A Ventura County appeals judge recently threw out an appeal in a wrongful death case due to a plaintiff’s failure to adhere to the court’s filing standards. The case involves a doctor named Bassam Ghanem and a man named Brian Zulli who alleges that his mother died because of Dr. Ghanem’s failure to properly treat her.
Zulli’s case was thrown out late last week because of his failure to comply with the rules of appellate procedure. This case highlights the importance of hiring an experienced personal injury attorney when attempting to bring a serious personal injury action.
Plaintiffs who bring a lawsuit “propria persona,” or without a lawyer, are held to the same filing and procedural standards as individuals with lawyers. Many propria persona cases are thrown out on technicalities due to the inexperience of those without legal training.
“[Appellant] is not exempt from the foregoing rules because he is representing himself on appeal in propria persona,” wrote Judge Rebecca S. Riley. “Under the law, a party may choose to act as his or her own attorney. Such a party is to be treated like any other party and is entitled to the same, but no greater consideration than other litigants and attorneys.”
Zulli’s failure to file a proper brief caused Judge Riley to consider his appeal to be abandoned.
Case: Zulli v. Ghanem, 2014 WL 2527468. Superior Court County of Ventura. (Super. Ct. No. 56-2011-00402117-CU-MM-SIM) (Ventura County)