During litigation, parties may lose a motion or a case. Once a trial court has ruled against them, they may feel that the ruling was incorrect and that they should appeal. While most people have heard of the concept of making an appeal in court, it is unlikely that they fully understand how and why an appellate case begins and proceeds.
Choosing to appeal a case to the North Dakota Supreme Court or the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is a complex decision that should be made after careful discussion with your attorneys. And while it needs to be done in a thoughtful and careful manner, it must be done without delay, as there are deadlines that must be adhered to, or your decision to appeal will be made for you.
Fundamentally, with an appeal, you ask a court that is often made up of a panel of judges, to review the legal decisions made by the trial court. Merely because you are unhappy that you lost a case is not an adequate rationale to make an appeal.
You have to point out to the appellate court which decisions of the judge during the trial were wrong and why they were incorrect. These errors usually involve matters of law, and not of fact, because the trial court judge or jury has the authority to deal with issues of fact. They are in the courtroom and can view a witness, hear and evaluate testimony and evaluate credibility.
The court of appeal’s review is typically limited to reviewing mistakes of law by the trial judge, such as allowing an expert to testify who was not really qualified as an expert or making a wrong interpretation of constitutional law.
As significant as the legal grounds for an appeal, the putative appellant must determine if it is cost effective to prosecute an appeal.
The process can be very time-consuming and while your attorneys will do all of the work and will not need large amounts of your time if you run a business, a pending appeal can be a distraction. You also have to examine how the appeal with effect other relationships within your business environment.