TRANSPORT INS. CO. v. TIG INS. CO.
202 Cal.App.4th 984 (2012)
Court of Appeals of California, First District, Division Two.
January 13, 2012.
We have described the doctrine this way: it is "`an "application of the estoppel principle": "Where a party by his conduct induces the commission of error, he is estopped from asserting it as a ground for reversal" on appeal. [Citation.] ... At bottom, the doctrine rests on the purpose of the principle, which is to prevent a party from misleading the trial court and then profiting therefrom in the appellate court. [Citations.] ....'" (Munoz v. City of Union City (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 173, 178 [55 Cal.Rptr.3d 393].) It has been said that the invited error doctrine "applies `with particular force in the area of jury instructions....'" (Stevens v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1645, 1653 [57 Cal.Rptr.2d 525]), and numerous cases have held that a party who requests, or acquiesces in, a particular jury instruction cannot appeal the giving of that instruction. (See, e.g., Nevis v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (1954) 43 Cal.2d 626, 629-630 [275 P.2d 761]; Electronic Equipment Express, Inc. v. Donald H. Seiler & Co. (1981) 122 Cal.App.3d 834, 856-857 [176 Cal.Rptr. 239] and cases cited; Gherman v. Colburn (1977) 72 Cal.App.3d 544, 567 [140 Cal.Rptr. 330] [jointly-proposed instruction].)
Claiming to describe what occurred before Judge Woolard, Transport's brief asserts that "[p]rior to closing arguments, the court and counsel discussed the various jury instructions the parties had submitted. [Citation.] Seaton's trial counsel submitted a statute of limitations instruction (on its own caption) which tracked the trial court's prior ruling on the summary adjudication motions. [Citations.] The court accepted this and instructed the jury."
Transport's description as to the origin of the instruction is less than candid: it had as much to do with the instruction, if not more, than did Seaton.
The instruction was the subject of lengthy argument below, 10 pages to be exact. It arose in the context of, as Judge Woolard described it, "Jury Instructions Disputed by Transport," and specifically in Transport's argument that TIG had "agreed" to a different instruction than the one it proposed. The claimed "agreed" to instruction was the one to which Transport and Seaton had agreed—the instruction Transport now complains of here.
So, to set the stage for that discussion, counsel for Seaton advised Judge Woolard that "[a]lthough [the instructions] are on my caption, ... [t]hey are basically there because they are the result of our conference. And we have retyped some of them and some of these have mine on the side because they basically are on my letterhead, but not necessarily proposed by me." (Italics added.) Judge Woolard thanked Seaton's counsel for being "kind enough to take the laboring oar on having all of this produced so that we could address it in a reasonable fashion," and then went to the argument: "The first one is Special Instruction Number 2, Affirmative Defense Statute of Limitations."
The next person to talk was counsel for Transport, who asserted that TIG's proposed instruction "does not track the Court's ruling or the case law in Stronghold. And, in fact, we have an agreed instruction, ... if you look at the last document, there is an agreed instruction on an affirmative defense statute of limitations which specifically tracks the court's ruling. That's why it's agreed. This one [(the instruction proposed by TIG)] does not and should not be given."