Even though there may be multiple parties involved as plaintiff and defendant to a lawsuit, the fact that there are generally two sides in litigation means that one will be unhappy with the result. In some cases, you may be disappointed in the result, but you gain closure and move on. However, when critical errors were the reason for an adverse outcome, you certainly want to seek justice. As you might be aware, your legal recourse in such a situation is filing an appeal with the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Still, there is a lot of confusion about how appeals work in civil cases. Unless you have a legal background, you may not know when you can pursue this remedy, what transpires during the proceedings, and the types of relief you can obtain. As such, it is crucial to retain a North Carolina appellate practice attorney for assistance with your case. In addition, you might gain some perspective by reviewing some answers to frequently asked questions about appeals cases.
What issues can be raised on appeal? The North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure require that you have specific grounds for appeal, which means you need to establish that the court made a legal error by issuing a decision. The point of the appellate process is to resolve mistakes that occur due misapplication of the law to the facts; appeals do not re-try the case or address questions of fact.
Who are the parties to a North Carolina appellate case? Instead of plaintiff and defendant, the parties are designated as appellant and appellee. When you are asking an appeal court to review a trial court order for errors, you are in the position of the appellant. You could be on the other side of an appeals case, as appellee, if you prevailed at trial and the other party wants to appeal the ruling.
What evidence will the appellate court consider? As mentioned, an appeal does not focus on questions of fact that were resolved at the trial level. The only “evidence” before the appellate judges is the trial transcript, which includes all testimony, documents, and other exhibits. You will not be allowed to present additional evidence that was not already considered by the trial court.
How does the process work? You initiate the appeals process by filing a Notice of Appeal, which includes basic information about the parties and trial court decision you allege was made in error. From there:
- The appellant will prepare a brief that includes specifics regarding the legal mistake and how it should be resolved, such as overturning an order and/or remanding the case for the trial court to correct.
- The appellee has the opportunity to contest the appellant’s position through a response brief.
- The appeals court may hold oral arguments for the parties to provide more in-depth information on their respective positions.
The appeals process concludes when the appellate judges issue an order granting or denying the appeal.
Are there other options for resolving errors? Yes, North Carolina allows Court of Appeals mediation. Through this process, the parties attempt to work out the appeals dispute by agreement.
A North Carolina Appellate Practice Attorney Can Provide Additional Answers
While this information may be helpful, you probably have many other questions about how appeals work in North Carolina. Our team at Mullen Holland & Cooper P.A. is experienced in appellate cases, so we can advise you on your options and represent you in connection with the proceedings. To learn more, please call 704.864.6751 or visit us online. We can schedule a consultation at our offices in Gastonia, NC. We serve clients throughout Western North Carolina in many types of appeals, and we look forward to working with you.