Appellate Practice

When Can I appeal? De Novo Versus Abuse of Discretion Review

As a litigation attorney, I have had to appeal matters to various appellate courts throughout Ohio. While I firmly believe in our justice system, unfortunately, courts can sometimes make mistakes. Most appeals in business cases are based upon courts making an error in applying or interpreting a certain law. Other appeals call into question a judge’s discretion on a certain decision.

Under the former, an appellate court can review the case under de novo review, meaning the appellate court will take a fresh look at the matter and does not have to take into consideration the trial court’s decision. The latter falls under abuse of discretion review. This means the appellate court must give a significant amount of deference to the trial court and can only overturn a decision if it finds the judge abused his or her discretion. This is a high, but not impossible, bar to meet.

It is important to note that only a final appealable order can be appealed. Most appeals mid-way through a case will be denied as an interlocutory appeal.

What Does the Appellate Process Look Like?

Once a final appealable order has been issued, a notice of appeal must be timely submitted. Under both the Ohio and Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the notice of appeal must be filed within thirty days of the issuance of the final judgment entry.

Appellate cases are decided upon written briefs submitted by the parties, as well as a very brief oral argument typically given in front of a three judge panel. From the time the case is docketed, an appellant will have 40 days to file a brief in a federal appellate court and 28 days if in an Ohio appellate court. In federal court, the appellee will then have 30 days to file its brief or 28 days if in an Ohio appellate court. Finally, the appellant will be permitted to submit a reply brief. The appellant must do so within 14 days after appellee submitted its brief if in federal court or within 10 days after appellee filed its brief if in an Ohio appellate court.

After briefs have been submitted, the parties typically engage in oral arguments. Unlike trial, no witnesses or evidence is presented. Rather, the attorneys argue their strongest points and the panel of judges often ask a series of questions to better understand each side’s arguments.

Our Columbus Appellate Attorney Has Won Appeals in Multiple Ohio Appellate Courts


As a Columbus appellate lawyer, I have successfully appealed cases, including overturning the trial court on abuse of discretion, as well as having an appeal dismissed as interlocutory.


Please feel free to contact me to understand more about appeals if you have recently lost a business litigation case in an Ohio court.


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