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Trang Phan v. Robert Alas

August 8, 2012

TRANG PHAN, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
ROBERT ALAS, DEFENDANT AND RESPONDENT.



(Super. Ct. No. 34-2009-00035074-CU-BC-GDS)

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

Phan v. Alas 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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Trang Phan brings this pro se judgment roll appeal from the judgment entered after a court trial, and the court's subsequent denial of her motion for a new trial. We find Phan has forfeited her claims of error, however, because she failed to comply with the rules of appellate procedure, including the rules requiring her to provide an adequate record for review and to show exactly how the trial court committed prejudicial error. We shall affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

From the limited information we can glean from the record on appeal, it appears Phan brought this action against Robert Alas to recover monies she contends she loaned to Alas and he failed to repay.*fn1 After a court trial--the transcript of which is not in the record on appeal--the court found Phan had not proven her case and entered judgment in Alas's favor.*fn2

Phan then moved for a new trial. The motion itself is not in the record, but Phan's December 28, 2010 declaration in support of the new trial motion states, "I am the plaintiff in this matter. [¶] My first language is Vietnamese. I speak and understand some English, but not enough to conduct a trial properly. [¶] When I went to trial, I had a friend with me to help me communicate in English, but wasn't allowed to use him to translate. [¶] I was not given the opportunity to attempt to locate a certified translator, and was instead required to present my case in English. [¶] I was surprised that I could not use my friend to interpret because the court interpreter's brochure, available online at says (about civil and family law cases): 'In these cases, you should arrange in advance of an assigned court date for a family member or friend to serve as an interpreter[;] or you, or your attorney[,] may hire an interpreter.' In this case, I did just that, I arranged to have a friend interpret. [¶] This was a nearly impossible task. [¶] Even so, I cannot understand how I lost completely, and how the court found that I had not established that any of the money was a loan, since several of the checks entered as exhibits had the word 'loan' written on them, and the defendant did not dispute agreeing to pay me back some of the money. [¶] I am asking for a new trial because the refusal to allow me an opportunity to secure a certified translator prevented me from fairly presenting my case." (Paragraph numbering omitted.)

Following a hearing at which Phan and Alas appeared and argued (the transcript of which is not in the record on appeal), the trial court denied Phan's motion for a new trial.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

Before discussing Phan's appellate contentions, we set forth various rules applicable to our review.

A judgment or order of the trial court is presumed to be correct, and all intendments and presumptions are indulged to support it on matters as to which the record is silent. (Denham v. Superior Court (1970) 2 Cal.3d 557, 564; In re Marriage of Gray (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 974, 977-978.) It is the appellant's burden to affirmatively demonstrate reversible error. (Denham, at p. 564; In re Marriage of Gray, at pp. 977-978.)

The appellant's burden includes: (1) providing an adequate record that affirmatively demonstrates error; (2) supporting all appellate arguments with legal analysis and appropriate citations to the material facts in the record; and (3) showing exactly how the error caused a miscarriage of justice, or else his or her contentions are deemed forfeited. (Maria P. v. Riles (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1281, 1295; City of Lincoln v. Barringer (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 1211, 1239-1240; In re Marriage of McLaughlin (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 327, 337; ...


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