Appeals can be sought when a Court has issued its final order and/or when a decision has been certified for interlocutory appeal. The nuances of when an appeal can be filed and what types of orders can be appealed have been explored in previous blog posts.
Once an appeal is filed and the process has concluded, there may still be a pending issue-namely, appellate costs. These are separate from attorney fees. To recover attorney fees, a party must show that the appeal was frivolous or brought in bad fait1. However, the burden and process to recover costs is a different one altogether.
There are several costs included throughout the course of perfecting an appeal. For example, there is a filing fee that must be paid simultaneously with the filing of a Notice of Appeal. There is also a cost for the trial court reporter to prepare the transcript of the underlying trial court proceedings. Depending on the number of days of the trial and exhibits used, transcripts can be costly, and often require a deposit before work can begin on them.
Therefore, the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure have provided for recovery of these costs associated with appeals. Namely, the Rules specify the costs that shall be recovered, including the filing fee, cost of preparing the record on appeal, and postage expenses for service of documents with the Clerk of the Court of Appeals2.
In order to recover these costs, the proper party must motion (by filing) the Court within sixty (60) days after the final decision of the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court3. The proper party differs depending of the decision of the Court of Appeals. If the trial court judgment/order is affirmed (upheld) in whole, the appellee (person against whom the appeal was brought) may recover costs. If the trial court judgment/order is reversed in whole, the appellant (the person who brought the appeal) may recover costs4.
However, there are some limitations on cost recovery. For example, if the trial court’s decision is affirmed in part and reversed in part, it is within the Court’s discretion to award costs to either party. Also, costs against a governmental organization shall be imposed only to the extent permitted by law. Neither party shall be awarded costs when Supreme Court justices participating in the appeal are equally divided5.
There are several limitations and variables to recovering appellate costs. However, if you have prevailed on appeal, you may be entitled to same. Knowing that costs may be available to recoup can help ease the financial burden of perfecting an appeal. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney regarding these costs at the conclusion of an appeal.
We hope that this blog post has been informative regarding appellate costs. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.