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Important differences between trials and appeals

| Jan 19, 2021 | Business Law And Litigation |

It can be a big decision for a California business to take a civil legal claim to court. After weighing its options and evaluating its evidence, it may decide that filing a lawsuit is the best way to right the wrongs that have been committed against them. When a case goes to trial, it may be settled by the parties out of court, or it may go through to a judgment by the court.

When a court decides a legal case, there will inevitably be one happy party and one unhappy party. A party that loses their case at trial may want a second pair of eyes to review the matter or another chance to have their arguments heard. Appeals are an avenue for review of trial decisions and businesses may elect to take their losses to the appeals courts for review.

What happens during an appeal?

It is important that readers understand that an appeal to an appeals court does not mean that a claim will be reargued before a new judge. Rather, on appeal the court will take the evidence and arguments made at trial and review them for mistakes in the lower court’s application of the law. The parties may offer the judges of the appeals court persuasive briefs of papers that explain why they believe the lower court erred or was correct in its application of the relevant laws.

What outcomes are possible after an appeal?

When an appeals court reviews a trial court’s decision, it can do several things. It can agree that a mistake was made and send a matter back to the trial level for review or correction. It can also side with the prevailing party from the trial court and issue a finding that no errors were made. When a party loses at the appellate level, they may appeal their matter to a higher court which will depend on whether their matter is a state or federal case.

Appeals can be an important part of the legal process for businesses. When considering the retention of counsel for legal matters, it is a good idea for businesses to secure representation that manages the skilled work of appeals. This post offers no legal advice and should not be read as case-specific guidance.