State Bar of California Certified

Appellate Attorneys

The Advantage of Having an Appellate Firm on Your Side

Appellate litigation is a specialized area of legal practice. It is not merely a continuation of trial court proceedings. As a result, the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare briefing which will persuade an appellate court are quite specific. For example, appellate proceedings rely almost exclusively on written briefs, which will be read and analyzed by at least three appellate justices with more time and more research attorneys than a superior court judge generally has available, and according to standards and presumptions quite different than those applied in the trial court. In addition, given the nature of appellate review and the potential for reevaluation of prior precedent, appellate counsel must be cognizant as to how a legal result he or she advocates in a particular case would fit into - or possibly change - a given area of law. (See, e.g., In re Marriage of Shaban (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 398, 408-410.)

The attorneys at Esner Chang & Boyer possess the knowledge, savvy, and skills necessary to effectively litigate in the appellate arena. All four partners are certified as appellate specialists by the California State Bar's Board of Legal Specialization, and together they have more than 100 years experience practicing appellate law exclusively. The attorneys at Esner, Chang, Boyer & Murphy truly love practicing appellate law and love working with their clients towards positive results, whether it be the reversal of an erroneous ruling below or the affirmance of a correct one.

In addition to handling all aspects of appellate litigation in California and federal appellate courts, the firm also assists trial lawyers with dispositive and post-judgment motions. The firm has a well-earned reputation among trial lawyers and the clients it represents as having successfully litigated a wide range of appeals, writs and motions in civil matters.

Our Services

Appellate Briefs


Writ Petitions


Oral Argument


Petitions for Review


Pleadings & Pre-Trial Dispositive Motions


Trial and Post-Trial Motions and Documents


Trial & Appellate Mediation Briefing and Participation



Stuart B. Esner

Stuart B. Esner

(626) 535-9860
Attorney Profile

Andrew N. Chang

Andrew N. Chang

(925) 937-4477
Attorney Profile

Holly N. Boyer

Holly N. Boyer

(626) 535-9860
Attorney Profile

Shea S. Murphy

Shea S. Murphy

(626) 535-9860
Attorney Profile

Kevin K. Nguyen

Kevin K. Nguyen

(925) 937-4477
Attorney Profile

Rowena Dizon

Attorney Profile
Coming Soon


A Sampling of Esner Chang Boyer & Murphy's Successful Published Opinions

Elementary school students alleging sexual abuse by a school janitor brought action against school district for negligence in supervising students and janitor. Court of Appeal reversed trial court's order dismissing complaint without leave to amend. As held by the Court, school districts owe students a duty to protect them from foreseeable risks of harm, including sexual abuse, and plaintiffs were not required to plead that the district had actual notice of past sexual abuse to sufficiently state a claim against the District.
Trial Counsel: Trial Counsel: The Matiasic Firm

Court of Appeal reversed summary judgment and held that defendant ambulance company owed her a general duty to act with due care when transporting her from a crisis stabilization unit to an inpatient psychiatric unit. The Court distinguished Hernandez v. KWPH Enterprises (2004) 116 Cal.App.4th 170.
Trial Counsel: Adamson Ahdoot

Patron brought action against restaurant for injuries sustained when he slipped on wet tile and fell. The jury returned a verdict in Plaintiff's favor, which the trial court vacated when it granted the restaurant's JNOV and MNT motions. The Court of Appeal reversed and reinstated the verdict, holding that the trial court failed to properly merit the evidence in Plaintiff's favor, which supported the verdict.
Trial Counsel: Kramer Trial Lawyers

Victims of child molestation by priest brought action against the Archdiocese for vicarious liability and negligence. Defendants filed an anti-SLAPP motion which was denied by the trial court. Court of appeal affirmed.
Trial Counsel: Law Offices of Anthony DeMarco

Court of Appeal reversed summary judgment as to Plaintiff's employment retaliation claims, holding that Plaintiff's evidence that the stated reasons for his termination were pretextual went far beyond a showing of temporal proximity between reporting and termination and therefore triable issues of material fact existed as to the merits of plaintiff's claims.
Trial Counsel: Greene Broillet & Wheeler

In this case arising from a school shooting, the Court of Appeal affirmed the student victim's multi-million verdict against a school district, holding that specific negligent acts and omissions for conducting a threat assessment are characterized as administrative and not as a mental examination. Thus, the district's negligent threat assessment was not afforded the immunity provided for medical examinations in Government Code section 855.6.
Trial Counsel: Rodriguez & Associates

In an action involving the sexual abuse of an intellectually disabled woman by a handman working for the residential hospital, the Court of Appeal reversed summary judgment finding that the police reports detailing evidence of notice was admissible and further that triable issues of fact existed as to whether the hospital breached its duty to the plaintiff in failing to protect against the foreseeable sexual abuse.
Trial Counsel: Manly, Stewart & Finaldi

The Supreme Court reversed in part an order granting an anti-SLAPP motion, holding that the hospital's suspension and termination of the plaintiff-physician's hospital privileges were not protected under the anti-SLAPP statute.
Trial Counsel: Greene, Broillet & Wheeler

In an action involving the sexual abuse of a student by her teacher, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's order granting summary judgment finding that school districts have a duty to protect students from sexual abuse by school employees, even if the school does not have actual knowledge of a particular employee's history of committing, or propensity to commit, such abuse. A jury must decide whether the actions or inaction taken by the school district met the applicable standard of care in protect students against such generally foreseeable abuse.
Trial Counsel: Taylor & Ring

The Supreme Court concluded that California's wage statement statute applied to pilots, flight attendants, and other interstate transportation workers who do not perform a majority of their work in any one state, when California serves as their base of work operations, regardless of their place of residence or whether a collective bargaining agreement governs their pay.
Trial Counsel: The Miller Firm

Following the California Supreme Court's decision (above) on a certified question, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's entry of summary judgment on airline employee's class action claims and remanded.
Trial Counsel: Jackson Hanson LLP

After jury returned verdict in favor of the plaintiff following her son committing suicide at defendant's rehab facility, the defendant appealed arguing that the suicide was a superseding cause breaking the chain of causation from its own negligence. Court of Appeal rejected the argument and affirmed on all grounds.
Trial Counsel: Strassburg, Gilmore and Wei

Victims of childhood sexual assault by famous musician brought third-party actions against musician's corporations. In reversing grants of demurrers and summary judgment motions on consolidated appeal, the Court held that statute expanding limitations period applied equally to actions pending on appeal at the time this amendment took effect.
Trial Counsel: Manly, Stewart & Finaldi

The appellate court reversed trial court's findings: the referral fee agreement was not consented to in writing by client and unenforceable as against public policy, thus there could be no recovery for breach of contract, and plaintiff's quantum meruit claim was similarly barred by the statute of limitations.

In a negligence action against LAUSD arising from the repeated sexual assault of a student by a teacher, the jury found in favor of LAUSD. Court of Appeal reversed the jury's verdict on the grounds that the trial court erroneously excluded evidence of the teacher's inappropriate conduct with other students, and which was not in itself sexual in nature, severely prejudicing plaintiff's ability to prove her case.
Trial Counsel: Carrillo Law Firm

Court of Appeal reversed a defense verdict, holding that the trial court erroneously instructed the jury as to the justifiable excuse doctrine in an action where the Plaintiff motorist was injured when a mattress flew off the defendant's truck while traveling on a freeway.
Trial Counsel: Effres & Associates

In an action for negligence and premises liability, the trial court erred in giving the jury an assumption of risk instruction, and the jury's subsequent finding for defendant on this defense, which barred all liability, compelled reversal and remand for a new trial.
Trial Counsel: Lederer & Nojima

Court of Appeal reversed judgment of dismissal on demurrer, holding that where an employer directs employees to present themselves for work by telephoning the store two hours prior to the start of a shift, then wage order's reporting time requirement is triggered by the telephonic contact.
Trial Counsel: The Miller Firm

In an action for negligence and premises liability, summary judgment was reversed after a finding that the hotel had duty to exercise reasonable care in relation to black widow spiders posing risk to patrons, and hotel failed to demonstrate no affirmative action was required pursuant to this duty.

In reversing an award of statutory fees, the Court found that a defendant is eligible for this award pursuant to section 340.1, subdivision (q) only where the litigation has resulted in a "favorable conclusion" and that a "favorable conclusion" requires a result reflective of the merits of the litigation, rather than the result of a mere procedural defect.
Trial Counsel: Manly Stewart & Finaldi

In an action for dangerous condition of public property, the Court reversed summary judgment after finding that trail immunity did not apply to a negligently maintained eucalyptus tree, even if plaintiff was on a trail at the time she was injured, and in addition outstanding questions of material fact further precluded summary judgment of her claim.
Trial Counsel: Balaban & Spielberger; Greene, Broillet & Wheeler

In a FEHA action brought by injured LAPD recruits who were injured during training, the Court largely affirmed the verdict in their favor, holding that the City's obligation to assign temporarily injured recruit officers light-duty administrative assignments was not unreasonable as a matter of law in light of the City's past policy and practice.
Trial Counsel: McNicholas & McNicholas

The Court of Appeal granted a petition for writ of mandate, agreeing that the trial court erred as a matter of law in accepting a postappeal peremptory challenge, because the defendant had not secured the reversal of a final judgment under CCP section 170.6(a)(2).
Trial Counsel: Greene Broillet & Wheeler

The Court of Appeal affirmed a multi-million dollar award for negligence and premises liability claims, rejecting the defendant's argument that the plaintiff-employee's claims were barred under the Privette doctrine.
Trial Counsel: Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell

Upholding a multi-million dollar award to patron raped by club employee in a unisex bathroom, the Court affirmed that the club owed patrons a duty to secure unisex restroom with a security guard while open, and club's failure to do so was a cause of patron's rape.
Trial Counsel: Taylor & Ring

The Supreme Court reversed summary judgment, holding that the county sheriff's department had a mandatory duty under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (Penal Code, section 11166(k)) to cross-report to child welfare agency of initial 911 emergency phone call in which nonmandated reporter noted possible abuse of child.
Trial Counsel: The Keane Law Firm

Patient and patient's wife brought action against manufacturers of prescription drug for strict liability failure to warn, negligent failure to warn, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and loss of consortium and following trial, the court struck patient's expert witness's testimony and granted manufacturers' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict; Court of Appeal reversed finding that the expert testimony as to causation was not so speculative as to be inadmissible.
Trial Counsel: The Miller Firm

After collegiate athletic association's motion to seal certain documents was denied and documents were conditionally sealed pending appellate review in former university assistant football coach's lawsuit against association for breach of contract damages, defamation, and other torts, stemming from association's investigation into whether former player on coach's team had received improper benefits while he was a student at university, association moved to seal portion of appellate record that had been conditionally sealed; the appellate court denied the motion association's motion.
Trial Counsel: Greene, Broillet & Wheeler

Confirming that the MICRA $250,000 cap applies only to judgments awarding noneconomic damages, and thus does not limit recovery of noneconomic losses through settlements, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeal's decision and concluded: "Only noneconomic damages awarded in court are actually capped," and there is no bar to a plaintiff recovering more than $250,000 against all health care providers by way of settlement.
Trial Counsel: Balaban & Speilberger

In an action concerning students who were sexually molested by their second grade teacher, the court of appeal affirmed jury's verdict in favor of the students, finding sufficient evidence to support a finding that the school district was equitably estopped from claiming that the parents failed to timely file a government tort claim.
Trial Counsel: Taylor & Ring

Where deceased motorist's minor daughter brought a negligence action against county after motorist, who was standing near his car following accident on freeway, was struck and killed by county sheriff's patrol car, appellate court reversed jury's verdict noting that the introduction of evidence concerning the motorist's marijuana use was in error as there was no evidence that such use was a substantial factor in causing his injuries.
Trial Counsel: Greene, Broillet & Wheeler

In an action brought by a deceased smoker's son against cigarette manufacturer for wrongful death, the appellate court affirmed the jury's verdict awarding son $12.8 million in damages, finding that the smoker's prior personal injury recovery did not limit son's loss of consortium damages to the value of smoker's consortium in his "pre-death diminished condition."
Trial Counsel: Law Offices of Michael J. Piuze

Where a deceased patient's family members brought action against physician and others for medical negligence, appellate court affirmed award of expert fees and prejudgment interest under cost-shifting offer of judgment statute.
Trial counsel: Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell

Supreme Court held that the common law release rule -- under which a plaintiff's settlement with and release from liability of one joint tortfeasor also releases from liability all other joint tortfeasors -- is no longer the law in California. When one tortfeasor's settlement has been determined by the trial court not to have been made in good faith, the nonsettling joint tortfeasors remain jointly and severally liable, the amount paid in settlement is credited against any damages awarded against the nonsettling tortfeasors, and the nonsettling tortfeasors are entitled to contribution from the settling tortfeasor for amounts paid in excess of their equitable shares of liability.
Trial Counsel: The Phan Law Group, LKP Global Law

Supreme Court reversed court of appeal and holds that a school district may be vicariously liable for its employees' negligence in the hiring, supervising and retention of a guidance counselor who sexually abused a student.
Trial Counsel: Manly & Stewart

After jury found defendants liable for injuries sustained by plaintiff after an elevator accident, the jury apportioned 52% of fault to plaintiff's non-party treating physician. The Court of Appeal reversed and ordered a new trial. The Court held that even though the doctor was a non-party, the defendants still had the burden to prove medical negligence which they had failed to do.
Trial Counsel: Girardi & Keese

Appellate court reversed summary judgment for gas station franchisee finding that prior Texas summary judgment did not bar the action as res judicata and the franchisee's prior recovery of compensatory damages subject to offset did not negate damages element of fraud.

In an action alleging that a dermatologist "negligently and carelessly examined, cared for, followed up on, and treated" plaintiff, the Court of Appeal held that a prior order granting summary adjudication of the plaintiff's medical malpractice claim did not preclude the plaintiff from proceeding with her claim of negligence based on the failure to maintain a laser machine that malfunctioned during the treatment.

Court of Appeal reversed trial court's finding that plaintiff's complaint for fraud, misrepresentation and deceptive trade practices (Bus & Prof. Code s. 17200) in connection with "vanishing premium" life insurance policy was time barred, concluding that the limitations period applicable to such claims begins to run only when the aggrieved party discovers the facts constituting the fraud.
Trial Counsel: Gianelli & Morris and Agnew & Brusavich

In products liability action against a vehicle manufacturer where first trial ended in a hung jury, Court of Appeal reversed trial court's order precluding plaintiff from pursuing a different theory of liability in the second trial. Court held that a new trial order after a mistrial places the parties in the same position as if they had never tried the case; the parties have the right to introduce additional or new evidence not introduced at the earlier trial.
Trial Counsel: Coben & Associates, Law Offices of Michael S. Fields, Inc. and Law Offices of Nate G. Kraut

Court of Appeal affirmed trial court's order refusing to compel arbitration; no equitable basis to estop investors from asserting rights in court against nonsignatory accountants and lawyers because investors did not use operating agreement with investment advisor, containing arbitration clause, to hold defendants liable.
Trial Counsel: Greene, Broillet & Wheeler and Eagan, O'Malley & Avenatti


Other Noteable Opinions

Oasis West Realty, LLC v. Goldman (2011) 51 Cal.4th 811 Callahan v. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 557
Blue Water Sunset, LLC v. Markowitz (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 477 Brown v. Grimes (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 265
RC Royal Dev. & Realty Corp. v. Std. Pac. Corp. (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 1410 Bay Cities Paving & Grading, Inc. (1993) 5 Cal.5th 548
Goldman v. KPMG, LLP (2009) 173 Cal. App. 4th 209 Blanks v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP (2009) 171 Cal. App. 4th 336
Calemine v. Samuelson (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 153 Jacoves v. United Merchandising Corp. (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 88
Rodriguez v. Blue Cross of California (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 330 Ayala Ayala v. Arroyo Vista Family Health Center (2008) 160 Cal. App. 4th 1350
Mokler v. County of Orange (2007) 157 Cal. App. 4th 121 Evard v. Southern California Edison (2007) 153 Cal. App. 4th 137
Walker v. Farmers Ins. Exchange (2007) 153 Cal. App. 4th 965 Irvine v. Regents of University of California (2007) 149 Cal. App. 4th 994
Fields v. Yusuf (2006) 144 Cal. App. 4th 1381 Business to Business Markets, Inc. v. Zurich Specialties London Ltd (2005) 135 Cal. App. 4th 165
Mojica v. 4311 Wilshire, LLC, et al. (2005) 131 Cal. App. 4th 1069 Simon v. San Paolo U.S. Holding Co., Inc. (2005) 35 Cal.4th 1159 (Amicus)
Johnson v. Ford Motor Co. (2005) 35 Cal.4th 1191 (Amicus) Parnell v. Adventist Health System/West (2005) 35 Cal. 4th 595 (Amicus)
Graham v. DaimlerChrysler Corp. (2004) 34 Cal. 4th 553 (Amicus) Rojas v. Superior Court (2004) 33 Cal. 4th 407
Goliger v. AMS Properties, Inc. (2004) 123 Cal. App. 4th 374 Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center, Inc. v. Superior Court (2004) 120 Cal. App. 4th 426
Mason v. Lake Dolores Group (2004) 117 Cal. App. 4th 822 Bragg v. Valdez (2003) 111 Cal. App. 4th 421
Gunther-Wahl Productions, Inc. v. Mattel, Inc. (2002) 104 Cal. App. 4th 27 Everett v. Superior Court (2002) 104 Cal. App. 4th 388
Kollander Construction v. Superior Court (2002) 98 Cal. App. 4th 304 Roger H. Proulx & Co. v. Crest-Liners, Inc. (2002) 98 Cal. App. 4th 182
LaPlante v. Wellcraft Marine Corp. (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 282 Gardenhire v. Housing Authority (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 236
Stapper v. GMI Holdings (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 787 Livingston v. Marie Callenders, Inc. (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 830
Warren v. Schecter, et al. (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 1189 Ketchum v. Hyundai Motor Co. (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1672
Siegel v. Fidelity Nat'l Title Ins. Co. (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1181 Estate of Hilton (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 890
Peterson v. Superior Court (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1185 Castaneda v. Bornstein (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 1818
Johnson v. Pratt & Whitney Canada, Inc. (1994) 28 Cal.App.4th 613 Beverly Hospital v. Superior Court (1994) 19 Cal.App.4th 1289
Soule v. General Motors Corp. (1994) 8 Cal.4th 548 (Amicus) Hadian v. Schwartz (1994) 8 Cal.4th 836
Michelson v. Hamada (1994) 29 Cal.App.4th 1566 Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. v. Superior Court (1993) 15 Cal.App.4th 547

Oral Arguments

Stuart Esner

Arguments between 29:21 - 1:02:00

Andrew Chang

Opening Arguments 0:00 - 19:00
Rebuttal 40:00 - 48:15

Holly Boyer

Arguments between 2:13:40 - 2:31:14

Shea Murphy

Arguments between 0:00 - 17:41

Kevin Nguyen

Arguments between 8:10 - 19:28

Holly Boyer

Arguments between 0:00 - 7:34

Contact us

Southern California Office

234 East Colorado Boulevard
Suite 975
Pasadena, California 91101

Tel: 626-535-9860
Fax: 626-535-9859

Northern California Office

35 Quail Court
Suite 303
Walnut Creek, California 94596

Tel: 925-937-4477
Fax: 925-937-4480