The Courts

Trial courts make decisions every day in our courts. For most cases, those decisions are the “final word” because neither party appeals. However, a party dissatisfied with the trial court’s ruling has a right to appeal within a limited number of days of that ruling.

If an appeal is filed, the appeals court can review the written record and transcript(s) of the proceedings before the trial court and determine whether the trial court made an error. If it determines an error occurred, the appeals court can reverse the trial court’s ruling.

However, the appeals court will not automatically review the entire record of the case. Instead, the appeals court will generally only review (A) the portions of the record that the appealing party presents to the appeals court (B) to determine whether an error occurred in the way the appealing party argues it occurred.

The Attorney

Appeals wall sign - metal on stoneIt is therefore important in an appeal to be represented by an attorney who understands both the law and the appellate process. A lawyer can be amazingly effective at presenting cases to juries, but know little about the appellate process. The two types of proceedings – trials and appeals – are separate and involve different skills and qualifications.

Mark Foster has experience with appeals, which can be difficult. Although less than one-third of all appeals in the Tennessee Court of Appeals result in reversal of any portion of the effect of the trial court’s ruling,* Mr. Foster has obtained reversals in more than two-thirds of my cases before the Court of Appeals in which he represented a party appealing a final judgment of a trial court** – more than twice the rate for all cases. When he represented the party that is satisfied with the trial court’s ruling, he has convinced the Tennessee Court of Appeals to affirm the trial court’s ruling in all but one case.***

Mr. Foster has also handled appeals before the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati. In some cases,his client was able to obtain a satisfactory result by reaching a settlement or other agreed disposition while the case was pending on appeal. Mark Foster has recently been licensed to practice law in Kentucky and will represent clients in Kentucky appeals.

For federal appeals, a lawyer must be admitted in the appropriate federal appeals court to handle an appeal. Mark N. Foster is admitted both in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (which hears appeals from United States District Courts in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan) and the United States Supreme Court (which hears appeals from federal courts of appeal, including the Sixth Circuit and, with respect to federal issues, from the Tennessee and Kentucky Supreme Court).

Time Limits

Appeals generally must be filed within a limited number of days after the trial court’s ruling. After the appeal is filed, a series of other steps must be taken in the appropriate order and in accordance with time limits. Therefore, if you are considering an appeal, or have a pending appeal, you should consult an appellate attorney as soon as possible.

To consult with him about an appeal, call him or complete the “Get in Touch” form below.

* Based on all 336 opinions of the Tennessee Court of Appeals filed during six-month period between April 25, 2017 and October 24, 2017.

** As of November 6, 2017 I have represented appellants in sixteen proceedings proceedings before the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Thirteen of those proceedings were in appeals from final judgments of the trial court, and he obtained favorable relief for his client in nine of those proceedings (eight reversals and one trial court order granting new trial). Mr. Foster has also represented appellants in three cases involving appeals of non-final judgments (one interlocutory appeal as of right from trial court decision denying motion to compel arbitration resulted in a favorable settlement in which plaintiff agreed to dismiss trial court action against client, one application for interlocutory appeal was denied, and one appeal was dismissed for lack of finality of judgment below).

*** As of November 6, 2017 he has represented appellees in eight proceedings in the Tennessee Court of Appeals. In one case, the trial court’s order dismissing a plaintiff’s claims against his client was reversed and the matter remanded for trial. In another case, an award to his client was affirmed, but reduced in amount.