Every time a trial comes to an end, there is inevitably one party that is left feeling as though justice simply was not done. As a result, difficult questions of whether or not to pursue an appeal are likely to arise. The truth of the matter is that appealing a trial outcome can be a lengthy, complex and costly process that should not be undertaken lightly. The key to determining the proper course of action once a trial has concluded is to engage in a detailed assessment of the pros and cons involved, doing so in consultation with an experienced attorney who understands both the risks and possible rewards of filing an appeal. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is prepared to assist clients with the difficult choices presented at every stage of litigation in order to safeguard their interests as well as maximize their potential recovery.
Appeals Process in Colorado
By filing a motion for relief pursuant to Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (C.R.C.P.) 59, a party to a lower court lawsuit may request that the judge order a new trial due to an alleged legal error committed by the trial judge or one of the parties. A motion filed pursuant to C.R.C.P. 60 is essentially a request that the verdict be overturned as a result of some type of factual mistake, impropriety or fraud on the part of one of the litigants. It should be noted, though, that prior filing of one of these motions is not necessary for the case to be appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
A Notice of Appeal is required to be filed in the Court of Appeals within 45 days of the issuance of a civil judgment if the right to an appeal is to be retained. The Notice needs to contain enough detail as to give the Court insight into the type of case being appealed, the identities of the parties, the lower court judge, and the like. At a later date, the parties will be required to submit appellate briefs to the Court of Appeals which articulate the facts of the case at issue and the legal positions and arguments of the parties. Oral arguments may be permitted before the Appeals Court, but even if they are not, the Court will eventually render an opinion in which the requested relief is granted or the lower court's decision is permitted to stand.
Key Considerations Concerning Appeals
Losing parties in litigation often operate under the assumption that an appeal is essentially a second bite at the apple. While it is certainly true that errors in the lower court may provide an opportunity to reverse an undesirable outcome, litigants must be aware of the fact that appeals courts generally defer in large part to the decisions made below. The appeal is designed to review errors of law or other abuses, not the facts or credibility of trial witnesses. The appealing party must concentrate on showing how and why the lower court misapplied the law, something which can be an uphill battle.
Another vital consideration in determining whether to appeal an unfavorable verdict is the fact that the process of doing so can be incredibly protracted, not to mention expensive. Though this should not necessarily deter litigants who did in fact experience a miscarriage of justice in the lower court, it should give pause to those who are motivated simply by a desire to secure a larger damage award. A comprehensive cost/benefit analysis conducted with the advise of a seasoned attorney is often the only way to asses the wisdom of proceeding with an appeal.
Guiding Clients Through Every Stage of Litigation
Though it may seem an obvious proposition, the best way to avoid the need to consider an appeal is to devote substantial attention and resources to prevailing in settlement negotiations or at trial in a lower court. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is committed to providing personal injury victims with the client service and legal advocacy they deserve, always with an eye toward obtaining maximum compensation for the harm sustained. To begin the process of seeking justice in your case, contact us at 303.825.2223.