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Ryan v. Rosenfeld

Filed 6/15/17 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA STEVE RYAN, ) ) Plaintiff and Appellant, ) ) S232582 v. ) ) Ct.App. 1/4 A145465 MITCHELL ROSENFELD, ) ) San Francisco County Defendant and Respondent. ) Super. Ct. No. CGC10504983 ____________________________________) Section 663 of the Code of Civil Procedure allows an aggrieved party in a civil case to move the trial court to vacate its final judgment. The question in this case is whether an order denying one of those motions is appealable even if it raises issues that could have been litigated via an appeal of the judgment. We answered yes to this question over a century ago. (See Bond v. United Railroads (1911) 159 Cal. 270, 273 (Bond).) Bond held that the statute authorizing appeals of postjudgment orders covered denials of section 663 motions. The current version of that statute allows for the appeal of ―an order made after a[n appealable] judgment.‖ (Code Civ. Proc., § 904.1, subd. (a)(2).) Orders denying motions to vacate under section 663 fit that description, and this court has always interpreted the language currently found in section 904.1, subdivision (a)(2), to make appealable all section 663 denials. The Legislature has done nothing to undermine or overturn that interpretation despite enacting over a dozen other changes to this very statutory scheme. So the rule announced in Bond remains valid. 1 I. Stephen Ryan sued his former business partner Mitchell Rosenfeld in 2010. Four years later, the trial court dismissed the action on the grounds that Ryan had abandoned the case. Two months after that, Ryan moved to vacate the judgment, claiming he was ill and hospitalized in Mexico when the judgment issued. The motion cited and quoted from section 663. The trial court denied the motion. Ryan later filed a notice of appeal for both the order dismissing the case and the order denying his motion to vacate the judgment. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal as untimely, observing that the deadline to appeal the order dismissing the case had passed. And though the appeal may have been timely as to the later order denying the motion to vacate, the court ruled that an order denying a section 663 motion ―is not appealable.‖ We granted Ryan‘s petition for review, asking the parties to brief this question: ―Is the denial of a motion to vacate the judgment under Code of Civil Procedure section 663 separately appealable?‖1 II. To resolve this case we must analyze two sections of the Code of Civil Procedure. The first lists scenarios in which the judgment in a civil case ―may, upon motion of the party aggrieved, be set aside and vacated.‖ (§ 663.) The second provides that an appeal ―may be taken from‖ ―an order made after a judgment made appealable by paragraph (1).‖ (§ 904.1, subd. (a)(2).) The ―paragraph (1)‖ referred to here provides that ―a judgment‖ may be appealed so long as it is neither ―an interlocutory judgment‖ (with certain exceptions listed 1 Rosenfeld has argued in this …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court