CIVIL APPEAL ATTORNEYS
TO BOTH CREATE AND DEFEND APPEALS
FOR BUSINESS-RELATED CASES
ANYWHERE IN CALIFORNIA
IN BOTH STATE AND FEDERAL COURTS
A loss in a trial court can be a big blow to your case. It does not mean the world has to end. Mistakes can and do happen all of the time at the trial court level as we are all human; this is not a perfect system. An appeal is a second chance for your case.
In a trial, oral advocacy is what the case is all about, whereas in an appeal, written advocacy is the method of operation. The success of failure of an appeal depends in part on the writing skills of the appellate attorney. Often, at the appellate level, oral argument (ie speaking to the panel of judges) is not available so everything rests on the written document.
The challenges we, as appellate attorneys face, is that by the time the cases make it to our desks, our clients are often tired o
f hearing about the case.
WHY WE’RE DIFFERENT
1. We don’t handle all types of appeals; we concentrate our efforts only on civil appeals. Why? We have been handling civil cases for decades. We know how these cases work, we know what we are looking for, and we know what to expect. When we know what we are looking for, it costs you less, as we know how these cases are created.
We can’t be great at all areas of law, you need someone who knows ‘your’ area of law. An appeal is not just an appeal, it is one of the most critical aspects of your case and should be handled by someone who only deals in one area of law and knows it well; one size does not fit all in this complex area of law.
2. We prefer business-related cases. We are not just business lawyers; we are involved in the business world. We have the training, we attend the seminars for businesspersons, we actually run businesses (for charity purposes) and know-how business works.
We consult our clients on a plethora of business issues and obtain a three-dimensional fee for what is taking place. Law school does not teach a person how the business world works or how business really runs: the real world does a great job at that. You need someone who understands the mechanics of the case. This is not the time for a simple intellectual approach; this is the time for innovative arguments based on real-world scenarios and possible outcomes.
3. We are very analytical. Our lead attorney, Steven Riznyk, has a degree in biochemistry and genetics. His undergrad training taught his mind to function in a sequential and logical fashion. This method of thinking permeates our law firm. We are able to analyze both the macro and micro aspects of your case while taking into consideration its many simultaneous layers: this takes place continuously. This is what you need; a civil case is a multi-dimensional entity that needs to be understood from all angles and perspectives if winning is the goal.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE APPELLATE PROCESS?
PREFACE: The person filing the appeal is the appellant, and the person defending an appeal is an appellee.
NOTICE OF APPEAL
The case begins with a Notice of Appeal. There is always a deadline with appeals; the timeline, or fuse, as we like to call it, is short, and is usually in the 30-day range. The Notice of Appeal must be filed within that time period or it will not be considered.
DESIGNATION OF RECORD
The record designation refers to the process by which aspects of the trial-level case that are important for the appeal are chosen. Again, this aspect of the appeal has a timeline attached. Strategically, bringing in too much is not effective as it is overwhelming. Bringing in too little can be fatal; just enough to make your point is perfect.
This is the aspect of the appeal we enjoy the most. This is where we get to make a case for the error that was conducted, and we get to prove your position. There are three documents involved in the aspect:
a. If your side is the one filing the appeal, we have the Opening Brief (the long one) that makes the case.
b. Appellee’s or Respondent’s Brief. This is where the other side responds to, and attacks your arguments. If you had an appeal filed against you and we are responding, this is where the heart of our argument takes place.
c. Reply Brief. This is the last document of the three and is where the appellant responds to the attacks in the appellee’s brief.
The oral argument is very strict in terms of the time available. In a recent federal appeal, there was a time limit of 20 minutes. We would have to fly halfway across the country and have our argument down to 20 minutes, or if split (ie for counter-argument) so that in total it did not exceed this time limit; it requires a lot of rehearsal.
The justices can ask the attorney a question about any aspect of the case and there can often be hundreds and sometimes thousands of pages in the record; the preparation for this aspect is very time-intensive. An oral argument is not always required, and sometimes the court is of the opinion that the written document has enough information without the need for an oral argument.
At this stage, there are also three possible outcomes: affirmance, modification, or reversal.
Affirmance: Nothing changes. The court did not find any reversible error; the ruling from the lower court stands. This is the worst-case scenario for someone who is the one filing the appeal.
Modification: Here the court can correct the error or send it to the lower court to correct the error.
Reversal: If the appellate court finds that there was a prejudicial error, it can partially or completely reverse the trial court order. This would be the best outcome for the person filing the appeal.
PETITION FOR REHEARING
Errors can occur at the appellate stage as well. If the decision has not dealt with specific law or facts that were critical, then the non-prevailing party can petition the appellate court to reconsider its decision.
Once the appellate decision is final, the case is moved back to where it started, and the lower court and the document used to do this is a remittitur (ie think the word ‘remit’). At this point, the appeal is over and the lower court proceedings resume.
Call now and receive a free high-level consultation for cases with $250,000 or more at risk. (619) 793-4827.