Massachusetts Civil Appeal and Post Judgment Relief Attorney
The term "civil appeal" generically describes several different pretrial and post-judgment challenges to trial court decisions. Attorney Driscoll handles post judgment relief in the various trial courts and appeals in the Massachusetts Appeals Court, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), and Supreme Court of the United States. He handles a broad range of legal matters from business and commercial appeals to Probate and Family Court appeals.
A civil appeal determines whether what occurred in the trial court was fair, whether the evidence was legally sufficient to justify the outcome, and whether the law was correctly interpreted and applied in the trial court. There are many mistakes, errors, and oversights that can occur during civil litigation. For example, a trial judge may incorrectly decide a critical motion, improperly admit or exclude evidence at trial, allow the jury to proceed where there is insufficient evidence to support a verdict, or fail to properly instruct the jury on the law.
Civil appeals are sensitive to procedure and time deadlines. Identifying viable issues for appeal and properly arguing your case to the appellate court is a task requiring appellate experience. If the case is worth the time and expense of an appeal then it is worth engaging experienced appellate counsel.
A civil interlocutory appeal challenges a court decision made before a final judgment is rendered. Either the plaintiff or the defendant may pursue an interlocutory appeal to challenge the granting or denial of a motion. But the application deadline is short, hard, and unforgiving. Litigation is halted while the appeal is ongoing in the appellate court.
A civil direct appeal challenges a final judgment after trial. A direct appeal is initiated with the timely filing of a notice of appeal. The issues being challenged come the entire civil litigation record, including interlocutory orders. There can be more to a civil appeal than what occurred during the trial or with post judgment motions.
If a federal issue is being raised on appeal, the Supreme Court of the United States is the court of last resort. For example, Attorney Driscoll sought judicial review in the United States Supreme Court by filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the case of Commonwealth v. Suriel, 91 Mass. App. Ct. 604, (2017), review denied, 477 Mass. 1110 (2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 484 (2017). The federal issue presented was whether a passenger's the federal Constitutional rights are violated when the police stop a motor vehicle solely to verify the passenger's firearm license status.
Post Judgment Relief
Post judgment relief can be obtained in many ways. But there are usually very short deadlines that apply, delay denotes waiver. Examples include a motion for stay of judgment pending appeal, a motion to alter or amend the trial findings or judgment, a motion for a new trial, and a motion for relief from judgment. Post judgment motions are first addressed in the trial court and can be critical for the development of an appeal.