Your California lawsuit went to trial and maybe you were not pleased with the result, or maybe your opponent wanted to challenge the outcome. Either way, the case was raised to a higher court.
Now the appellate court has rendered its decision and it is not favorable to your position. Based upon California law, you now have certain options to consider before the court will lose jurisdiction over your case. Every appeal is different, and we recommend you speak with an appellate lawyer before you decide what to do next. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of four possible alternatives if you lose a California appeal.
1. If the Appellate Court Made an Important Mistake, Ask for a Correction
If you think the appellate court made an important error in deciding your case, you may be able to file for a rehearing in that same court requesting a correction. A petition for rehearing allows the “losing party” to point out any mistakes the appellate court made regarding legal errors, misstatements of fact, important arguments, or other omissions that would compel a different ruling.
The petition must be filed within 15 days from the entry of the appellate court’s decision. The other party may not file an opposition to this petition unless requested by the court. If the court agrees there was an error, it can issue a new decision, or it may request additional briefs or oral arguments on the matter. If the court does not act on the petition for rehearing before the decision becomes final, the petition is deemed denied.
2. If Your Appeal was in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, Ask to Transfer the Case to the Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal may order a transfer of your case from the appellate division of the Superior Court to the Court of Appeal if certain issues are presented. There are three ways a case can be transferred to the Court of Appeal:
- On certification by the appellate division for transfer
- On either party’s petition, or
- On the Court of Appeal’s own motion.
If your appellate decision was inconsistent with other California precedent, or if your case presents an important question of law that should be settled at a higher level, you can file an application with the appellate division for certification to the Court of Appeal. Your application for certification must be filed within 15 days from the appellate division’s decision.
If the appellate division does not certify your case, you can file a petition for transfer in the Court of Appeal. This petition must be filed and served within 15 days from the date the appellate division’s decision is final. The Court of Appeal can grant or deny a certification or petition for transfer. If your case is transferred, the Court of Appeal will set a briefing schedule to hear the matter.
3. If Your Case was in the Court of Appeal, You Can Petition the Supreme Court to Review the Decision
The Supreme Court may order a review of a decision made by the Court of Appeal. Review by the Supreme Court is granted in order to ensure the Court of Appeal decision is consistent with other California legal precedent or to settle an important legal question of statewide significance.
A petition for review must be filed within 10 days of when the Court of Appeal’s decision becomes final, usually within 30 days after the decision is filed. The Supreme Court is not required to hear every case that petitions for review and usually only considers a small fraction of all cases in which review is sought. If your case presents a novel and important legal issue, known as a case of first impression, or if the outcome will affect a large percentage of Californian residents, or if the lower courts were divided about the issues presented, it may be appropriate for review by the Supreme Court.
4. You Can Do Nothing and Let the Adverse Decision Stand
Not every decision can or should be appealed after a bad outcome. Sometimes the law doesn’t support your position or the facts do not support the law to be reviewed. It’s important to understand when you need to walk away from the court system and move forward with your life. Your attorney can help you make the best decision for you.
How to Know Which Decision to Make
Navigating the appellate court system is extremely complicated. To succeed, you must possess an intimate understanding of appellate law and the underlying law of your case, you must comply with various deadlines and filing requirements, and you must follow all protocols to avoid case dismissal.
Attorneys Noreen Evans and Deirdre Kingsbury understand the legal intricacies involved in trial litigation, post-trial actions, and appeals. If you have received an adverse court ruling, they can answer all of your questions and explain your options. At Evans Kingsbury LLP, we are civil litigation and appellate lawyers with decades of experience. Call us today at (707) 596-6090 or fill out our easy contact form to discuss your case.