In Justice Joshua Groban’s first opinion, the Supreme Court in K.J. v. Los Angeles Unified School District today holds that an attorney can challenge a sanctions award against him even though only his client appealed from the award.  The court concludes that, even if the attorney is not listed in the notice of appeal, “when it is clear from the record that the omitted attorney intended to participate in the appeal and the respondent was not misled or prejudiced by the omission, the rule of liberal construction compels that the notice be construed to include the omitted attorney.”

The court states that while an appeal’s timeliness is an absolute prerequisite, courts must cut litigants some slack in evaluating a notice of appeal’s contents.  The question is “whether the notice, despite any technical defect, nonetheless served its basic function — to provide notice of who is seeking review of what order or judgment — so as to properly invoke appellate jurisdiction.”

The court reverses the Second District, Division Three, Court of Appeal.  It also disapproves a 1993 opinion by the First District, Division Five, a 2014 opinion by the Second District, Division Three, a 2009 Third District opinion, and a 1995 opinion by the Second District, Division Two.

Appellate jurisdiction cases are of continuing interest to the Supreme Court.  [Related:  The appealability ticket to the Supreme Court.]

Justice Groban’s first opinion comes more than 12 months after he joined the court, which is a bit longer than the time it took for the four other most recent justices to file theirs.  [Related:  Waiting for Justice Groban’s first opinion.]