Five Things to Consider Before Filing an Appeal
An experienced civil appeals lawyer from Evans Kingsbury LLP can explain and guide you through the process of an appeal. With legal counsel at your side to answer your questions before and during your appeal, you will better understand how an appeal works and how it may benefit you in your case. Call us today at (707) 596-6090 to get more information about filing an appeal in your civil case.
When you don’t receive the outcome that you expected in your lawsuit, you may be anxious, upset, and concerned about what the court’s decision means for your future. However, before accepting defeat, you should understand that you may have legal options to challenge an adverse court ruling, depending on your circumstances. One potential option may be to appeal the trial court order and ask for a higher court to review the order for errors. Here are five things that you should consider as you decide whether to file an appeal:
- 1. Your likelihood of success on appeal is low.
While it is not impossible to win your case on appeal with experienced appellate representation, most appeals are unsuccessful. To win on appeal, you must show proof that the trial court made a mistake in applying the law, that someone committed wrongdoing during the trial, or that the judge’s ruling was contrary to the evidence. You must also show that without those errors, the result would have been different. Generally, the appellate court presumes that the judge followed the applicable rules and laws, which can be a high standard to overcome on appeal. The court of appeal will not review the trial judge’s findings of fact. Even if you strongly believe the judge made a factual error, an appeal on this basis is not likely to be successful.
- 2. Even a successful appeal may not end your legal battle.
Some successful appeals result in a ruling in favor of the appealing party, which concludes the case. However, many successful appeals do not end with the appellate court’s decision. When the appellate court reverses the trial court’s decision, it often will “remand,” or send the case back to the trial court for further proceedings or a new trial. While the trial court generally will avoid making the same errors twice to prevent a further appeal, you may still not get the desired outcome in your case. You also may wait several months or years before the trial court can rehear your case, which further prolongs your legal dispute.
- 3. Appeals take a long time to complete.
Appeals are not appropriate or suitable for time-sensitive or emergency matters because they often take a year or more to complete. Various deadlines apply, including initiating the appeal and each party filing briefs to support their positions. The appellate court typically takes several months to issue a written decision, either based on the parties’ briefs or after hearing oral arguments from both parties. Therefore, you should not expect an appeal to resolve the issues in your civil case immediately or over the next several months.
- 4. Filing an appeal doesn’t necessarily stay enforcement of the trial court’s order.
In most cases, filing an appeal does not automatically stop enforcement of a trial court’s decision. The trial court order remains legally valid and enforceable until the appellate court decides to overturn it based on your appeal. In other words, you will likely still have to comply with the trial court’s order or judgment even while your appeal is pending. However, a party also may ask the trial court or the appellate court to stay the trial court order pending the appeal if the order is not automatically stayed, which may require that party to post a bond. In other cases, filing an appeal may stay the trial court’s order by operation of law. An appellate lawyer can explain the difference and determine whether or not your judgment or order is automatically stayed.
- 5. Filing an appeal ultimately could put you in a worse position than before filing the appeal.
As mentioned above, success on appeal is far from guaranteed, and appeals are notoriously lengthy and expensive. Moreover, even if you win an appeal, the appellate court may send your case back to the trial court for a new trial, meaning that you must pay your attorney to represent you at trial a second time. Furthermore, a judge or jury could still rule against you after a second trial, and the details of that ruling could be even worse. For instance, a jury could find that you owe more money to the other party after the second trial than a jury did after the first trial. Therefore, you need to be cautious about the potential unintended consequences of an appeal, including increased financial expenditures that you might not have anticipated.
Learn More About How We Can Assist You
Appeals can be complex and challenging, but they are often necessary to challenge an obviously incorrect or unjust result. At Evans Kingsbury LLP, a civil appeals attorney stands ready to pursue your case on appeal. We have the skills and experience to achieve positive results for our clients in appellate cases. Our attorneys will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and represent your interests throughout the appellate process. You can set up a time to speak with us about your civil appeal by calling (707) 596-6090 or contacting us online today.