Four decades of skilled appellate advocacy across California

Helping You With An Appeal In Civil Litigation Matters

The Law Office of Brian C. Unitt can help you file or defend against an appeal in a variety of civil cases including contract disputes, wrongful termination, family law and worker’s compensation claims.

Since his admission to The California Bar in 1983, attorney Brian Unitt has aided civil trial lawyers across California in successfully prosecuting and defending  over a hundred appeals and writs in the state and federal courts. He is known in the community as a valuable resource and staunch advocate. His years focusing on appellate advocacy have led to him becoming a state bar certified civil appellate law specialist, a distinction that acknowledges his skill and expertise.

A Valuable Tool To Help You Succeed

In high-stakes civil cases, any number of issues can arise before and during trial that may lead to an unfavorable outcome for your client. From demurrers and motions for summary judgment to excluded evidence, barring the testimony of an essential expert witness, and jury misconduct, having a plan to preserve a solid record can make all the difference if your case ends up on appeal.

Valuable Guidance From An Expert In Appellate Law

Whether you need to protect a favorable judgment, or overturn an adverse result, you need the advice and advocacy of an experienced specialist. Contact Brian today to schedule your free consultation by calling 888-465-3612 or completing an online contact form.

Significant Cases

Joslin v. H.A.S. Ins. Brokerage (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 369, 228 Cal.Rptr.878

In a breach of contract action relating to a vehicle service contract, a company originally named as a fictitious defendant demurred on statute of limitation grounds, claiming plaintiffs knew or should have known its name when the complaint was filed, and the demurrer was sustained without leave to amend. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding the correct standard was actual knowledge of the defendant’s identity. Further, the trial court could properly consider plaintiffs’ judicially noticed deposition evidence in ruling on the demurrer, but only to the extent there was no factual dispute concerning that which was sought to be judicially noticed. Here that testimony raised fact questions not properly resolved on demurrer.

McKinnon v. Superior Court (1997) B114717, Second District, Division 2.

Plaintiff sued for wrongful termination from a position as piping engineer on a refinery construction project. Defendant was granted summary adjudication on a FEHA age discrimination claim.  Plaintiff sought writ relief, and after issuing an alternative writ, the Court of Appeal reversed, holding plaintiff presented a prima facie case of age discrimination, and that plaintiff presented sufficient evidence raising a triable issue as to whether the reasons for defendant’s decision to terminate were discriminatory.

Claudio v. Johnson, Fourth District Division 2 E039609, 2007 WL 701575

Appeal from denial of anti-SLAPP motion directed at claim for promissory fraud. Court of appeal reversed. The motion had to be granted because plaintiff failed to present evidence showing a probability of success on the claim.

Navarreta et al. v. Mt. San Jacinto Community College District Fourth district, division 2 E049530, 2011 WL 1487062

Reversing judgment after order sustaining demurrer to four community college peace officers’ claims for breach of written employer policies, defamation/slander per se, whistleblower retaliation, retaliation in violation of FEHA, and violation of the Peace Officers Bill of Rights Act.

Western Commercial Bank v. Crane, Second district, division 1 B241453, 2014 WL 3512614

Defendant appealed from summary judgment granted in favor of a Bank in its action on a $300,000 promissory note. The court of appeal reverse, finding that the trial court erred in denying defendant an opportunity to amend his answer and conduct further discovery.

Lamere v. Superior Court (Salinas) (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 1059, 31 Cal.Rptr.3d 880

Enrolled members of Native American Tribe brought action alleging violation of tribal and federal law against members of the tribe’s enrollment committee which had initiated disenrollment procedures againstthem. Reversing an order overruling the tribe’s demurrer, the court of appeal held that state courts had no jurisdiction under federal Public Law 280 over tribal membership decisions.

In re Marriage of Mohler (2020) 47 Cal.App.5th 788, 261 Cal.Rptr.3d 221

As a matter of first impression, trial court can not apply Moore-Marsden rule to account for appreciation of family residence after separation, but Watts charges, pursuant to In re Marriage of Watts, 217 Cal.Rptr. 301, may be levied against spouse for his post-separation occupation of property when property is not entirely community property, but, rather, is treated as partial community property due to Moore-Marsden rule;.

In re Marriage of Smith (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 529, 195 Cal.Rptr.3d 162

Affirming an award of attorney fees in a child support dispute, the court of appeal held that the trial court could consider payments which former wife received from her father when considering the relative financial positions of the parties.

County of San Bernardino v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (McCoy) (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 1469, 138 Cal.Rptr.3d 328

In Worker’s Compensation stress claim, recovery for physical manifestations resulting from the psychological injury suffered as a result of good faith personnel actions is barred by statute.