You might consider filing a Notice of Appeal if you are unhappy with the outcome of your court case. An experienced civil appeals lawyer from Evans Kingsbury LLP can evaluate your court decision, present the full range of options available to you, and help you determine the best legal strategy for handling your court decision.
After parties go to court to resolve a legal dispute, one or more parties may still be dissatisfied with the outcome of the court order or judgment. In that case, a party may appeal the court’s decision. In other words, the party may ask a higher court to review the court’s decision and determine whether the judge made an error that affected the outcome of the case. This process is known as an appeal.
Seeking legal counsel will allow you to understand the risks and benefits of the appeal process and how an appeal would work in your civil case. We can help you make the decision that is best calculated to help you achieve your goals in your case. Contact our offices today at (707) 596-6090 and learn more about the process of filing an appeal today.
Filing the Notice of Appeal
To appeal a court’s decision, you file a Notice of Appeal to let the court and the other party know that you intend to appeal. You file your Notice of Appeal with the court that issued the order or judgment you want to appeal. You also pay an appellate filing fee along.
You can file your Notice of Appeal as soon as the judge signs the order or judgment and the court clerk stamps it “Filed.” You have a limited time to file your Notice of Appeal, as follows:
- In a limited civil case, which is a civil case involving an amount that is $25,000 or less, you must serve and file your Notice of Appeal on or before the earliest of:
- 30 days after the trial court clerk or the other side mails you notice that the judgment has been entered, or
- A copy of the judgment has been stamped “Filed” OR 90 days after the entry of judgment.
- In an unlimited civil case, which is a civil case involving an amount that is more than $25,000, or a family law case, you must serve and file your Notice of Appeal on or before the earliest of:
- 60 days after the trial court clerk or the other side serves notice that judgment has been entered in your case or a copy of the judgment stamped “Filed,” or
- 180 days after the entry of judgment.
The California Rules of Court provide for some limited special circumstances in which the deadline for filing a Notice of Appeal can be extended. However, for a deadline to be extended, you must file specific and timely motions with the court. The Court of Appeal may dismiss an appeal in appropriate circumstances, such as if a party did not file the Notice of Appeal on time.
After You File Your Notice of Appeal
Designating the Record
In most civil appeals, you have ten days after you file your Notice of Appeal to designate the record. In other words, you must let the trial court know what documents and oral proceedings you want to include in the record to be reviewed by the appellate court. Some parts of the trial court record must be included in the record on appeal, such as the judgment or order you want to appeal. Other parts of the record are optional.
The person filing the appeal generally must pay for the preparation of the record that the trial court sends to the appellate court, as well as their copy of the record. The other party is responsible for paying for their copy of the record. A trial court usually requires you to deposit the estimated costs of preparing the record upfront before it begins preparing the record. If the court requires you to pay a deposit upfront, you will get a refund of any unused portion of your deposit.
Once the trial court prepares the record, it sends it directly to the Court of Appeal. After the Court of Appeal receives the record, it will notify the parties about the deadline for the appellant – or the party who has filed the appeal – to file their opening brief.
Parties must file briefs with the Court of Appeal to argue their side of the case and explain how the trial court erred and how the error(s) affected the outcome. Generally, the appellant’s opening brief is due 40 days from the date that the record on appeal is filed. Extensions of time to file the opening brief are routinely granted.
After the appellant files the opening brief, the respondent, or the other party in the case, must file their brief to explain how and why the trial court’s decision was correct and/or did not affect the outcome. The respondent’s brief is due 30 days after the appellant’s brief is filed, and the respondent must pay a filing fee.
Finally, the appellant files a reply brief to address the arguments made in the respondent’s brief. The reply brief is due 20 days after the respondent’s brief is filed.
Once the Court of Appeal has had time to review all the briefs, it will contact the parties to ask whether they want to participate in oral arguments. During oral arguments, the parties present their arguments to the Court of Appeals justices, either in person or remotely, and explain their positions.
Oral arguments are optional, and Courts of Appeal decide many cases without oral argument. However, if one party requests oral argument, the Court of Appeal will schedule oral argument for the case.
A case is submitted once the deadlines have passed for the parties to submit their briefs and participate in oral arguments.
After the Court of Appeal reviews the record on appeal, the briefs, and hears any oral arguments the parties choose to make, the justices decide the appeal. The Court of Appeal can affirm, reverse, or modify all or part of the trial court’s judgment or order.
The Court of Appeal has 90 days from when the case is submitted to decide the appeal. Once the appellate court’s decision becomes final, the case is remanded back to the trial court.
We Stand Ready to Assist You with Your Civil Appeal
At Evans Kingsbury LLP, a Certified Appellate Specialist attorney is here to help you pursue your case on appeal. We have the skills and experience necessary to represent the interests of our clients in appellate cases. Our attorneys will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and explain each step of the appellate process. You schedule an appointment to discuss your civil appeal by calling (707) 596-6090 or contacting us online today.