Appellate Attorneys - Avoiding Major Pitfalls after You Lost Your Case

Posted on 23 March, 2015 at 15:00

As an appellate attorney, all too often I get telephone calls from a litigant who wants to appeal an adverse decision. In a perfect world, all these calls would be simple. A potential client will call and will have preserved his or her appellate rights. Unfortunately, more often than not, this is not the case. 


In almost all instances in New York, a Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days after Notice of Entry has been served. (As with all things, there are some exceptions which can shorten this deadline). If this document is not filed properly, a litigant loses his or her right to appeal. This is a hard and fast deadline. Unlike in other areas of life, this deadline cannot be ignored if you want to pursue an appeal. 


The excuses offered for not filing the Notice of Appeal by potential appellants are ample. The ones I most often hear are as follows: “I just couldn’t afford to appeal it at the time, but now I can;” “After the loss, I just wasn’t emotionally ready to pursue the appeal, but now I’m ready;” “I had no idea that I had to file anything;” and of course, my favorite non-excuse “I’m not worried about it. I’ve been in business for over 20 years and no one is going to hold you to such a tight deadline.”


As an appellate attorney, these excuses are not valid excuses for not filing your Notice of Appeal. If this was your reasoning for not pursuing your appeal within the statutory time frame, you have lost your right to appeal. Courts do not care about your state of mind. Courts do not care that you couldn’t afford to hire counsel at the time. They will tell you that you could have pursued the matter pro se. Courts do not care that you did not know that you had file papers. They will tell you that it is your responsibility to know. 


Another major hurdle in an appeal is the appellant who files the Notice of Appeal and now has to perfect the appeal by tomorrow. Upon filing the Notice of Appeal in New York, an appellant has either 6 months or 9 months to perfect an appeal. This depends on which department the appeal is being perfected. The reason that you are given months to perfect the appeal is that it takes months to perfect an appeal. No appellate attorney can file papers in one day. No appellate attorney can make a motion for more time in one day. If you wait until the day before you are required to perfect an appeal to contact appellate attorneys, you will miss the deadline to perfect your appeal and will lose your right to appeal your case. 


If you do want to proceed with an appeal, you need to make sure you do two things: (1) file and serve your Notice of Appeal within the prescribed deadline: and (2) seek appellate counsel immediately so that your appellate attorney has ample time to perfect the appeal. 


Written by:   Alexandra Siskopoulos, Esq. 

Telephone:   (646) 942-1798 

Email:           [email protected] 


If you have a civil appeal or criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.

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Categories: Appellate Attorneys