Q: In California, assuming that petitioner's appeal of a motion for summary judgment has merit, can the respondent argue news grounds at oral argument?
The new grounds were not originally listed in the motion for summary judgment.
A: Very likely, yes. This is because of a basic rule on appeal that if the trial court judge makes the right decision but for the wrong reason, the appeals court will affirm the decision. On the other hand, if the respondent never argued these new grounds in its brief to the court of appeals, then it is risking sanctions from the appeals court. The answer depends on the specific facts of the case and the specific legal issues in it.
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