Indiana’s trial courts issue tens of thousands of final orders. Over the years, we have observed three common ways individuals who want to challenge the trial court’s ruling in the Indiana Court of Appeals have inadvertently waived this right. Don’t let this be your case if you want to appeal what you believe is a wrong order and seek reversal. This blog post identifies and explains common mistakes.
Procrastination or lack of awareness of timelines. The decision to appeal or not to appeal is a vexing one for many reasons; you or your trial counsel may understand. All sorts of things run through litigants’ (and attorneys’) minds. Cost? Will I win? What can I appeal? Can I live with it? Do I need another attorney? What if I lose? During this process, time is running. You have thirty days to file an appeal and, with limited exceptions in criminal cases, failing to file the Notice of Appeal in civil litigation forfeits the appeal. So acting immediately upon receiving an adverse ruling is important.
Filing a Motion to Reconsider. A motion to reconsider is not the same as a Motion to Correct Errors. A motion to reconsider or similarly labeled motion will not extend the time to appeal. Whether it is granted or denied, normally the time for the appeal is still running—the thirty days. So making sure you are filing a Motion to Correct Error versus a Motion to Reconsider, while technical, may cause forfeiture of the appeal.
Trial Rule 60(B). This is a fairly technical rule, but sometimes a litigant or attorney may file a Trial Rule 60(B). This is almost always a mistake to preserve a right to appeal. Thus, if filing a Trial Rule 60(B) is necessary, it should almost always be done in conjunction with filing a Notice of Appeal.
Finding an attorney. Over the years, we have received dozens of calls from distressed litigants who have an appeal due in days, or tomorrow, or today. Few attorneys want to accept these cases because there is no time for proper appellate evaluation and perhaps the deadline has passed. Also, it limits litigants’ ability to find an appellate counsel capable of handling their case and limits choices from the appellate attorneys who may be a better fit because they are normally a busy group of attorneys.
We hope this blog post helps you avoid making a mistake to impair or forfeit your right to appeal. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handles appeals from all Indiana trial courts, including interlocutory appeals. This blog post is written as general educational material. This blog is neither specific legal advice nor a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.