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Appellate Procedures for Plaintiffs Unhappy With the Result at Trial

If you have endured months or years of preparation and anticipation only to receive a trial verdict in favor of your opponent, you have options. As our Ft. Lauderdale appellate attorneys will explain, the fight is not over until you have exhausted all avenues for relief.

We can help you navigate the state and federal appellate systems if you are ready to appeal your verdict. Not only will our attorneys utilize their strong research and brief writing abilities on your behalf, but we can put our exceptional oral skills to work by aggressively advocating your position in oral argument.

Remember, there is just a brief period of time within which the aggrieved party can initiate an appeal before the right is considered waived, so contact Michael L. Feinstein, P.A. right away.

Understanding an Appeal Versus a Trial

The trial and appellate court system represent two very different sets of laws and procedures. At a trial, both sides are able to introduce unlimited relevant evidence to support the assertion that each respective litigant has the correct position on the matter. In a negligence trial, for instance, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant breached a duty of care, resulting in physical or financial harm.

The defendant may also present evidence (e.g., witness testimony, expert opinions) to rebut the plaintiff’s position. In the end, the judge or jury renders its verdict based on whether it believes the defendant’s conduct meets the pre-determined definition of negligence.

At the appellate level, there is (generally) no new evidence introduced. The judges who review trial orders are limited by the transcripts and evidence presented at the trial level. Appellate attorneys are also limited in that their only two opportunities to advocate for their client is via a well-reasoned appellate brief and a subsequent oral argument, which is usually only 15 minutes in length.

Appealing Your Florida Verdict

If you just endured a trial in a county or circuit trial court, your first appellate option is to the District Court of Appeal. In Florida, the appeals courts are sectioned into five districts, and the Ft. Lauderdale court is situated in the Fourth District Court of Appeal (serving Palm Beach County, Broward County, St. Lucie County, Martin County, Indian River County, and Okeechobee County).

If the Fourth District Court of Appeal does not rule in your favor, your last state court option is the Florida Supreme Court which accepts cases for review on a discretionary basis. Generally, the Florida Supreme Court grants a writ of certiorari in cases involving constitutional questions or the express validity of state statutes. The Florida Supreme Court also has the mandatory duty to review any criminal case wherein the defendant was sentenced to death.

Federal Appellate Review

If your trial occurred in the U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central, or Southern District of Florida, your first appellate option is to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The Fifth Circuit hears both criminal and civil appeals arising out of U.S. District Courts in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. From there, your final option is to seek redress from the U.S. Supreme Court, which grants a writ of certiorari for just one percent of cases filed.

Contact Michael L. Feinstein, P.A. Today!

If you are considering appealing your case, don’t delay! In most instances, litigants have just 30 days from the date the order is entered to initiate the appeals process. To get started, call us today at (954) 767-9662.