PRACTICE AREA

New Jersey Appeals Lawyer

appeal

While losing a court battle can be frustrating and disheartening, you don’t always have to accept an outcome that you believe is legally unsound. The appeals process gives you an opportunity to make your case to a different court, demonstrate why the judgment against you is incorrect, and demand what’s right.

In other situations, you may have achieved the desired outcome at the trial level, only to have your opponent appeal. If that is the case, you cannot just sit passively and hope for the best. You need to fight to uphold the just results obtained in the trial court.

But winning an appeal is generally more difficult than winning an initial trial. With so much at stake, you need an attorney who knows the appellate system inside and out.

attorneys reviewing documents

At the law firm of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, we have the experience, the skillset, and the track record of successful outcomes that you’re looking for as you consider appealing your case or defending an appeal. We handle all civil appeals, including family law matters and appeals of agency decisions in the Office of Administrative Law. We both prosecute appeals and defend against civil and family law appeals in the New Jersey Appellate Division and Supreme Court.

Our peers in the legal field trust our appeals lawyers to prosecute or defend cases that they handled at the trial level. Our New Jersey appeals lawyers have extensive experience handling interlocutory appeals and appeals from final judgments or orders, whether the case was decided on a motion or after trial.

Since our founding in 1929, our lawyers have fought for justice at the appellate level. We have extensive experience with appeals in both the state and federal systems, which makes us your ideal partner no matter what type of case you have. However long it takes, we will never stop fighting for your rights.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a New Jersey appeal lawyer from our firm.

Our NJ Appeals Lawyers Know Going to Court is Hardball

gavel and scales of justice

Going to court is hardball, and to get results, you need to be well-represented. You need a firm with a long history of successful appellate work. You need Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman.

Our history as a major name in appellate practice goes back a generation. In early 1948, six African-American men were found guilty of murdering an elderly white shopkeeper and were sentenced to death. Angered that the men had not received a fair trial, Ruth Rabstein took up the case and worked tirelessly on behalf of the “Trenton Six,” as they were now known in the press. Pellettieri & Rabstein joined the legal team that appealed the case to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which reversed the judgment and ordered that the case be retried. George Pellettieri, Sr. and Rabstein, served as defense attorneys alongside future U.S. Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall. Four of the defendants were acquitted in what became one of the landmark cases of the early Civil Rights Era, and this commitment to the idea of equal rights before the law remains a hallmark of our firm to this day.

Today, our New Jersey appeals lawyers have a combined total of 122 years of experience, with an individual average of 30 years of appellate practice. Our lengthy experience in this complex area of law increases the likelihood of success in our clients’ appellate matters.

appeal

Winning an appeal requires deep knowledge of trial and appellate rules and procedures, judicial precedents, and related case law. Appeals lawyers also need to work efficiently, as there are often strict deadlines and page limitations to follow. Our profound understanding of the special set of court rules that apply to appeals makes it cost effective to work with Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman.

The New Jersey appeals lawyers at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman are experts in the appellate standards of review that the court uses to evaluate cases on appeal. We are also experts in the methodology and unique style of writing appellate briefs required by the New Jersey Rules of Court.

appeal attorney

Our law firm has attorneys who clerked for Appellate Division judges. Our attorneys have also handled cases that resulted in numerous published opinions, and we have successfully overturned jury verdicts on appeal.

Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman has the resources to tackle even the most complex appeals. We have successfully represented individuals, businesses, and other groups in both appeals in state and federal courts, and we have won cases in both settings.

Beyond the considerable skills, experience, and resources our New Jersey appeals lawyers bring to the table, we also prioritize treating our clients with the respect and compassion they deserve.

125+

Published Supreme Court and Appellate Division Opinions

30

Attorney Average Years in Practice

Overturned Jury Verdicts

Appellate practice is a highly specialized area of the law. We are expert in it, which increases our clients’ chances of success. 

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What You Need to Know About Appeals

appeal

When appealing a decision from a trial-level court, you have to show how an error by the lower court or some other mistake in the judicial process led to a legally unsound judgment or order against you. In other words, appeals are generally not about relitigating the facts of a case. Unless you have newly discovered evidence to present, the goal is to show how the system failed you, not how the facts may have been misinterpreted. If you are defending an appeal, you must show that the trial court’s rulings were correct under the law.

Appeals of decisions from government agencies work a bit differently. These agencies often have broad discretion in how they go about their work, so an appeal usually involves showing how the agency in question abused its discretion.

However, decisions by government agencies can also be appealed if the agency did not perform a sufficient investigation or made a material error of fact. You may also be able to appeal a government agency’s decision if you can demonstrate how it was unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, or violated the intended legislative policy of whatever laws govern the agency.

An Overview of New Jersey’s Appellate Court System

united states court of appeals

An appeal after a judgment from a trial court begins with a notice of appeal once the final order or judgment has been issued. This notice must be served to all the parties who appeared in the case, as well as with the appropriate appeals court and the trial judge.

Generally speaking, the notice of appeal must be filed within 45 days of the date that a final judgment or order is issued.

Where you file an appeal depends on the type of case being appealed and what courts have already heard your case. New Jersey’s state court system is among the simplest in the country. At the lowest level are the municipal courts and tax courts. Above that is the Superior Court, which also contains the Appellate Division. At the top is the New Jersey Supreme Court, which is the highest appellate court at the state level. Litigants do not have a right to an automatic appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court selects which cases it agrees to hear – and that is a very small percentage.

appealed

If you are appealing a decision from a case in Municipal Court or Superior Court, you will file your appeal with the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. If your appeal is accepted, and you generally have a right to appeal to the Appellate Division, a panel of two or three judges will review the transcript of your case, any evidence you have submitted and the rulings of the trial judge. Your lawyer will also have a chance to argue your case before the Appellate Division panel.

If the Appellate Division rules against you, you can ask the New Jersey Supreme Court to hear your appeal. It is the only body that hears appeals on Appellate Division decisions, but it accepts only a tiny fraction of cases. If the state Supreme Court declines to hear your case or rules against you, that is usually the end of your case. In certain rare circumstances, you can submit your appeal to the United States Supreme Court, though it takes a very limited selection of cases.

person reviewing paperwork by laptop

Broadly speaking, there are four possible outcomes to an appeal:

  • The trial court’s decision is affirmed. The appeals court agrees with the lower court’s decision, leaving that decision in effect. The percentage of appellate matters that are affirmed is substantial.
  • The trial court’s decision is reversed. The appeals court finds that the lower court made one or more material errors that impacted the outcome of the case and reverses the judgment.
  • The trial court’s judgment is modified. The appeals court alters the trial court’s ruling in some way that neither affirms it nor reverses it entirely.
  • The case is sent back to the trial court. The appeals court orders a new trial, usually with instructions to the trial judge.

If the trial court’s decision is reversed, the party appealing the case has essentially won. Should the case be sent back to trial, you and your lawyers will need to prepare your strategy.

How Federal Appeals Work in New Jersey

appellate law

If you are appealing a decision made by a federal court in New Jersey, the process works a bit differently. Federal cases are heard in District Courts. When you appeal a District Court decision, you file it with the United States Court of Appeals that has jurisdiction in your case. There are 13 Courts of Appeal throughout the U.S., which are also known as Circuit Courts. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is the Circuit Court that has jurisdiction over federal cases in New Jersey.

If the Circuit Court rules against you and affirms the trial court’s decision, you may have the option to take your case to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the only entity with authority to overturn a decision from a Court of Appeals. However, the Supreme Court agrees to hear only a tiny fraction of federal cases, so there is little chance that court will take your case. If the Supreme Court does not take your case, the decision from the Circuit Court will stand.

About Administrative Appeals in New Jersey

appeals

Administrative cases cover a variety of issues, including those involving civil service, environmental regulation decisions, professional licensure, liquor licenses, permits, denial of benefits, government pensions, public education, and many other matters.

When someone disagrees with a decision made by a government agency, they can file an appeal with an administrative law judge (ALJ) and seek to have the decision overturned. Administrative appeals in New Jersey work similarly to other appeals, but there are a few key differences to remember:

  • Administrative appeals have different, more lax rules of use of evidence.
  • Administrative appeals are handled by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, which is not part of the judiciary but is instead an agency within the executive branch. It is, therefore, separate from the Superior Courts (specifically, the Appellate Division) that hear most appeals in New Jersey.

If the administrative law judge (ALJ) hears your case and rules against you, you can file an appeal first with the Commissioner of the government agency at issue, and then with the Appellate Division of the state Superior Courts. From here, the appeals process is essentially the same as with any other case heard in a state court.

Why You Need a New Jersey Appeals Attorney 

A legal judgment against you can have a broad range of consequences and put your future at risk. With so much on the line, you need an attorney who thoroughly understands the appeals process and can work within it to seek results.

Here are a few things an NJ appeals attorney can do for you:

File your appeal or respond to an opposing party’s appeal on time

You have only 45 days from the date of a state court judgment or order to file an appeal, and the deadline for some federal appeals may be even shorter than that. There is no time to waste, as you do not want to lose your opportunity by default.

Review the trial transcript and evidence

Most appeals turn on a legal error being made before or during the initial trial. For example, the plaintiff may have failed to produce vital evidence during the discovery process, or the judge may have ruled incorrectly on a legal issue or incorrectly charged the jury. An appeals attorney can dig through the facts of your case to find grounds to overturn that verdict or demand a retrial.

Argue your appeal

Your attorney may ask to appear before the appeals panel and make your case. Arguing before an appeals court is different from a typical trial, and you need an attorney who understands the procedures and arguments that will resonate with an appeals judge.

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Our Appeal NJ Lawyers Are Ready to Discuss Your Case

When you reach out to the appeals lawyers at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, we are prepared to:

  • Meet with you in person or on Zoom
  • Review all the pertinent documents related to your case
  • Discuss the differences between trial and appeal
  • Outline the appellate procedure and process
  • Provide an honest assessment of the likelihood of success
  • Review alternatives available to the appellate court in deciding your appeal
  • Evaluate the strength and weaknesses of your appeal
  • Discuss the potential for settlement via the Appellate Division Early Settlement Program
  • Provide details about cost and fee arrangements

Civil and administrative appeals require a lot of work and preparation that is best handled by an experienced appellate lawyer. The New Jersey appeals attorneys at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman are ready to fight for your rights.

Contact us today for a consultation.

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