Winning Your Appeal at the Trial Court Level: “Statement of Decision”

Winning Your Appeal at the Trial Court Level:



“Statement of Decision”


Request a statement of decision. “The statement of decision provides a record of the court’s reasoning on particular disputed issues which we may review in determining whether its decision is supported by the evidence and the law.” (Gavaldon v. Daimler Chrysler Corp. (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 544, 553.) Absent a statement of decision, the appellate court presumes that all facts were found against appellant. (Marriage of Arceneaux (1991) 51 C3d 1030, 1035; Cal. Civ. Proc. §634.)


“The doctrine of implied findings requires the appellate court to infer the trial court made all factual findings necessary to support the judgment. [Citations.] The doctrine is a natural and logical corollary to three fundamental principles of appellate review: (1) a judgment is presumed correct; (2) all intendments and presumptions are indulged in favor of correctness; and (3) the appellant bears the burden of providing an adequate record affirmatively proving error.” (Fladeboe v. American Isuzu Motors, Inc. (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 42, 58.)


A statement of decision is waived if not timely or properly requested. (Cal. Civ. Proc. §632; Marriage of Jones (1990) 222 Cal.App.3d 505, 515; Noguchi v. Civil Service Commission (1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 1521, 1541.) The timing is as follows:


(1) If trial is concluded in one calendar day or in less than eight hours over more than one day, you must make your request before the case is submitted for decision. (Cal. Civ. Proc. §632.)


(2) If trial lasts more than eight hours, you may request a statement of decision within 10 days after the court announces its tentative decision. (Cal. Civ. Proc. §632.)


Your request for a statement of decision must specify those controverted issues for which you seek adjudication. (Cal. Civ. Proc. §632.)


Objections to a proposed statement of decision are due 15 days after service of the proposed statement. (Cal. Civ. Proc. §632.) “Securing a statement of decision is the first step, but is not necessarily enough, to avoid the doctrine of implied findings. Litigants must also bring ambiguities and omissions in the statement of decision’s factual findings to the trial court’s attention – or suffer the consequences.” (Fladeboe v. American Isuzu Motors, Inc. (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 42, 59.)