In litigation, like life, there are winners and losers. If you lose your case, you have the option of filing an appeal. There are two types of appeals: interlocutory appeals, and appeals as of right. The first type involves the situation where the entire case is not resolved, but the court has made a decision as to one aspect of the case. For example, you fell on ice in the parking lot in the shopping center. You sue the shopping center owner, the maintenance company and the security company.
The security company files a motion to dismiss the case, only as to the security company, which is granted. You want to appeal that decision. You can either wait until the rest of the case is decided by the court, or you can move for leave to appeal. In a motion for leave to appeal, you are telling the appellate court that there is some special reason why your appeal should not wait until the end of the case. For example, there may be some major public policy reason why the court should decide your interlocutory appeal. Motions for leave to appeal are not granted often. You have 20 days from service of the order to be appealed, to file the motion for leave to appeal. The court generally does not permit oral argument on a motion for leave to appeal.
If you choose to wait until the court or jury rendered a final determination of your case, then you have 45 days from entry of the final judgment or order to file a notice of appeal. The Appellate Division may then enter a scheduling order setting forth when your brief and appendix (trial court record) must be filed with the court. Otherwise, the filing deadlines are as stated in the court rules. The other party to your case may also file a brief and appendix. The Appellate Division may or may not order oral argument of the appeal. There is also a settlement program within the Appellate Division in which retired judges attempt to aid the parties to resolve their issues without incurring the full cost of the
appeal. Appealing properly requires a great deal of attorney time and can be costly. Among other things, the appellant must pay for the preparation of the trial court transcripts, which must be filed with the appeal. Mr. Whelan, a former New Jersey Appellate Division law clerk,is pleased to answer your questions about the appeals process.