When Should I Appeal a Civil Case?
When a dispute arises between private individuals or businesses, it is resolved in civil litigation with each party presenting his or her case with the help of a civil litigation attorney. You or your company may be the plaintiff or defendant in a wide variety of civil cases, from claims arising from breach of contract to employment disputes or personal injury case. These cases are decided by either a judge or a jury, and the plaintiff has the legal burden of proving claims against the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, which means a plaintiff can prevail by showing that the facts and allegations against the defendant are more likely than not to be true. When a plaintiff prevails, a defendant can be ordered to pay monetary damages, to follow through with a contract, or to discontinue a particular behavior or course of action.
After a judge or jury has made a decision in civil litigation, this is not necessarily the end of the partys’ involvement with the legal system. Either a plaintiff or a defendant can appeal the decision that was made. An appeal to the Court of Appeals can allow you to get relief from a decision that did not go in your favor, and it gives you another chance to either seek a remedy or avoid being forced to compensate the plaintiff. Before you decide to appeal, however, you need to speak with a civil litigation attorney to find out if an appeal is the right choice in your circumstances.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP provides legal representation to clients who are not happy with the outcomes of their civil cases and who are considering appealing the initial decision that was made. Appealing a past court decision requires specialized skills and advanced legal knowledge, and our legal defense team has the capabilities and litigation background necessary to help clients succeed. Give our Irvine civil litigation lawyers a call as soon as you get an unfavorable decision so we can help. We also represent clients in their initial civil cases with the goal of getting a favorable decision that wouldn’t need to be appealed.
A Civil Litigation Attorney Can Help You Determine if You Should Appeal
After a decision has been reached that you are dissatisfied with, appeal is the only option to avoid the judge or jury’s decision being considered the final word on the legal matters raised in the lawsuit. You can appeal both the underlying decision on the case, as well as the remedy that the judge or jury determined was appropriate. For example, if a company is sued for a defective product and the plaintiff prevails and is awarded $1 million in damages, the defendant could appeal the decision on liability and/or could appeal the amount of damages awarded.
When you appeal a civil case, you do not get to re-litigate all of the underlying issues that were presented at the original trial. An appeal is not just a do-over trial where you get to try to convince another judge or jury to find differently. Instead, to prevail in an appeal, you have to argue that there was a legal or a procedural error. There must have been something wrong with the process in the underlying case for you to have grounds for an appeal. For example, you could argue that the judge shouldn’t have let in evidence that was presented to the jury or that the wrong jury instructions were given to the jury. You cannot argue that the jury made the wrong decision on the subjective facts of the case.
When a case is appealed, you don’t present witnesses or testify in court. Instead, a civil litigation attorney submits a brief to the court with legal arguments. Each attorney is generally given a short period of time for oral arguments to support their brief and to answer any questions that the appeals court may have. The court will consider the appeal based on the information presented about the underlying procedural or legal problems with the initial decision and will then make a decision. An appeals court could overturn the original decision, could uphold it, or could send the case back to the lower court with clarifying instructions.
Whether or not you should go through the appeals process is thus going to vary depending upon both whether it is likely you can prevail on an argument there was a problem with the original decision, as well as on whether it is worth the cost and time to fight the original court decision.
The expert civil litigation attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help you to determine when an appeal makes sense. To learn more about the legal services that we offer to clients in Irvine and surrounding areas who are involved in lawsuits as a plaintiff or a defendant, give us a call today at 866-237-8129 or contact us online.