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F.People v. Monier

Filed 11/27/17 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA F.P., ) ) Plaintiff and Respondent, ) ) S216566 v. ) ) Ct.App. 3 C062329 JOSEPH MONIER, ) ) ) Sacramento County Defendant and Appellant. ) Super. Ct. No. 06AS00671 ____________________________________) Section 632 of the Code of Civil Procedure1 provides that “upon the trial of a question of fact by the court,” the court “shall issue a statement of decision explaining the factual and legal basis for its decision as to each of the principal controverted issues at trial upon the request of any party appearing at the trial.” We granted review in this case to decide whether a court’s error in failing to issue a statement of decision as this section requires is reversible per se. The Court of Appeal held that such errors are not reversible per se, but are subject to harmless error review. The court based its conclusion on article VI, section 13 of the California Constitution (article VI, section 13), which provides: “No judgment shall be set aside, or new trial granted, in any cause, on the ground of misdirection of the jury, or of the improper admission or rejection of evidence, or for any error as to any matter of pleading, or for any error as to any matter of procedure, unless, 1 All further unlabeled statutory references are to the Code of Civil Procedure. 1 after an examination of the entire cause, including the evidence, the court shall be of the opinion that the error complained of has resulted in a miscarriage of justice.” For reasons explained below, we agree with the Court of Appeal and affirm its judgment. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND In February 2006, plaintiff F.P. sued defendant Joseph Monier for acts of sexual battery that defendant allegedly committed in 1990 and 1991, when plaintiff was 10 years old and defendant was 17 years old. Plaintiff also sued defendant’s parents for negligence, alleging that they had failed reasonably to care for, supervise, direct, oversee, and protect her from defendant. Defendant filed an answer denying the allegations and asserting in part that others were at fault and that any liability should be apportioned among them. Before trial, plaintiff settled her claim against defendant’s parents. The rest of the action went to trial before the court. The evidence presented during that trial showed, among other things, that plaintiff's father also sexually abused plaintiff during the time period in question. Dr. Laurie Wiggen, a licensed clinical psychologist who treated plaintiff from September 2005 until December 2007, diagnosed plaintiff as having posttraumatic stress disorder and attributed it to the traumas resulting from the molestations by her father and defendant. Dr. Wiggen could not separate the harm done by defendant from that done by plaintiff’s father, testifying that their conduct was “cumulatively impactful.” Dr. Eugene Roeder, a licensed psychologist who evaluated plaintiff in July 2005, diagnosed plaintiff as suffering from major depression, an anxiety disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Like Dr. Wiggen, Dr. Roeder could not distinguish the …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court