential to the judgment was proved and found by the trial court. Review in these circumstances is limited to a determination as to whether there is any evidence, contradicted or uncontradicted, to support the judgment. See Agri-Systems, Inc. v. Foster Poultry Farms (2008) 168 Cal. App. 4th 1128, 1134-1135. Requesting a statement of decision is an excellent way for a party to require that the Court give a detailed explanation of the basis and reasoning behind its decision. If you enjoy this newsletter, tell others about it. They can subscribe by visiting the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm Have a great week and thanks for being a subscriber. Yours Truly, Stan Burman The author of this newsletter, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California litigation since 1995. The author's website: http://www.legaldocspro.net View numerous sample document sold by the author: http://www.scribd.com/legaldocspro Copyright 2012 Stan Burman. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: Please note that the author of this newsletter, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this newsletter is NOT intended to constitute legal advice. These materials and information contained in this newsletter have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this newsletter is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the sender and receiver. Subscribers and any other readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.