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James Wright v. Eddie C. Welbon

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA THIRD APPELLATE DISTRICT (Sacramento)


November 15, 2011

JAMES WRIGHT, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
EDDIE C. WELBON, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.

(Super. Ct. No. 34200800019606)

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

Wright v. Welbon

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

James Wright brought this action against Eddie C. Welbon for slander of title to property located in Sacramento County, fraud, and abuse of court process. After trial (the transcript of which is not in the record on appeal), the court entered judgment in Wright's favor and found Welbon guilty of slander of title, fraud, malice, and oppression.*fn1 The court ordered the liens recorded by Welbon expunged, and ordered Welbon to pay Wright attorney fees and punitive damages.

Welbon's pro se appellate brief is virtually incomprehensible and unsupported by any references to the record. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.204(a)(1)(C); further references to rules are to the Cal. Rules of Court.)*fn2 Accordingly, we cannot determine the legal basis for his challenge to the judgment after court trial (which he mistakenly describes as both a motion to dismiss and a motion for summary judgment). Since the court's judgment is presumptively correct (Denham v. Superior Court (1970) 2 Cal.3d 557, 564 (Denham)) and Welbon has provided no citations to the record, citations to applicable legal authority, or legal analysis, his arguments may be considered forfeited or abandoned. (Guthrey v. State of California (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 1108, 1115; Landry v. Berryessa Union School Dist. (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 691, 699-700; Ellenberger v. Espinosa (1994) 30 Cal.App.4th 943, 948.)

Even if not abandoned, the arguments we perceive Welbon may be attempting to advance lack merit.*fn3

To the extent that Welbon's brief may be read to question whether the Sacramento Superior Court had jurisdiction in this matter, he cites neither to the record nor to any legal authority for the proposition that its exercise of jurisdiction was improper. If Welbon intends by his assertion that the matter "should have been tried" in San Francisco to challenge venue, we note that (1) venue is not jurisdictional (see 3 Witkin, Cal. Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Actions, § 779, p. 1016), and (2) Welbon cites no authority for the proposition that venue was not proper in Sacramento County, the county in which the title-impaired property is located (see id. at § 791, pp. 1028-1029).

Welbon also appears to suggest the trial court erred in proceeding with the trial when he "was not present at the trial in violation of [his] constitutional rights." Again, this assertion is unaccompanied by any citation to the record or legal authority. Moreover, Welbon has provided only a partial clerk's transcript of the proceedings, so we treat this as an appeal "on the judgment roll." (Allen v. Toten (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 1079, 1082-1083; Krueger v. Bank of America (1983) 145 Cal.App.3d 204, 207.) When an appeal is on the judgment roll, 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; rule 8.163.) The trial court expressly found Welbon was given timely and proper notice of trial and that the matter came on regularly for trial, and these findings may not be challenged on this limited appellate record. (Denham, supra, 2 Cal.3d at p. 564; Doran v. Burke (1953) 118 Cal.App.2d 806, 807; see also 7 Witkin, Cal. Procedure, supra, Trial, § 159, p. 196 [a civil litigant's right to be present at trial is "at best a qualified one and may be waived"].)

Finally, Welbon suggests the court was misled at trial by untrue testimony. On a judgment roll appeal, however, we must conclusively defer to the trial court on issues of credibility. (See Lenk v. Total-Western, Inc. (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 959, 968.

DISPOSITION

The judgment is affirmed. Wright is awarded his costs on appeal. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.278 (a)(2).)

We concur: ROBIE , J. DUARTE , J.


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