Appeals

An appeal is the process in which a party who is dissatisfied with the outcome of a case in a lower court can petition a higher court to review the case.

The side that files the appeal is called the “appellant.” The other side is called the “respondent.”  If you appeal, the appellate court will review the trial court record to decide if a legal mistake was made in the trial court that changed the outcome of the case.

The side that appeals (the appellant) can ask the appellate court to decide if certain kinds of legal errors (mistakes) were made:

Prejudicial error: This kind of error is a mistake about the law or court procedures that causes substantial harm to the appellant. Prejudicial error can include things like mistakes made by the judge about the law, incorrect instructions given to the jury, and errors or misconduct by the lawyers or by the jury. The mistakes must have harmed the appellant.
No substantial evidence: The appellant can ask the appellate court to determine if there was no substantial evidence that reasonably supported the trial court’s decision.

Remember, the appellate court will not consider new evidence. An appeal is not a new trial. A request for a new trial or for reconsideration is an entirely different type of legal proceeding.

Winning an appeal is an arduous task requiring great skill and experience. Writing a successful appeal requires mastery of legal research, legal writing, close following of rules and procedure, and strategic presentation of the facts, applicable law, and of the court record as well as a thorough analysis and understanding of the underlying case.  To prevail on appeal, one must prove that the trial court made a legal mistake that caused the appellant harm.

When you (the appellant) argue that the trial court made a legal error, the appellate court looks first at what the standard of review is for the particular kind of decision made in your trial court case.

The 3 most common standards of review are:

“Abuse of discretion” Standard

“Substantial evidence” Standard

“De Novo” Standard

Trust our skilled and experienced appellate attorney to give you a second chance at justice in your case.  We handle civil, family law, probate, and small claims appellate matters.

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