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When can you appeal a civil judgment?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2021 | Business Litigation |

As a business owner or executive, you may pay closer attention to published accounts of litigation against companies within your industry in California. Often, when those companies come out on the losing end of court rulings, the accompanying civil judgments prove so financially burdensome that they never recover.

Thus, one can understand your fears of facing a similar scenario. Should the result of a civil case impose a hefty judgment against you, your first thought likely will be to appeal the ruling. The question then becomes whether you can.

Appealing a civil ruling

Like many people, you might assume that the right to appeal a court decision is automatically inherent in any case. Yet that assumption is not correct. You cannot appeal a ruling simply because you disagree with it. Rather, there must be legitimate grounds for an appeal.

When would such grounds exist? Only when a clear and apparent violation of your rights or procedural rules occurred. Given that the judge adjudicating your matter maintains the responsibility of ensuring that such violations do not occur, a grounds for appeal often ties directly back to their actions. Some common examples may include:

  • Applying an incorrect rule or legal standard to your case
  • When a ruling appears blatantly out of line with the evidence presented at trial
  • If the judge abused their discretion

Delaying the execution of a judgment

An important point to remember, however, is that appealing a civil ruling does not place an automatic stay on the execution of any judgment imposed. Rather, according to information shared by the American Bar Association, you must also file a supersedeas bond. Such a bond essentially offers up the promise that you will pay the judgment should the result of your appeal not reverse it.


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