Boca Raton & West Palm Beach Civil Appeals Attorney
Our Boca Raton & West Palm Beach civil appeals attorneys have successfully handled dozens of appeals in state and federal courts throughout Florida. Our practice includes the representation of plaintiffs, defendants, appellants, appellees, petitioners, and respondents in all civil appellate matters. In particular, we are frequently called upon to assist trial lawyers and their clients in the following civil appeals:
- Commercial Litigation
- Family Law
- Personal Injury
When can you appeal?
Generally speaking, as a litigant in a civil matter, you can appeal any final order or judgment, certain appealable orders issues before final judgment, and post-judgment orders as well. Separate sections of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure govern specific areas, such as family law, workers compensation, or probate and guardianship.
The Rules impose strict deadlines on filing a notice of appeal and other procedural matters, and it is very important that these deadlines are met. In general, you must file a notice of appeal of a final judgment within 30 days after the judgment is rendered. Failure to do this timely can be fatal to your appeal, as the appellate court may not have jurisdiction to hear your case. This is one aspect where appellate law differs considerably from trial work. While trial practice has many deadlines of its own, such as the statute of limitations, it is often possible for the court to waive a missed deadline on a showing of good cause. This is often not possible at the appellate level.
Types of appeals
Most appeals are taken from final orders or final judgments of a trial court. Some examples of final judgments include a judgment based on jury verdict or a summary judgment based on papers such as pleadings and affidavits. Some types of non-final orders can be appealed, and those proceedings are known as interlocutory appeals because the trial court case is still in progress when the non-final order is rendered.
In order to appeal, there must generally be some sort of mistake of fact or error of law or procedure which occurred at the trial level. For instance, the judge may have made an incorrect ruling on a motion or objection, which allowed inadmissible evidence to be admitted or biased or prejudicial testimony to be heard by the jury. The instructions given to the jury before deliberations may also be challenged when they were incorrect.
Why You Need an Appellate Lawyer
In order to succeed on appeal, you must be able to show not only that errors were committed, but that they are serious enough to justify a reversal or modification of the order or judgment, or a remand of the case back to the trial court. If the appeals court decides that the error was “harmless,” it is unlikely to disturb the lower court’s judgment. As trial court orders are generally clothed with a presumption of correctness, it is not an easy task to convince an appellate court that there was harmful, reversible error. This is a task for experienced appellate counsel.
Appellate judges know that they are only reviewing a “cold” record of the trial or hearing and may give great deference to the rulings of the trial judge who saw and heard the case live. In arguing that the judge committed error, therefore, you must often meet a high standard of showing that the judge committed an abuse of discretion or acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner.
Appeals to the intermediate appellate courts (the district courts of appeal) are generally “as of right,” so the court generally must consider the appeal if timely and properly presented. But trial court orders and judgments are presumed to be correct. It is important to have an experienced appellate attorney prepare the briefs to show that that trial court committed harmful error and to persuade the appellate court to reverse.
Most appeals to the Florida Supreme Court are discretionary, meaning the Court decides whether to accept jurisdiction and review the matter. It is important to have an experienced, successful appellate attorney prepare the petition or jurisdictional brief so that it presents a compelling argument to persuade the court to accept the case. This may be done by presenting important or novel questions of law for the Court to determine, or by presenting strong evidence to show how an injustice occurred at the trial level.
Call on Experienced and Successful Florida Appellate Lawyers for Your Civil Appeal
At The Law Offices of Robin Bresky, we take the time to thoroughly review the trial transcript for errors and prepare a detailed brief that gives the appellate panel a good reason to rule in your favor. Some appeals also involve an oral argument, and we prepare for every argument extensively, so that we are ready to deliver a persuasive presentation to the judges. If you are considering filing an appeal, or if the other side files an appeal that you need to defend against, contact our offices in Boca Raton to speak with one of our experienced Florida appellate attorneys. We practice throughout Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties and all of South Florida, and we are often called upon to handle appeals in Florida statewide and even nationwide. We can be reached at 561-994-6273.