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Spero Pappas v. Christopher Castro et al


September 19, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. SCV24990)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blease , J.

Pappas v. Castro



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendants Christopher Castro and Henry Lopez appeal, in propria persona, from a final judgment after court trial. For the reasons stated below, we shall affirm. Castro and Lopez have elected to proceed on a clerk's transcript. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.121.) Thus, the appellate record does not include a reporter's transcript of the hearing in this matter. This is referred to as a "judgment roll" appeal. (Allen v. Toten (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 1079, 1082- 1083; Krueger v. Bank of America (1983) 145 Cal.App.3d 204, 207.)

The limited record we have establishes the following:

In 2006, plaintiff Spero Pappas "was looking for [a] place to invest the sum of $50,000 in high interest real estate loans." Castro, who is licensed by the California Department of Real Estate, and Lopez, his unlicensed assistant, undertook efforts to assist Pappas in that regard. The ensuing transaction resulted in the lender's default, followed by a sale of the first deed of trust and, ultimately, financial loss to Pappas.

Pappas filed a complaint against Castro and Lopez for negligence, fraud and misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty. The parties participated in a court trial, at the conclusion of which the court entered judgment in favor of Pappas.

On June 1, 2010, in response to a request by Pappas, the court issued a Statement of Decision setting forth the court's findings and entering judgment in favor of Pappas in the amount of $50,000 plus prejudgment interest at the legal rate, inclusive of amounts earned by Castro and Lopez in the transaction. The court denied any application for punitive damages "for failure of proof."

On June 22, 2010, the court entered a judgment against Castro and Lopez, jointly and severally, in the principal sum of $50,000, plus prejudgment interest at the legal rate of 10 percent per annum from July 1, 2007, through June 15, 2010, in the sum of $14,794.52, for a total sum due to Pappas of $64,794.52. The court also awarded Pappas costs to be established by a memorandum of costs.

Castro and Lopez filed timely notices of appeal.


When an appeal is "on the judgment roll" (Allen v. Toten, supra, 172 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1082-1083), we must conclusively presume evidence was presented that is sufficient to support the court's findings. (Ehrler v. Ehrler (1981) 126 Cal.App.3d 147, 154.) Our review is limited to determining whether any error "appears on the face of the record." (National Secretarial Service, Inc. v. Froehlich (1989) 210 Cal.App.3d 510, 521; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.163.)

Here, Castro and Lopez claim there is no substantial evidence to support the trial court's findings. However, without a reporter's transcript, we "'must conclusively presume that the evidence is ample to sustain the [trial court's] findings . . . .'" (Ehrler v. Ehrler, supra, 126 Cal.App.3d at p. 154.) That is, the law compels us to assume the evidence presented to the trial court supports the judgment.

We also note that the sole argument on appeal, which consists of a single paragraph, contains factual matters devoid of any citation to the record in violation of California Rules of Court, rule 8.204(a)(1)(B) and (C), and lacks factual or legal analysis by Castro and Lopez to explain or support their claim. It is the burden of the party challenging a judgment to provide an adequate record to assess claims of error. (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1140-1141.) An appellant must present an analysis of the facts and legal authority on each point made, and must support the analysis with appropriate citations to the material facts in the record. If an appellant fails to do so, the argument is forfeited. (County of Solano v. Vallejo Redevelopment Agency (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 1262, 1274; Duarte v. Chino Community Hospital (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 849, 856.) We do not examine undeveloped perfunctory claims or make arguments for parties; rather, inadequate briefing results in the forfeiture of a point. (People v. Oates (2004) 32 Cal.4th 1048, 1068, fn. 10; Imagistics Internat., Inc. v. Department of General Services (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 581, 591, fn. 8.)

We are mindful that Castro and Lopez appear without the benefit of counsel. However, "mere self-representation is not a ground for exceptionally lenient treatment. Except when a particular rule provides otherwise, the rules of civil procedure must apply equally to parties represented by counsel and those who forgo attorney representation." (Rappleyea v. Campbell (1994) 8 Cal.4th 975, 984-985.) A party representing himself is to be treated like any other party and is entitled to the same, but no greater, consideration than other litigants and attorneys. (Nwosu v. Uba (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 1229, 1246-1247; see Leslie v. Board of Medical Quality Assurance (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 117, 121 [self-represented parties are held to the "the same 'restrictive procedural rules as an attorney'"].)

We find no error on the face of this record.


The judgment is affirmed. The parties shall bear their own costs on appeal, if any. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.278(a)(5).)

We concur: RAYE , P. J. MAURO , J.


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