Appeals

Our firm also handles appeals to the various Departments in the Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court in New York. Simply put, an appeal arises when a client has either lost or won at the lower, trial court level, and needs representation to reverse or affirm a trial court’s decision.

Civil Appeals can fall under numerous legal contexts. Appeals can arise under claims for breach of contract, fraud, matrimonial, commercial, or real estate to only name a few.  A civil appeal arising out of an Order in the New York State Courts can be brought before a final Order or decision is actually issued.  When an appeal is brought at that time, it is known as an interlocutory appeal.  The case may not yet be over, but decision on this type of appeal may be crucial to the resolution of the case for one or the other side of the litigation.

Appeals can come as a result of either a motion to dismiss, or a motion for summary judgment. Those types of motions dispose of a case as early as the pleadings stage, or after discovery but before the case gets to trial. An investment in an appeal may essentially be necessary if a litigant’s case is, in his/her view, prematurely disposed of before his/her day in Court. Alternatively, at the time an appeal is considered, serious thought should be given to giving up on the case due to the high cost of an appeal.

Cost: The cost of an appeal includes either a mere opposition to an adversary’s appeal and argument, or a full-blown appeal with the original appellate papers, and then reply papers after the adversary’s opposition. Attorney’s fees for either side of an appeal can range from $7,500 to $15,000 depending on the size of the matter. Fees can be more for very substantial matters, or multiple appeals within one filing. In addition to the attorneys’ fees, there is also an appellate printing cost for a professional to make the Record and print the required amount of papers. Such costs can be in the range of $1,500.

There are strict rules of filing appeals which must followed or suffer the risk of additional cost. A “Record” is created which typically is solely comprised of the papers that were offered to the lower court. No new facts are allowed to be introduced on an appeal and the Appellate Court will only look at those facts previously offered as the Court will make a decision on those facts, or adjudicate the lower court’s decision on those facts. The rules involve creating the Record, writing the briefs, and submitting all documentation in support of the appeal. The complexity of the appellate procedures can trip up lawyers and non-lawyers alike, and present obstacles to a successful appeal.

A July, 2014 manual for filing appeals can be found at: https://www.nysba.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=51233

Chances of winning: On average, the Appellate Courts find the lower courts do not err on their adjudication of the facts at first instance. However, Appellate Courts will reverse a lower court decision if they find, among other things, an abuse of discretion by the lower court, an unreasonable appraisal of facts, or a misinterpretation of the law.

Law Offices of Kupillas & Unger Appellate Attorneys file appeals from New York Supreme Court decisions. We serve the New York City five boroughs and the collar counties, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Kings, Bronx, Staten Island, New York counties, Long Island’s Nassau & Suffolk Counties, Westchester, Orange, Rockland and certain up-state New York counties.

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