To win an appeal in any appellate court a lawyer must be smart, thorough and diligent. The best appeal attorneys know the law but must also learn the facts of your case. An appeal is also your last chance. If the case was already lost because of an error of law your appeal may be the last chance you have for justice. If you won your case, the appeal must be defended to protect your victory and ensure you get the benefit that you were awarded whether a cash payment, annuity, or a Court order.
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After a case is decided, whether in the New York State Supreme Court (in New York State the trial Court is called the Supreme Court which is the opposite of most other states) or the Federal District Court a person involved in the case who loses has a right to appeal. In the case of New York State Supreme Court an appeal is brought to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and is usually heard by 4 justices of that Court who decide whether or not to reverse the decision of the Supreme Court.
If the case was originally heard in Supreme Court in Nassau, Suffolk, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange or Dutchess County the appeal would likely be brought in the Appellate Division for the Second Department which is widely regarded to be one of the busiest appellate courts in the world. Appeals from Manhattan and the Bronx are brought in the Appellate Division, First Department
If your case was decided in Federal Court the appeal would be brought to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
In order to appeal a case there are strict deadlines that need to be followed and appellate procedure must be followed precisely. Appellate procedure dictates everything from the size of the type to be used in a brief (in the Second Department 14 point typeface), the maximum number of words to be contained in a brief (14000 in the Second Department) and many other very specific requirements that must be followed to have an appeal considered by the Court. However, generally, a “record” or “appendix” must be filed in the Appellate Court which is a copy of the file from the lower Court and shows the Appellate Court what happened in the lower Court that you claim was an error.
After a record on appeal or appendix is filed the Appellant, the person filing the appeal, must file a “brief” which is the legal arguments that support the Appellant’s claims that an error of law was committed in the lower Court. After the Appellant files a brief, the Appellee (the person who won the case in the lower Court and is trying to defend the win) must file an opposing brief. In most Courts the Appellant can file a reply, which is limited in length and limited to responding to the Appellee’s brief.
After the briefs are fully submitted, the attorneys, if they request it, may have an opportunity for oral argument in which the lawyers appear before the panel of judges and have an opportunity to argue to the Court why they believe their client should win the Appeal. It is also a great opportunity to answer any questions that the Judges may have.Sometime After Oral Argument the Court Will Render a Decision
Remember, that to win an appeal, an Appellant must show that there was an error of law committed by the lower Court. Simply disagreeing with a decision by the lower Court or a Jury verdict will not be a sufficient ground to win an appeal.
If you have any questions about appellate procedure contact one of our experienced appeals lawyers who can answer questions about the appellate process.