When a jury enters a courtroom to deliver a verdict, it is very stressful. The party bringing the lawsuit is counting on the jury to give him or her justice, which often means a monetary award of some kind. Usually, the plaintiff desperately needs that money, as he or she may have been unable to work, may need certain equipment, like a wheelchair or hospital bed, or may need medical treatment. Sometimes the jury decides not to make an award for the party bringing the lawsuit. That party feels shock and disbelief, which often turns to fear. How will the party bringing the lawsuit take care of the problems that he counted on the jury to fix?
That is where you need a skilled attorney to help you. Not every verdict is final, and certainly, not every verdict is correct. Civil trials are complicated. There are lots of documents and witnesses. The judge may have made a mistake in letting certain evidence in or refusing to let certain evidence in. The judge may have given the jury instructions at the end of the trial that did not accurately reflect the law. One of the witnesses may have blurted out something that the judge instructed the parties not to bring out in testimony. There are many grounds for attacking a decision of a judge or a jury, many of them quite technical, which only an experienced appellate lawyer may be aware of.
If you think that any of these circumstances may apply to a trial involving you or a loved one, you need an experienced Massachusetts civil appeals attorney. An appellate attorney must be capable of navigating the complex and intricate appeals process and capable of analyzing and skillfully writing an appellate brief that summarizes your case and the law. The KJC Law Firm Worcester and Boston civil appeals attorneys are skilled, trained, and tenacious advocates with proven records in state and federal courts.
Here are some questions our clients often have about appeals:
- What is a civil appeal?
A civil appeal is a request to a higher court to review the decision of a lower court. An appeal is initiated by the filing of a notice of appeal. You have only 30 days to appeal a civil judgment, so time is of the essence if you intend to file an appeal.
- What happens after the filing of the notice of appeal?
After the filing of the notice of appeal, your attorney will file a document called a “brief” that sets out all of the errors that you believe caused the judge or jury to find you against you. The brief will include a detailed summary of the facts and arguments made by your attorney that are supported by extensive research into the state and/or federal law. The court where the brief is filed, typically the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court or the First Circuit Court of Appeals will review the brief prepared by your attorney, and it will review the brief prepared by the other party’s attorney, along with the trial transcript and other documents relevant to your claims. Your attorney can request oral argument on the appeal, and the court frequently allows it. The oral arguments have short time limits. Thus, the arguments must be well thought out and flawlessly executed. Your attorney must also be prepared to answer questions on the spot. Sometimes, the court does not want to hear the prepared argument, but instead has questions about specific issues. This is a job to be performed by skilled advocates.
- What are some common grounds for an appeal?
Common grounds for a civil appeal include errors of law during the trial, such as, denying objections made to certain evidence and/or to the testimony of certain witnesses, errors in allowing a juror that is plainly biased to serve, and errors in jury instructions.
If you or someone you know believes that a judge or jury made a decision that was wrong, you should contact the KJC Law Firm today to discuss your case. The appellate lawyers at KJC Law Firm have more than 125 years of experience litigating major cases. We have the resources to investigate and prepare your appeal. KJC Law Firm represents people from communities across Massachusetts, including the Greater Boston area, Cambridge, MetroWest, Worcester, Springfield, Cape Cod, Fall River and Lowell.