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Patricia Pennington v. Betty Storey


May 26, 2011


Super. Ct. No. 10CP00228

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Butz ,j.

Pennington v. Storey CA3


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendant and appellant Betty Storey, appearing pro se, appeals from a three-year civil injunction prohibiting her from harassing or contacting plaintiff and respondent Patricia Pennington. (Code Civ. Proc., § 527.6, subd. (d).)*fn1 Storey's principal arguments are that (1) the injunction was not supported by clear and convincing evidence; (2) she was improperly barred from testifying; and (3) the trial judge was biased against her. We must affirm summarily, because Storey has not produced a record sufficient to enable appellate review of her arguments.


On March 18, 2010 (all further calendar dates are to that year), Pennington filed a petition for a temporary restraining order and injunction to prevent Storey from harassing her. Attached to the petition was a long list of incidents recounting Storey's frequent and repeated acts of harassment and intimidation of Pennington and her husband.

Patricia and Albert Lee Pennington (the Penningtons) and Storey live across the street from each other in the same residential mobile home park, Mobil Country Club. According to the petition, Storey embarked upon a two-year vendetta against Pennington and her husband Albert, which included filing frivolous complaints with the mobile home park; constantly taking pictures of the Penningtons' home, garage, vehicles, and trailer; threatening to call animal control when the Penningtons' dog barked; filing an unfounded complaint against Albert with the state contractor's license board; and filing a false complaint with a state agency against the Penningtons for having constructed additions to their home without a permit. The petition included declarations by several percipient witnesses, attesting to the truth of Pennington's allegations.

Storey filed a written response denying the allegations of harassment and explaining why the actions she took against the Penningtons were justified.

Trial and Judgment

The matter was tried before Commissioner Christopher Longaker on April 8. No reporter's transcript of the proceedings is included in the record.*fn2

At the conclusion of the hearing, Commissioner Longaker issued a three-year permanent injunction. The personal conduct order prohibits Storey from harassing, threatening, following, or contacting Pennington, or keeping her under surveillance. The order further commands Storey to stay at least three yards away from Pennington and her vehicle at all times.

Storey appeals from the order.


At the outset, we observe that Storey is not entitled to special treatment by this court because of her pro se status. (Rappleyea v. Campbell (1994) 8 Cal.4th 975, 984-985.) We must hold her to the same standards as if she were a practicing attorney. (Nelson v. Gaunt (1981) 125 Cal.App.3d 623, 638-639.)

Storey's brief consists of a lengthy and rambling recitation of her version of the facts, coupled with an explanation of why the acts of annoyance and harassment of which she was accused were justified. While it contains occasional mention of certain exhibits, her presentation lacks citations to pertinent authority or a coherent legal argument for reversal.

"To demonstrate error, appellant must present meaningful legal analysis supported by citations to authority and citations to facts in the record that support the claim of error. [Citations.] When a point is asserted without argument and authority for the proposition, 'it is deemed to be without foundation and requires no discussion by the reviewing court.' (Atchley v. City of Fresno [(1984)] 151 Cal.App.3d [635,] 647; accord, Berger v. Godden [(1985)] 163 Cal.App.3d [1113,] 1117 ['[F]ailure of appellant to advance any pertinent or intelligible legal argument . . . constitute[s] an abandonment of the [claim of error.'].)" (In re S.C. (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 396, 408.)

The argument portion of Storey's brief is also defective because it contains no headings sufficient to alert the reader to the nature of points she wishes to raise. Each heading is labeled only "POINT #1, POINT #2," etc. Because her arguments are not presented through appropriate headings, Storey has forfeited the right to have us consider them. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.204(a)(1)(B); see, e.g., In re Mark B. (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 61, 67, fn. 2; see also Opdyk v. California Horse Racing Bd. (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 1826, 1830, fn. 4 [The reviewing court is not "obliged to speculate about which issues counsel intend to raise."].)

Storey's claim that the evidence does not support the injunction, which is based only on her unsupported assertions and exhibits appearing in the clerk's transcript, fails because she has not furnished us with a reporter's transcript of the hearing.

"In assessing whether substantial evidence supports the requisite elements of willful harassment, as defined in . . . section 527.6, we review the evidence before the trial court in accordance with the customary rules of appellate review. We resolve all factual conflicts and questions of credibility in favor of the prevailing party and indulge in all legitimate and reasonable inferences to uphold the finding of the trial court if it is supported by substantial evidence which is reasonable, credible and of solid value." (Schild v. Rubin (1991) 232 Cal.App.3d 755, 762.)

The party challenging the judgment or order has the burden of showing reversible error by an adequate record. (Ballard v. Uribe (1986) 41 Cal.3d 564, 574; Estate of Davis (1990) 219 Cal.App.3d 663, 670, fn. 13.) "[T]he reviewing court presumes the judgment of the trial court is correct and indulges all presumptions to support a judgment on matters as to which the record is silent." (Baker v. Children's Hospital Medical Center (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 1057, 1060.)

"Failure to provide an adequate record on an issue requires that the issue be resolved against [the appellant]." (Hernandez v. California Hospital Medical Center (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th 498, 502.) "A necessary corollary to this rule [is] that a record is inadequate, and appellant defaults, if the appellant predicates error only on the part of the record he provides . . . , but ignores or does not present to the appellate court portions of the proceedings below which may provide grounds upon which the decision of the trial court could be affirmed." (Uniroyal Chemical Co. v. American Vanguard Corp. (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 285, 302.) Without a record of the evidence presented to Commissioner Longaker at the hearing, we have no alternative but to affirm the judgment. (Webman v. Little Co. of Mary Hospital (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 592, 595; Weiss v. Brentwood Sav. & Loan Assn. (1970) 4 Cal.App.3d 738, 746-747.)

The lack of a reporter's transcript also dooms Storey's other arguments. As best we can discern, Storey complains that she was the victim of judicial bias and that she was improperly prevented from presenting witnesses to testify on her behalf. She also argues that because certain of her actions were constitutionally protected, they should not have been considered. None of these arguments, however, can be reviewed without knowing what took place at the hearing. Where "the record on appeal consists of only a clerk's transcript and exhibits and no error appears on the face of the record, the sufficiency of the evidence to support the trial court's rulings is not open to consideration by a reviewing court; in such a case, 'any condition of facts consistent with the validity of the judgment will be presumed to have existed rather than one which would defeat it.'" (County of Los Angeles v. Surety Ins. Co. (1984) 152 Cal.App.3d 16,23.)

The fact that there may not have been a reporter at the hearing is not a valid excuse. In lieu of a reporter's transcript, an appellant may proceed by way of an agreed or settled statement. (Leslie v. Roe (1974) 41 Cal.App.3d 104, 108; see Cal. Rules of Court, rules 8.134, 8.137.) Storey did not pursue either option.


The injunction is affirmed. Pennington shall recover her costs on appeal. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.278(a)(1), (2).)

We concur: HULL , Acting P.J. MAURO , J.

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