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Five Things to Know...About Your Civil Appeal in Wisconsin

Posted on in Appeals

By: Kathryn A. Keppel

GavelDo you think your civil case is appropriate for a civil appeal. Here are five things to think about before you file in the State of Wisconsin.

1. Not every order is appealable - You cannot appeal until there is a "final" order or judgment in your case. To be final, an order or judgment must dispose of the entire matter in litigation between you and the opposing parties.

2. You cannot appeal an oral ruling - To be appealable, an order or judgment must be in writing and entered in the court docket.

3. The 45/90 Day Rule - The deadline to appeal is 90 days from entry of the final order or judgment; HOWEVER, if your opponent issues a documents a notice of entry of judgment, the deadline is cut to 45 days.

4. Appellate deadlines are jurisdictional - A notice of appeal must be in the hands of the clerk of court in the county where your case was heard by the deadline. It is not enough to mail the document on the deadline. Therefore, a decision to appeal must be made to allow your lawyer sufficient time to prepare the documents and get them to the courthouse on time.

5. Should you appeal? - The decision of whether to appeal depends in large part on the standard of review. Appellate courts review cases under different standards, depending on the issues presented.Constitutional issues are almost always reviewed de novo (from scratch), which is most favorable to the appellant. Appeals that are fact based are most often reviewed under discretion of the trial court standard, meaning that if there is any legal and factual basis for the trial court's ruling, the appellate court will let it stand.

In addition to these five tips, there are a few other things to keep in mind if you are planning to file a civil appeal:

If the deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the notice is due the next business day. NOTE: Just because your office is closed for a Monday holiday or the day after Thanksgiving doesn't mean the clerk's office is closed. In a 1999 decision, an appeal was dismissed because the appellant did not know the clerk's office was open on President's Day.

Minutes Matter - If you arrive at the clerk's office after the office closes for the day, you're out of luck. In one case, a person lost his appeal because his notice was delivered at 5:15 p.m., fifteen minutes after the clerk's office's closing time.

Different rules apply to different types of cases.These rules and deadlines are for civil cases. Other rules apply in criminal cases and in cases where there may be a series of orders, such as family law cases and probate cases.

An experienced appellate attorney will be able to explain the appellate process and help you to decide if you should appeal. For more information contact one of the lawyers atGimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP to discuss your case.

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