By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a NJ Appeal Lawyer

Read these several questions and ask yourself about the merits of filing an appeal from a lower court decision: It may save you a lot of time and money!

Are the Findings of Fact Supported by Substantial Credible Evidence?

If a trial court judge has made findings of fact, then the general rule is that these are binding on appeal when supported by adequate, substantial, credible evidence.” This means that if the motion or trial judge reviewed exhibits or case information statements and then made specific findings of fact, or if a judge holds a plenary hearing and takes into account the credibility of the witnesses when giving their testimony, the appellate division will be bound by the judge’s findings. The role of the appellate division is not to re-try the case or rehear the motion de-novo on appeal when they don’t have the benefit of hearing the witnesses and reviewing the exhibits.

In Any Discretionary Decision, Was the Trial Judge Reasonable?

Another main reason that frequently causes an appeal is whether the judge abused their discretion in deciding a particular matter. Judges have considerable power to exercise their discretion in how to equitably decide a case and balance the fairness and best interests of the parties. Discretionary decisions come into play in the amount of damages, awards or how to allocate assets during business litigation cases. Another example of this frequently seen in post-judgment motion practice is the allocation of counsel fees, which is entirely at the discretion of the judge. The applicable standard of review by the appellate division in discretionary abuse of judicial power is whether the allocation falls within a reasonable exercise of the trial judge’s discretion.

Conclusion

The purpose of this brief guide is to highlight some of the questions that need to be considered when deciding whether to appeal a case. If you can answer “no” to the two previous questions then your chances of prevailing on appeal may be better than you think. This brief discussion of appellate practice does not cover all the grounds for appeal e.g. when the judge erred in his interpretation of the law. An experienced appellate attorney should be consulted to review the unique facts of any case and provide legal advice on the merits of an appeal.

Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey appeals matter. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.