Unfavorable verdicts in civil court cases may be successfully overturned—if there are grounds for appeal based on the court’s legal proceedings. Lawyers share insights about what it takes to win on appeal.
Clarity, Brevity and Focus
Appellate judges have the difficult work of assessing trial records and evaluating the application of the law. They have not been previously involved in the case—and are getting all the facts for the first time. Experienced appellate lawyers advise:
An effective appeal should be brief, logical, and clear. No judge wants to dig through a convoluted trial record to identify key issues in a case. Do the leg work for them and present a clear, logical argument that points to specific support in the trial record.
It is critical that an appeal presents the strongest arguments rather than a wide range of arguments – quality over quantity.… Employing too many arguments can create clutter and confusion, making it harder for a judge to follow the logic behind your appeal and diminishing the effectiveness of each argument.
A trial can be a fast-moving, hectic event in which the trial court has to make many quick, snap decisions….An appeal, on the other hand, is an opportunity to take a step back, slow down, and really dig into what went wrong at trial….An effective appeal will show the appellate court exactly how the trial court got a decision wrong under the law and how that incorrect decision affected the…trial.
The Importance of Appeal Bonds
When there are grounds for appeal, courts frequently require an appeal bond, called a supersedeas bond in some states.
An appeal bond is a type of surety bond—it places money or assets in holding while the case is being judged by an appellate court, guaranteeing that the initial judgment will be honored if the appeal ultimately fails. Essentially, an appeal bond is security that a court requires from an appellant awaiting judgment on the appeal. The importance of appeal bonds is outlined by Investopedia:
- An appeal…could take a long period of time to be ruled upon; in some cases, an appeal could take years.
- The appeal bond is required as a sign of good faith that the judgment will be paid if the appellant loses, and to protect the winning party should the losing party go bankrupt during the appeals process.
- The amount of money required for the bond is often the actual judgment plus interest and is held while the appeal is being debated.
- The appeal bond is also used to limit frivolous attempts at an appeal, as the appellant still has to pay the judgment upfront in the form of a bond, and may end up paying more ultimately due to interest, fees, lawyers, etc.
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An Appealing Idea for Lawyers: Efficiency!
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Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed, and licensed for business everywhere in the USA.