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Appeals

When any party to a court case is unhappy with the outcome or believes the trial court made a mistake, that party may choose to appeal to a higher court. The higher court (Court of Appeals or Supreme Court) will review the case based upon the record and the law.  The appellant is the party seeking to have the lower court’s judgment reversed or modified, and the respondent is the party asking the higher court to affirm the lower court’s judgment.

The appeal process is complicated, with many deadlines and procedural requirements. In addition, the appellate courts have certain standards of review limiting what they can and cannot do when reviewing a judgment.  The experienced appellate lawyers at Schmidt, Rupke, Tess-Mattner & Fox are familiar with those deadlines and requirements, as well as how to best present your arguments to the court in accord with the appropriate standards of review.

No new evidence can be added to the record the court reviews on appeal,  so we carefully review the trial court’s record to identify those portions that will help us in arguing for a reversal or modification of the judgment in the lower court (if representing the appellant), or to have the judgment affirmed (if representing the respondent). Using the evidence and legal rulings in the record, careful legal research, and our writing skills, we prepare briefs in which we present all of the appropriate arguments to the appellate court.

Although the complete appeal process can be lengthy, there are several important deadlines that arise very soon after a decision or judgment. The most important of these requires that a notice of appeal be filed within the statutory deadline for that type of case. In most civil cases, the deadline is 90 days, but that can be shortened to 45 days. Appeals from non-final orders must be filed within 14 days. Some administrative appeal deadlines are as short as 15 days.  These deadlines cannot be extended, so to preserve your right to appeal, it is important to talk with an appellate attorney as soon as possible after an adverse judgment is entered.

Whether you are trying to have a judgment reversed or affirmed, we have the experience and skill to present your strongest arguments to the appellate court.

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