The Law Offices of Richard Sax has successfully handled numerous appeals and writs of mandate in a wide variety of cases since 1984. Many trial attorneys avoid appeals, and we respect that choice. However, we believe that as a good litigation firm, we can and should handle our own appeals. We also receive, and welcome, appellate referrals from other law firms.

Appeals are trial (or lower) court cases which are brought to the appellate (or higher) court on the grounds that a prior verdict or decision was unjust. Some unique skills are required to successfully present cases in appellate court, and we always strategize in our trial court actions with an eye toward a possible appeal.

When cases are brought to an appellate court for review, there are a number of ways in which the appeal can be argued. Some of these arguments focus on showing that the trial court violated procedure in some way, thus invalidating the result. Others might suggest that an injustice occurred, such as a judge refusing to admit evidence that was, in fact, admissible. Since the facts have been determined in the trial court, the appeal is not about contesting facts. Rather, an appeal questions the process used to arrive at those facts, with the goal of overturning the trial court’s decision.


James Rufini v. CitiMortgage, Inc. (2014) 227 Cal.App.4th 299 (foreclosure defense)
Guardianship of D.W. (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 242 (guardianship with ICWA issues)
Manor Investment Co. v. F.W. Woolworth Co. (1984) 159 Cal. App. 3d 586 (conspiracy)


Robert Colman v. Jane Colman (2013) Case No. A138120, First Appellate District, Division Four (spousal support)

Analy Mortgage Center, Inc. dba AMC Financial, Inc. and Paul Rest v. Roger Max Gadow (2013) Case No. A134646, First Appellate District, Division Four (breach of fiduciary duty; appeal and cross-appeal)

John Young v. Sonoma County, et al. (2011) (CEQA Writ of Mandate regarding Salmon Creek Water Collection and Treatment System Improvement Project; settled favorably)

Michael Farrell, et al., vs. Irish Beach Clusterhomes Assn., et al. (2009) Case No. A121049, First Appellate District, Division Five (homeowners’ association)

Bob Friedenberg, et al. v. Country Club Garden Homeowners Association (2008) Case No. A117572, First Appellate District, Division Three (homeowners’ association; settled favorably in mediation in appellate court)

John Watts Podboy, Ph.D., et al. v. County of Sonoma PRMD (2007) Sonoma Superior Court case No. SCV-240353 (CEQA Writ of Mandate; settled favorably)

Donn R. Kolbeck v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America (2007) (ERISA administrative appeal; settled favorably)

Paul Ryan, et al. v. Anne Holland (2004) Case No. A103553, First Appellate District, Division Three (slander with issues of attorney litigation privilege; settled favorably in mediation in appellate court)

In re Paige R., et als. (2004) Case No. A104345, First Appellate District, Division Two (termination of parental rights; favorably reviewed by the Supreme Court of the State of California)

Sheralyn Rene Vaughn v. David Wayne Vaughan (2004) Case No. A104124, First Appellate District, Division Four (spousal support)

Watson J. Spoelstra v. UNUM Life Insurance Company of America, HMt Technology Corp. Group Insurance Policy Long Term Disability Plan (2002) Case No. C 01-4837, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (ERISA administrative appeal; settled favorably in U.S. District Court mediation)

James Wood/Catherine Erskine v. CNA Insurance Company (2001) Civil Action No. CIVS-98-1172, U.S. Court of Appeals No. 01-16253 (ERISA administrative appeal, taken to U.S. District Court; settled favorably after four years of litigation, during which James Wood died and his sister continued to fight; Sax won civil penalties against CNA)

Marie Kurpiel v. Lazarus Marsic (2000) Case No. A092482, First Appellate District, Division Five (real estate)

Valente Ramos v. John A. Bloom, et al. (2000) Case No. A087939, First Appellate District, Division Three (legal malpractice)

Richard Paul Warden vs. Beringer Vineyards, Inc. (1995) Case No. A063050, First Appellate District, Division One (premises liability; favorably reviewed by the Supreme Court of the State of California)