Long Beach, CA asked in Appeals / Appellate Law for California

Q: Are you aware of any published decisions on legal errors?

A complaint for a cause of action goes to trial. At trial, prior to any testimony, defense motions for judgment on the pleadings. The court finds that the elements to support the cause of action are not met but nevertheless denies the motion.. The defense had centered its case on the complaint failing to allege the necessary elements to support the alleged cause of action had occurred. Rather than making a summary judgment in favor of defendant, or granting plaintiff a leave to amend the complaint the court goes forward with the trial but for a different cause of action never before alleged by plaintiff and affording defendant no opportunity to form a defense against. The court ends up ruling in favor of Plaintiff and enters a judgment for the original cause of action. Not the alternative cause of action prosecuted in the trial.

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Appeals & Appellate Lawyer
  • Frisco, TX

A: Trial amendments like this are commonly made to conform to the evidence. Unless they are a surprise to the defendant and the defendant objects and moves for a continuance, trials often proceed on the merits of the claim as amended because both parties are ready to get their case over with, neither wants any further delays, and usually the amendments were anticipated and not a surprise to anybody.

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