Can You Appeal Your Case?

Eric A. Lanigan 831 W Morse Blvd, Winter Park, Florida 32789Can You Appeal Your Case?

When you have a court case decision and you don’t like the outcome can you appeal your case?

An appeal is not what many people think that it is. A legal appeal is an action where a client asks an attorney to dispute a case. However: the point argued in the appeal is only in regards to the law.

A client hires an appellate attorney to write a legal brief identifying the law or laws that they believe were applied to a case incorrectly by a court.

There used to be what was called an interlocutory appeal. That type of appeal was essentially anytime a judge made a ruling that you didn’t like you could file an appeal.

If it was not the end of the case it was an appeal along the way. For instance an attorney filed a request to get documents from the other side and they objected and the judge ruled “no” you’re not entitled to those documents.

Your side thinks that the judge is wrong: that would be an appeal but it’s not the end of the case it’s just an appeal of one of the issues along the way. And it is not going to be filed right then and there because at the time that was allowed, it flooded the courts. It was disruptive and held cases out.

In an appellate brief, the judges are expected to review cases and read many pages of legal documents. If the attorney that is hired is not an excellent writer, familiar with the appellate style and length and arguments in writing, your appeal will not go well.

Hire an Appellate Attorney

This is why it’s important to hire a separate attorney, hire an appellate attorney to handle an appeal. The first attorney may be a litigator and no matter how thorough cannot aptly review the case with fresh eyes and an open mind to what could have been executed differently based on the law.

Get a second opinion from an appeals lawyer.

Appeals Are Based Solely on the Law

Eric A Lanigan Business & Civil LitigationThe actual appeal is based solely on the law in the case and is not based on any other aspect of a case. The dispute over the final ruling, the sentence, settlement, a jury’s decision is not the basis for an appeal nor is new evidence or a new witness or a new defense angle.

In an appeal, the attorney is provides a written legal document appealing to a higher court saying that the law that was applied to a case by the lower court was wrong.

An appeal is not applicable to any decision that is not favorable. There should be a legal insight to the law and that something that was legally applied in the case should be reconsidered.

The appellate brief must be poignant, clear, and concise. There’s no room for meandering or belaboring points. The attorney hired to appeal the case shouldn’t be looking for new evidence, a new witness or a hole in the case. The transcripts are reviewed for error but there should be a clear reference to where the lower court failed to apply the law correctly in the original case.

Appeals Are Not Automatic

Many times, news and TV show unhappy people stating that they’re going to appeal the decision. In actuality, they’re appealing to a higher court that the lower court made a mistake. The attorney who takes the case must be experienced in writing an appellate brief and able to deliver in writing not in court a compelling case.

An appeal is a written brief that is presented to a panel of three judges. The judges will take the brief, review it and render their decision.

It’s not going back into the courtroom with the same litigator who may be a fabulous courtroom attorney. Instead a different tact is needed in giving the appeals court a reason to overturn a decision.

You need an appeals attorney, an appellate attorney, familiar with the appellate process, the appeals brief style and the ability to present a clearly law-based argument in writing.

There is not a dramatic argument with the judge in front of a jury. If you go to the law library there are literally thousands of books of cases and everyone of those is an appeal. So there’s plenty of cases being appealed. There’s plenty of cases where someone believes fervently that the judge has made a mistake. And when he or she has made a mistake it should be appealed.

Appeals Can Be Costly

But one of the issues with appeals is that they’re expensive as most things in lawsuits, trials or case are today. There’s nothing cheap about an appeal especially if you are not a lawyer who handled the case at the trial level.

Not only are you going to do all the research and prepare the briefs, but you’ve got to go back and study the case to determine what happened leading up to the appeal. You’re poring over trial transcripts and case law.

When you consider an appeal, consult with a few attorneys to find out the timeframe which is usually a six-month process. It is costly. It is time consuming. But if you believe strongly in your appeal, pursue it and work with an appellate attorney.