Appellate Forms – And More

Did you that our appellate courts had forms to help guide you through the appellate court process?

This page at the Administrative Office of the Courts website has various forms relevant at different stages of the appellate process, inlcuding a sample brief cover page, a motion for extension of time, etc.

That being said, the recent decision in  Range v. Baese reminds us of the importance of knowing and following the rules of appellate procedure.  The Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed a grant of summary judgment because "multiple deficiencies in the record on appeal" did not permit it to reach the merits.

The Court explained that "[t]he record on appeal does not contain the motion for summary judgment of defendant Baese or defendant Anderson. There is a memorandum in support of a motion for summary judgment from Ms. Anderson, but none for Ms. Baese. There are two affidavits labeled Exhibits 4 and 5 that are not associated with any motion. Furthermore, at the hearing, the attorneys and the trial judge made reference to facts gleaned from depositions, but no depositions are included in the record on appeal.  The court’s orders refer to affidavits, but this Court cannot assume from the fragmented state of the record that all of the affidavits are before us. Moreover, the appellants’ brief cites to the depositions of Ms. Range, Ms. Baese, and Ms. Anderson; ‘Pl.’s Stmt.,’ and an affidavit of Ms. Range. None  of these documents are contained in the record on appeal." [Footnote omitted.]

Footnote 2 (the footnote at the end of the text quoted immediately above) says as follows:  "This court’s efforts were not assisted by the briefs in this case. The appellants’ brief does not include a statement of facts, as required under Tenn. R. App. P. 27. Instead, the brief states: “In the underlying pleadings, plaintiff filed an extensive statements [sic] of fact with supporting affidavits and transcripts, which form the basis for the facts relied on in this appeal and are incorporated as if reiterated here, verbatim.” A mere reference back to the pleadings does not satisfy the requirements of Rule 27. Moreover, we find no extensive statement of facts or affidavits on behalf of the plaintiff in the record. The appellees’ briefs frequently do not give references to pages in the record."

The Bottom Line:  if you are going to be handling an appeal, learn the rules of the appellate process and follow them.  If you don’t have time to do so, have your client hire someone else to handle the appeal.  Appellate work is a different breed of cat, and while most lawyers have the ability to do the work, a lawyer who intends to handle an appeal has an obligation to understand and follow the rules of appellate procedure.

Range  is Case No. M2006-00120-COA-R3-CV and was decided by the Court of Appeals, Middle Section, on January 22, 2008.  Read it here.