Lacba Home
Los Angeles County Bar Association
Can you stipulate to a reversal as part of a settlement?
The parties can enter into a stipulation that the Court of Appeal may reverse the judgment.  Generally, the procedure is for the party seeking reversal to file a formal application supported by the stipulation and appropriate argument.

Stipulated reversals are controversial.  A decade ago, in Neary v. Regents of University of California (1992) 3 Cal.4th 273, 10 Cal.Rptr.2d 859, the Supreme Court approved of the procedure, but in 1999 the Legislature effectively reversed the Neary decision.  Code of Civil Procedure section 128, subdivision (a)(8) now provides:

“An appellate court shall not reverse or vacate a duly entered judgment upon an agreement or stipulation of the parties unless the court finds both of the following:
“(A)  There is no reasonable possibility that the interests of nonparties or the public will be adversely affected by the reversal.
“(B)  The reasons of the parties for requesting reversal outweigh the erosion of public trust that may result from the nullification of a judgment and the risk that the availability of stipulated reversal will reduce the incentive for pretrial settlement.”

The availability of a stipulated reversal depends on the parties’ ability to show that the statutory standards do not preclude a stipulated judgment – and, perhaps more importantly, on the views of the justices in the division to which the case is assigned.  Some dislike the procedure because they believe it allows a party to “buy justice.”  Others like it because it eliminates unnecessary appeals.  The key to success is careful application of the statutory factors to the case.  That means making a factual showing of (1) no adverse impact on nonparty or public; (2) no erosion of public trust; and (3) no adverse effect on incentive for pretrial settlement.
home.gif previous.gifnext.gifspacer.gif