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Baker v. Castaldi

California Court of Appeals, Fifth District

February 18, 2015

KEN R. BAKER, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
ALFONSE CASTALDI et al., Defendants and Appellants.

[CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]]

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Mariposa County No. 10161. F. Dana Walton, Judge.

Page 219

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 220

COUNSEL

Cyril L. Lawrence for Defendants and Appellants.

Silveira, Mattos & Lewis and Weldon J. Mattos, Jr., for Plaintiff and Respondent.

Page 221

OPINION

POOCHIGIAN, J.

INTRODUCTION

Respondent and plaintiff Ken R. Baker sued Theresa Castaldi[1] and appellant Alfonse Castaldi for allegedly stealing antiques he owned. Plaintiff [2] sought punitive damages. Trial proceeded to a first phase[3] on March 25, 2013 and a punitive damages calculation phase on August 6, 2013. The first phase dealt with liability, compensatory damages and whether plaintiff was entitled to punitive damages. The second phase dealt with the calculation of the punitive damages.

After the first phase completed, the court found both Theresa and Alfonse jointly and severally liable for conversion. On May 20, 2013, months before the punitive damages phase began, a document entitled “judgment” was filed. The “judgment” indicated that judgment was against both defendants, jointly and severally, and set forth $610, 500 in compensatory damages plus interest and costs. The “judgment” went on to state that the court “finds by a preponderance of the evidence[4] that both defendants Alfonse Castaldi and Theresa Castaldi have acted with malice and with oppression toward plaintiff Ken Baker warranting an award of punitive damages to be assessed at a separate trial.…”

Several notices of appeal were filed in superior court, each identifying only the May 20, 2013, “judgment” as the subject of the appeal.

We conclude that the May 20, 2013, “judgment” was not a final, appealable judgment. Since “[i]t is the ...


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