WT Wins: Published Opinion Protects Survivors of Domestic Violence

Weintraub attorney Brendan J. Begley recently convinced the California Court of Appeal that a person who obtains a Domestic-Violence Restraining Order (“DVRO”) against an abusive person can have a trial court renew that order once it is about to expire even if the restrained person’s appeal from the original DVRO remains pending at that time.  (In re Marriage of Carlisle (2021) 60 Cal.App.5th 244, 246.)  Generally, once an appeal is filed in state court, a trial court has no power to modify its order; however, Brendan persuaded California’s Third Appellate District that DVROs are different.

The appellate court initially issued that ruling in an unpublished decision, which is not binding on other courts in the state.  However, non-profit advocacy groups asked the appellate court to publish the opinion since such binding precedent would “be particularly helpful for survivors across California because [someone needing to have a DVRO renewed while the initial DVRO is on appeal] is not unique.”  According to the Family Violence Appellate Project, “trial practitioners, domestic violence advocates, and survivors [had previously] expressed how their trial courts were uncertain as to what authority they had with respect to domestic violence matters when an appeal is pending.”  This published decision should put a stop to that problem.