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Appeals to the Appellate Division, Second Department

Appeals in the Appellate Division, Second Department

New York Appeals lawyers must be familiar with the rules that dictate where appeals must be filed. Appeals from decisions or judgments of the Supreme, County, or Family Courts are handled in one of the four departments of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. If the Court rendering the decision is located in one of the following 10 counties, then it will be handled in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the Second Department. The 10 Counties are: Kings (Brooklyn) Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Richmond (Staten Island), Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. The size of these Counties and the volume of cases they handle make the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Department one of the busiest Appellate Courts in the Country if not the world.

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Appellate Divisions in general have a lot of power in reviewing decisions from lower Courts, more power in fact that most Appellate Courts. Most Appellate Courts only have the ability to decide on errors of law but in the Appellate Division the Judges have the power to also find and decide issues of fact pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) §5501. Deciding issues of fact is a power reserved only for the Appellate Divisions and the Appellate Terms. New York’s Highest Court, the New York Court of Appeals, specifically only has the power to decide issues of law pursuant to CPLR §5501(b).

When an Appeal is filed in the Appellate Division the person filing the appeal is known as the Appellant and the person who is opposing the appeal is known as the Respondent or sometimes known as the Appellee. In either case strict rules of procedure must be followed in order to file or oppose an appeal. CPLR Article 55 deals with general rules of procedure pertaining to Appellate practice in New York. In addition, CPLR Article 57 deals with the rules of procedure for appeals before the Appellate Division. In addition to all of the rules and laws found in the CPLR there is an entire book of rules that pertain to procedure just before the Appellate Division, Second Department. These rules are codified in the New York Codes Rules and Regulations and can be found in chapter 22 Part 670 (22 NYCRR Part 670).

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Appeals in the Second Department require the adherence to certain deadlines. Initially a Notice of Appeal and a Request for Appellate Division Intervention (RADI form) must be filed within 30 days. Thereafter a brief must be filed with the Record or Appendix on Appeal. The Respondent must also file a brief in opposition and then the Appellant gets the last word in the form of a Reply brief.

After all of the briefs are filed the appeal is “fully submitted” and the parties must wait for a period of time to be put on the calendar for oral arguments. Due to the volume of cases before the Appellate Division, Second Department this can take a long time, up to a year or even more.

The argument generally occurs before a four-justice panel of the Appellate Division. The Justices are familiar with the briefs and the record and generally will use this time to ask the lawyers hard questions about their case and their legal arguments.

Sometime after oral argument the Court will render a decision. The decision itself must comply with certain legal requirements that are set out in CPLR §5712. Generally, it can take several months after oral arguments before a decision is rendered.

An appeal is often a persons last chance to win a case or a last opportunity to defendant a hard won court victory. Only hire an experienced appeals attorney who has experience handling cases in your specific Court.

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