Do you disagree with a decision made in your case by a judge or some other decision maker? Do you want to appeal that decision to a higher authority?

When a case is appealed, it is not usually retried and new evidence is generally not admitted. The purpose of an appeal is to review what was presented in the original trial to determine if rules and procedures were properly applied during the trial. If it is found that the trial was not conducted according to proper procedure, or that the evidence was not weighed correctly, or the jury was not instructed rightly, that judgment can be overturned and the trial court instructed accordingly.

Our firm is experienced and skilled at appealing civil and family law cases to the state and federal appellate courts of Florida.

Trial law and appellate law are very different, and it is important to retain an attorney who specializes in appellate law when seeking to appeal a judgment. Although it may seem most practical to retain your trial attorney to represent you in your appeal, because s/he knows the intimate details of your case, many trial attorneys do not completely understand the significance of the errors that may have occurred during your trial. An objective appellate attorney can increase the likelihood of a successful appeal.

At Open Palm, our attorneys specialize in appellate law, especially appeals regarding family law, civil, malpractice, and bankruptcy matters, areas on which we focus our practice.


We will thoroughly review the evidence and trial record, identifying mistakes made by trial counsel and/or the judge, and pinpointing relevant issues for appeal. Our knowledge of the appellate system, case law, and review standards will give you the best chance for an effective appeal.

There are five districts of the Court of Appeal in Florida. Your district will be assigned based on the county in which your case was heard at the trial court level. The Second DCA is located in Lakeland. There are now fourteen counties in the Second District: Pasco and Pinellas, Hardee, Highlands, Polk, DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota, Hillsborough, Charlotte, Glades, Collier, Hendry, and Lee.

The vast majority of trial court decisions that are appealed are reviewed by three-judge panels of the district courts of appeal. The district courts of appeal can hear appeals from final judgments and can review certain non-final orders. The district courts may also review final actions taken by state agencies in carrying out the duties of the executive branch of government. They may also issue the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus, as well as all other writs necessary to the complete exercise of their jurisdiction. As a general rule, decisions of the district courts of appeal represent the final appellate review of litigated cases. A person who is displeased with a district court’s express decision may ask for review in the Florida Supreme Court and then in the United States Supreme Court, but neither tribunal is required to accept the case for further review. Most are denied.

If you would like to appeal a judgment or order, time is of the essence. You usually only have thirty days from the entry of the ruling to file your notice of appeal. The Florida Appellate Rules of Procedure are very strict, and it is crucial to comply with them. Approximately sixty days after the notice of appeal is filed, the clerk prepares the record which includes the pleadings and transcripts. You may only include evidence found in the record in your appeal.

Once the record is complete, we will analyze it to determine the issues, perform legal research, and prepare your initial brief. Once the initial brief is filed, the appellee files an answer brief, addressing the issues that you raised in your initial brief. We then file a reply brief, responding to issues raised in the answer brief.

Either side may request oral argument, which gives the parties an opportunity to address any concerns that the appellate court may have. The court then analyzes the case and issues, and eventually, it enters its order. Most often, the appellate court issues a PCA, or a per curiam affirmed, meaning that the appeal was denied. The court may issue a written opinion which reverses or affirms the trial court’s order. Either party may move for rehearing. Once the court has ruled on a motion for rehearing or the time has passed for a party to move for rehearing, the court issues a mandate, which concludes the DCA case.

However, in certain circumstances, a party may request the Florida Supreme Court to review a DCA opinion. Most of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction is discretionary, meaning that the Court is not required to grant review. Most DCA opinions are not reviewed by the Supreme Court.

If your appeal is successful, the appellate court will give instructions as to how the case should proceed.

If you would like to appeal a recent ruling, please contact us immediately.

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