The California Legislature has created a new class of highly expedited time frames for appeals from an order denying a petition to compel arbitration in cases involving a claim under the Elder and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 15600, et seq.). (See Code Civ. Proc., § 1294.4.) The new rules go into effect July 1, 2017.

The expedited appeal process applies to appeals from an order denying or dismissing a petition to compel arbitration made appealable by Code of Civil Procedure, §1294(a). (California Rules of Court, Rule 8.710(a).) The process applies only to those orders in cases raising an elder abuse claim and only where a party has been granted a preference pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure, § 36. (Code Civ. Proc., §1294.4(a).)

The expedited appellate process dramatically shortens the usual civil appeal time frames throughout the appellate process and imposes new requirements for the expedited appellate process. The implementing rules are contained in California Rules of Court, rules 8.710 through 8.717.

Here are some of the highlights:

Notice of Appeal and Record Designation

  • The notice of appeal must be filed within 20 days of service of a notice of entry of order, instead of the usual 60 days (Rule 8.712(b).)
  • Only a joint appendix or separate appellant's and respondent's appendices may be used; not clerk's transcripts (Rule 8.713(a).)
  • The record must be designated at the same time the notice of appeal is filed, instead of within 10 days (Rule 8.713(b)(1).)
  • Court reporters must prepare the reporter's transcript within 10 days after notification by the superior court. (Rule 8.713 (b)(2).)
  • The time frame to cure certain defaults is reduced to two court days (Rule 8.713 (b)(3).)

Briefing Schedule

  • The appellant's opening brief is due 10 days after the notice of appeal is served and filed (Rule 8.715(a)(1).)
  • The respondent's brief is due within 25 days after the appellant's opening brief is filed (Rule 8.715(a)(2).)
  • The reply brief is due within 15 days after the respondent's brief is filed (Rule 8.715(a)(3).)
  • Stipulations for extensions may be made only upon agreement that the extension will "promote the interests of justice." The extension will extend the time deadline for the Court of Appeal to file its decision by the same amount of time. (Rule 8.715(c).) Absent a stipulation, the parties may still apply for an extension of time from the court, which will only be granted upon a showing of good cause and if the extension will promote the interests of justice. (Rule 8.717.)

Oral Argument and Decision

  • The court must give 10 days notice of oral argument, but the notice period may be shortened by the court for good cause. (Rule 8.716.)
  • The Court of Appeal must issue its decision within 100 days after the notice of appeal is filed (Code Civ. Proc., § 1294.4(a).)

There are additional changes to the usual appellate procedures contained within these rules and the rules should be studied carefully for those details. 

From a defense point of view, since the opening brief must be filed so soon after the notice of appeal is filed, counsel should be aware that plaintiff's counsel wishing to move the case along will likely promptly obtain a trial preference order and serve and file a notice of entry of the order after the hearing on the petition to compel arbitration. Because the opening brief will be due as soon as 30 days from the hearing date, a draft of the appellant's opening brief and appendix should be well under way by the time you file a notice of appeal in these cases.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.