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Court of Appeal, Fifth District, California.

GRANT C. WILSON, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. COUNTY OF MERCED, Defendant and Respondent.


Decided: February 25, 2010

 * APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Merced County.   Robert Baysinger and John Kirihara, Judges.1  Grant C. Wilson, in pro. per., for Plaintiff and Appellant.



Appellant Grant C. Wilson filed a civil action against respondent County of Merced in which he sought mandamus relief to lift the establishment of a moratorium of medical marijuana dispensaries in Merced County in addition to seeking compensatory and punitive damages and a declaration that Merced County Ordinance Code section 1830 was unlawful and unconstitutional.   Respondent demurred to the pleading.   No written opposition was filed.   A visiting judge heard argument and sustained the demurrers without leave to amend.   The court dismissed the case.   Appellant appealed.

Appellant's opening brief consists of one paragraph under the heading “NATURE OF ACTION,” which states as follows:

“I am appealing the dismissal of my case dated December 15, [2008], by the Honorable Robert Baysinger.   The judge was bias[ed], in the reporter's transcript dated December 15, 2008 (exhibit C).  The judge solicited the defendant for a motion to dismiss.   The judge is wrong for doing that.”

The table of contents and the brief merely list the statement of the case and exhibits A through I, which are attached.   The table of contents does not identify the exhibits other than by labeling them A through I. The exhibits consist of miscellaneous reporter's transcripts, a copy of an appellate court published opinion in the case of City of Garden Grove v. Superior Court (Kha) (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 355, miscellaneous correspondence, an order re motions for judgment on the pleadings filed in December 2006 in a case entitled County of San Diego v. San Diego NORML et al.  (San Diego Superior Court case No. GIC860665), a summary of the medical use of marijuana initiative statute by the Attorney General and a copy of Senate Bill 420 (Stats.2003, ch. 875, § 2).

We affirm the judgment for several reasons.   First, appellant has not fully complied with California Rules of Court, rule 8.204 (contents and form of briefs).   He has failed to properly submit a table of contents and a table of authorities.   He has failed to state his points under a separate heading and support each point by argument and, if possible, by citation of authority.   He has failed to properly cite to the volume and page number in the record in support of his contentions.   He has failed to provide a summary of the significant facts limited to matters in the record.   His attachments to the brief do not comply with rule 8.204(d).  Second, he has waived his right to raise arguments on appeal.   His contention of bias against the trial court does not contain analysis or authority.  (People v. Stanley (1995) 10 Cal.4th 764, 793.)   His argument is not preceded by an appropriate heading, and is therefore deemed waived.  (Golden Day Schools, Inc. v. Department of Education (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 681, 695, fn. 9.) Also, when the appellate court cannot understand a party's argument, it cannot consider it and will deem it to be abandoned.  (Landry v. Berryessa Union School Dist. (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 691, 699-700.)   That is the case here.   There is nothing in the record indicating appellant ever raised the argument of bias in the trial court.   Where appellant does not raise an argument in the trial court, the appellate court is precluded from considering it.  (People v. Catlin (2001) 26 Cal.4th 81, 122-123.)   Finally, the determination of the disqualification of the judge is not an appealable order even if the issue had been raised in the court below.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 170.3, subd. (d).)

The lower court judgment is affirmed.   Costs are awarded to respondent.

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