Appellate Law

Moneymaker & Stewart, LLP pursues and defends against appeals to the California Courts of Appeal, the Supreme Court of California, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We represent clients in appeals even if we did not serve as counsel in the underlying litigation.

If you lost your case at the trial court level, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. If you won your case but failed to achieve an important litigation objective, you do not have to be satisfied with that either. By filing an appeal, you can ask a higher court to undo some or all of the lower court’s judgment. It is not uncommon for a higher court to reverse a lower one, and many landmark decisions by appellate courts—including some that affect our everyday lives—only exist because a party refused to give up fighting after an initial loss.

If you are happy with the result you obtained in trial court and the other side has filed a notice of appeal, it is important to retain a competent appellate lawyer to protect the result you fought so hard to obtain in the first place.

A party’s success in an appeal is almost entirely dependent on the strength of the written briefs submitted to the court. For that reason, appellate lawyers must possess exemplary writing skill, review the trial court record meticulously, thoroughly research the pertinent legal issues, and craft convincing legal arguments. Our law firm excels in these areas and takes pride in producing briefs that stand out to appellate court justices.

The appellate process is costly and takes a long time—sometimes years—to complete. Costs can range from tens of thousands of dollars for the simplest one-issue appeals, to hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex appeals involving multiple issues, difficult or novel legal questions, or voluminous trial court records. In addition to time and money considerations, not every case is worthy of appeal from a legal standpoint. This could be because the trial court’s judgment is correct according to legal precedent, or because the appealing party cannot meet the “standard of review” on appeal—the burden of proof—which in some cases is extremely high.

A knowledgeable appellate lawyer will be able to work through all of these issues with you. Our law firm promises a thorough and honest evaluation of your case and will advise you on whether filing an appeal is in your best interest. If there is a reasonable chance of success, we will tell you. If there isn’t, we will tell you that too.

Note that in California state court, the deadline to file a notice of appeal is 60 days after you were lawfully served with a judgment titled “Notice of Entry”, or 180 days after judgment was entered (whichever is earlier). See Cal. Rule of Court 8.104(a)(1). If a party files a timely motion for a new trial, to vacate the judgment, or for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, new deadlines apply which vary according to the success or failure of those motions. See Cal. Rule of Court 8.108. In federal court, the deadline to file a notice of appeal is 30 days after the judgment or order was entered. See Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1).

These deadlines are mandatory and jurisdictional, meaning appellate courts lack authority to hear appeals noticed after those dates and will summarily reject late filings with few exceptions.

Please contact us if you are considering filing an appeal or have been served with a notice of appeal by your adversary. It would be our privilege to represent you.

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