Lower Court Divested Of Jurisdiction, And Neither Side Cited Controlling Precedent.
Intermediate appellate courts in California try to (and, largely do) get it right in the large stream of cases they handle each year. In some cases, this means that they find the controlling precedent for resolution of a particular cause.
That is what happened in Martin v. Stegner, Case No. A139838 (1st Dist., Div. 2 May 29, 2014) (unpublished).
What happened here was that the defense filed a SLAPP motion, with plaintiff dismissing two of the defendants before the motion was set to be heard. However, the trial court still considered the motion and even granted $3,900 in attorney’s fees to the defendants.
The appellate court vacated the order below, finding that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to proceed based on The Law Offices of Andrew L. Ellis v. Yang, 178 Cal.App.4th 869, 876-880 (2009).) Neither side cited this controlling precedent, with the reviewing court reminding counsel of their obligation to inform the court about controlling precedents. Although the trial court did entertain continuing jurisdiction for the limited purpose of ruling on the defense fees motion, the entire order had to be vacated because more was done than just this.