Browne House attorney Jason P. Bailey‘s client came out on top in an appeal of a divorce out of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. In so doing the client received a rare award of attorney fees from the Court of Civil Appeals. In the appeal, a Husband sought to overturn the trial court’s award of marital property and alimony to the Wife. However, the Court of Civil Appeals never addressed the divorce but instead dismissed the Husband’s appeal for failure to “come close to meeting the requirements” of the Court’s briefing rules.
Appellate Briefs Are to Present Argument
Argument before appellate courts in Alabama are primarily through written briefs. The appellate courts of Alabama have rules that require the briefs to contain specific elements and to be laid out in a particular way. Nevertheless, the appellate courts are “generally forgiving of minor mistakes.” Still, the “rule is not merely a suggestion as to what one might include in the brief.” The requirements are mandatory.
Requirements of an Appellate Brief
Appellate Rule 28 has a number of requirements including:
- a statement of jurisdiction – a brief argument that the appeal was filed at the right time and before the right appellate court;
- a statement of the case – essentially a very short summary of what’s being appealed;
- a brief to include a statement of the facts – basically a rendition of what happened in the case;
- recitation the standard of review – a statement of how much the appellate court must defer to the trial court; and
- A summary of the argument and the argument.
Attorney Fees on Appeal
The party defending against the appeal can get an award of attorney fees if the appeal is frivolous. Whether or not to award fees is up to the appellate court and are not routinely given. However, based on the Husband’s failure to follow the rules or “come close” the court awarded some attorney fees for a frivolous appeal.