If you are not satisfied with your verdict or wish to preserve your judgment, speak with an Appeals Attorney.
A party to a legal proceeding who is not satisfied with the result might be able to challenge a decision in an appellate court. The typical grounds to appeal could include errors of law, procedure, or fact. Appeals are not limited to court proceedings but are available, under limited circumstances, for decisions of administrative agencies, and boards of city and county governments.
The appellate court will defer to the lower court’s findings of fact unless clearly erroneous. In other words, if there is competent, substantial evidence to support a determination of fact, that fact will be binding on the parties. Whether a trial by judge or jury, the deference provided by the appeal court allows the fact finder to determine the weight given to the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses.
Legal errors submitted to an appeals court include, whether the lower court misapplied the law to the facts when making its conclusion; whether there was a misinterpretation of the law in determining whether a party met their obligations to prove the necessary elements to establish a claim or defense; whether the proper remedy was provided to the prevailing party; and whether, in the event of a jury trial, the jury was properly instructed.
The standard of review for legal error is either de novo or abuse of discretion. De novo review is authority to review the matter as if the case was initiated before the court of appeal without deference to the trial court. For example, an interpretation of a statute or case law by a trial judge is reviewed de novo. Abuse of discretion review exists for those legal issues where the law gives the trial court discretion on rulings. For example, on the issue of whether a jury verdict was excessive, a trial judge has discretion on making the determination, and if the judge agrees, he or she has discretion on proposing a remedy to the parties.
A right to appeal is one that is guaranteed by statute, or constitutional or legal principle. An appeal by leave or permission requires the appellant to seek the appeal court’s jurisdiction by a petition requesting the court to exercise its discretion to accept review. There are strict time limitations on the filing of any appeal. A party considering an appeal should contact an attorney, who is familiar with the appellate process, promptly after the court decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of civil judgments can be appealed?
All, provided you have lost at least one material issue. If you have won the underlying lawsuit, there would be no need to appeal.
How long do I have to file an appeal?
If the order is not tolled per Rule 9.020(h)(1) of the Florida Rules of Appellate procedure, then it is generally thirty (30) days. See FLA. R. APP. P. 9.100(c); 9.110(b). This does not apply to criminal appeals.
What does the appeals process look like?
The Trial Court (a.k.a the Lower Court) render its final order. One party to the order appeals either some unfavorable aspect of that decision or the entire order by filing a notice of appeal with that trial court. At that point, the clerk of court for the county in which the trial court is geographically located prepares the record for appeal which is transmitted to the appellate court. The record contains all items in the docket for that case unless less than than the entire record is requested by one or both parties.
Depending upon the type of proceeding, the Appelant or Petitioner files its initial brief or petition, respectively. The Appellee or Respondent files its answer brief or response, respectively. The Appellant or Petitioner files its reply brief. The parties have the option to request oral argument before a panel of Appelate Judges if they so desire. Oral argument consists of a panel of Appellate Judges asking questions of the Appelate advocates about complex factual and legal issues in the underlying casein order to resolvethe matter. The Appellate Court will then render it decision, depending upon the complexity of the case, within 2 years. Because these are difficult concepts, everyone should be represented by competentAppellate Counsel at all times when going through this process.
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