New Judge Assigned in Paul Evert’s RV Case
The state appellate court in Fresno, Calif., has declined to review the disqualification of a judge who issued a $4.5 million verdict against Paul Evert’s RV, but then removed himself from the case after it was revealed he was Facebook friends with one of the lawyers who prevailed in the Fresno County Superior Court trial.
According to a Fresno Bee report, the 5th District Court of Appeal notified the Superior Court on Wednesday (June 18) that it had denied a petition filed on behalf of Fresno RV Inc., which had prevailed in the eight-month trial.
But Judge Jeffrey Hamilton hadn’t signed the final judgment before he recused himself.
Now, Judge M. Bruce Smith will take over the case from Hamilton — unless Fresno RV asks the California Supreme Court to review the petition.
Jeff Hammerschmidt, one of the attorneys for Fresno RV, said Thursday his client has 15 days to make that decision. But if no petition is filed with the state’s high court, Hammerschmidt said Smith will have options: he can sign the final judgment, modify it, or order a new trial.
In January, Hamilton concluded the non-jury trial by ruling that Evert and his employees tried to put Fresno RV owner Bob Brewer out of business by spreading rumors that he was under investigation by state regulators.
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