Should You Appeal?

Parties are motivated to appeal for various reasons, often a combination of personal and financial considerations depending on the nature of the dispute. The decision whether to appeal should also take into account the likelihood of success given the different standards that apply on appeal. 

For instance, while issues such as whether a witness was truthful, the judge was biased, or trial counsel was competent can be important to the outcome of the trial court proceeding, they ordinarily have little to do with the likelihood of success on appeal. The court of appeals does not weigh evidence or credibility, and it defers to the trial court's discretion on most types of rulings a trial court makes. In addition, deciding whether to appeal should always include consideration of the costs of an appeal (emotional and financial). 

Experienced appellate counsel can help decide whether an appeal is worthwhile at the outset, before incurring significant expense.

Is Your Appellate Counsel an Effective Advocate?

An effective advocate knows that exaggeration or hyperbole can be counterproductive.  This proved true in a recent appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  

In this case, the plaintiff argued that she was an "occupant" of a vehicle insured by State Farm when she sustained injuries after landing on its hood.  State Farm's appellate counsel called this argument "ridiculous."  In accepting the plaintiff's argument, the appellate court chastized the attorney for characterizing the argument in this way:  
There are good reasons not to call an opponent's argument "ridiculous," which is what State Farm calls Barbara Bennett's principal argument here.  The reasons include civility; the near-certainty that overstatement will only push the reader away (especially when, as here, the hyperbole begins on page one of the brief); and that, even where the record supports an extreme modifier, "the better practice is usually to lay out the facts and let the court reach its own conclusions."  ...  But here the biggest reason is more simple: the argument that State Farm derides as ridiculous is instead correct.
When selecting appellate counsel, find out about his or her style of advocacy.  Exaggeration or hyperbole can annoy the court and negatively impact your case.

Read the entire Sixth Circuit opinion here.