Gassner v. Stasa

Attorney Beverly Gassner filed suit against her former client Loretta Stasa for unpaid fees. Gassner was represented by the Grossman firm. In 2016, Gassner voluntarily dismissed the action without prejudice. The trial court awarded costs - not only against the plaintiff, but also against the Grossman firm. The plaintiff moved to vacate the costs order, but the trial court denied that motion. The Grossman firm appealed. With regard to the order awarding costs, the Court of Appeal determined there was a split of authority as to whether such an order was appealable when it was made after a voluntary dismissal without prejudice. The Court followed the case law holding that it was appealable. The Grossman firm, however, failed to file a timely appeal of that order. With regard to the order denying the motion to vacate, ordinarily such an order was not appealable on grounds that could have been raised in an appeal from the underlying order. This bar does not apply, however, when the underlying order is void. "Moreover, the appeal is timely with respect to this order." On the merits, the Court held that the order awarding costs against the Grossman firm was indeed void, because the Grossman firm was not a party. Accordingly, the Court reversed the trial court's order. View "Gassner v. Stasa" on Justia Law