Business relationships sometimes result in disputes that cannot be resolved without court intervention. While parties expect judges and juries to issue a sound ruling that comports with the evidence produced at trial and properly apply the law to those facts, sometimes the judge or the jury, or both, fail to accomplish that goal. And even a fair ruling might be appealed by the losing party. Many attorneys have no experience handling appeals, though, and mistakes caused by inexperience can harm a party’s chance of success, whether they are defending or prosecuting an appeal. The Atlanta business litigation lawyers of Poole Huffman maintain an extensive appellate practice, and if you wish to pursue or oppose an appeal, we have the skills and experience needed to help you seek the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. We regularly represent parties in appeals in metro Atlanta, Decatur, and throughout Georgia.Grounds for Seeking an Appeal
In litigation, one party will often be dissatisfied with the end result, but that alone does not give a right to file an appeal. Instead, under Georgia law, the appealing party must demonstrate that a legal basis exists for overturning the judgment in question. For example, if the judge made an error of law, such as applying the incorrect standard for determining the merits of a claim, the judge’s ruling may be appealable. Similarly, if a judge had the authority to make a decision on a certain issue but abused their discretion by ruling in an illogical manner, it may be cause for an appeal as well. If the facts of a case or evidence presented at trial do not support a decision issued by a judge or jury, the party harmed by the unfavorable ruling can also usually file an appeal.The Appellate Process
Typically, appeals are filed after the court issues a final judgment. Any ruling that resolves a claim is considered a final judgment; therefore, it includes not only verdicts but also orders issued on Motions to Dismiss and Motions for Summary Judgment. In some instances, though, a party can file an interlocutory appeal, which is an appeal of an order other than a final judgment.
Under Georgia law, there are three different avenues to appellate jurisdiction. The first, direct appeals, are allowed from most final judgments and certain non-final judgments, as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 5-6-34(a). Direct appeals are commenced by filing a notice of appeal. The notice must be filed within 30 days after the court entered the judgment, order, or decision that is the subject of the appeal.
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 5-6-35, some final judgments cannot be directly appealed but require a party to file an application for discretionary appeal. The application must be filed within 30 days of the entry of the order being appealed and must set forth the errors to be assessed on appeal and why the court has jurisdiction. It must also include portions of the record the applicant deems appropriate to the appeal.
Finally, in cases involving non-final judgments that do not fall under § 5-6-34(a), the appellant must seek a certificate of immediate review from the trial court before filing an application for interlocutory appeal. The trial court has 10 days to determine whether the ruling or order qualifies for immediate review. If the trial court grants the certificate, the appealing party must file an application for interlocutory review with the appellate court within 10 days of when the certificate was issued, and the opposing party must file a response 10 days after the filing of the application, after which the appellate court will determine whether to allow an appeal. If the trial court refuses to grant the certificate of immediate review, the party must wait until the final disposition of the case to pursue any appeal.
There are strict deadlines for pursuing appeals, and the failure to act within the specified timeframe may result in a waiver of the right to seek relief. As such, it is vital for anyone considering an appeal to promptly contact an attorney who has a successful appellate practice.Meet With an Experienced Atlanta Attorney
Improperly supported verdicts and orders can have devastating consequences, but parties wronged by such outcomes can seek relief through appeals. Appeals present unique challenges that not all attorneys are equipped to handle, however. If you are interested in filing or fighting an appeal, it is crucial to retain an attorney with a dedicated appellate practice. The experienced Atlanta lawyers of Poole Huffman are proficient at navigating the complexities of the appellate process, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. We frequently represent parties in appeals in metro Atlanta, Decatur, and throughout Georgia. We also assist people with business disputes in cities throughout DeKalb, Cobb, Fulton, and Gwinnett Counties as well. You can reach us at 404-373-4008 or via our online form to set up a confidential and free meeting.