Sometimes, for a wide array of reasons, it may be necessary to appeal a judgment. Once the decision has been made to appeal a final judgment, you should mark your calendar for several deadlines. Miss any one of these deadlines, and it may be fatal to your appeal, so it’s important to ensure compliance with every deadline.
Entry of Final Judgment – Filing a Notice of Appeal:
Once a judgment has been rendered, you must make sure to await entry of the judgment into the record. Once final judgment is entered, you have 30 days in which to file a Notice of Appeal. Second, besides “entry,” the other operative word here in “final.” In Arkansas for example, while it is possible to file an interlocutory appeal, the topic of “finality” is reserved for a specific blog for next week. When filing your Notice of Appeal, ensure that it contains the requisite information included in Rule 3(e) of the Arkansas Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Order the Transcript:
Simultaneous with preparing the Notice of Appeal for filing, you must contact the court reporter to order the entire transcript from the hearing or trial (if your appeal is more targeted, you may order only the relevant parts of the transcript). You must also make arrangements with the court reporter to provide payment for the transcription services you are ordering.
Call the Circuit Clerk to notify them of the appeal:
Simultaneous with preparing the Notice of Appeal for filing and contacting the court reporter, you must also contact the circuit clerk (if your case is being appealed from circuit court – if your case is being appealed from district court, county court, or another inferior court in the state, contact me for details on appealing adverse rulings from those courts). The clerk will then prepare the official record, which will be lodged with the appellate court. This must be done within 90 days of the filing of the Notice of Appeal. Otherwise, you must request and obtain an extension.
Appeal — Where taken
Once you have complied with the three steps discussed above, you must also decide whether to appeal the case to the Arkansas Court of Appeals or to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Depending upon the type of case, that decision will probably already be made for you. However, if you have a case that could be a case of “first impression” for the court, it is possible to appeal directly to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Consult the Arkansas Rules of Appellate Procedure for specifics.
For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in wrongful death cases for years.