Appellate Practice

What is Appellate Practice?

Cases and controversies are initially tried at the trial court level. A party that has lost his or her case or obtained an unfavorable judgment may choose to ask for a review of the lower courts decision by what is referred to as an appeal, which is filed in the appellate court.

What is my deadline for Filing an Appeal?

Quickly.  Your time to file an appeal runs from the time the lower court judge signs the order and that order is filed with the clerk. From that point you have thirty (30) days unless post-trial motions are validly filed (See Rule 9.020(h)) .

What is the Cost of an Appeal?

Cost will vary from case to case. However, in Florida, there are three common elements that make up the cost of an appeal: 1.) the filing or docketing fee ($300.00 for appellate court; $100.00 to lower court); 2.) the cost to prepare the record, mainly transcript costs(may be as high as 5.00 per page of transcript, or higher); 3.) attorney’s fees (ex. billable hour; fixed fees may also be available).

The Process of Filing an Appeal

The process for filing an appeal will be different depending on the type of appeal you seek.

  1. Final Appeals – To begin the appeals process your attorney will file an original and one copy of a notice of appeal which attached the Order you are appealing. The lower court will forward this notice to the applicable appellate court. The lower court will also prepare a “record” which consists of all original documents, pleadings, exhibits, and transcripts of proceedings already on file in the trial court. Any deficiencies in the record will need to be brought to the clerk’s attention within ten days along with any additional documentation that may need to be included. Once the record is complete the appellant will need to serve its brief within seventy days after the notice of appeal.
  2. Cross Appeal – Believe it or not even a “winning” party may file an appeal. You can however imagine a situation where a party won but didn’t receive the damages they felt were deserving under the circumstances. In this situation, the party may either file a cross-appeal within 10 days of the losing party having filed a valid appeal or within 30 days of the entry of the final order with clerk, whichever is later.
  3. Non-final Appeals – An appeal from a non-final order is roughly the same as an appeal from a final order. This appeal differs in the accelerated amount of time to file the brief (only 15 days rather than 70 days). Further, instead of the lower court preparing a transcript the parties themselves must prepare the record and file it along with the initial brief by way of an appendix.

Once the appeals have been filed with the appellate court your lawyer will then prepare for oral argument. Oral argument is a chance to make a well-reasoned argument to the court based on the brief filed that there a reversible error(s) in the trial court’s ruling and that you are entitled to relief based on that error.

As you can see the appellate process can be a difficult one. Its thus your job to find a lawyer that you can trust, that has the time to dedicate to the case, and who you know did the best job they could regardless of the outcome.  Please contact me today if you are interested in my legal services and we can work out a plan that is right for you.