Indiana’s trial court judges, commissioners, magistrates and protems are dedicated to justice. The unique aspect to their job is they must decide a dispute between two or more people or parties—many other aspects of personal and professional life involves winning to some degree. For this reason, it is sometimes difficult for a party to accept “losing.” And many people just react with the desire to challenge any and every adverse final1 ruling.
However, there at least five considerations or options you have, any or all of which may factor into your decision:
- Cease litigation.
- Apply a law and economics approach.
- Look at the policy in play.
- Motion to Correct Error.
A point that is very often lost and never considered is even if you disagree, cease the litigation and put the matter behind you. A neutral and detached judge decided the case; and closure of the matter and moving on in life is sometimes worth accepting you might be wrong. This a prudent decision many times.
A different angle or lens to view the matter is from a law and economics approach. Will the potential benefits of reversal of a trial court’s order be worth the cost in time and money? If the answer is “no,” that may be the end of the matter. Or if I spend $1.50 or ___to get a judgment for $1.00 ___ is this worth the point in being right?
In a few cases, litigants are not “fighting” over money but some principle. This is also a valid reason for litigation, and these cases sometimes change the law or world. However, every person must identify the true or core reason they are litigating. If it is to make some point, even with a loss, it may have already been made.
If there is an actual or perceived error, a litigant can ask the trial court to correct it. This is done by filing a Motion to Correct Error. This lays out the mistake and legally why the trial court should correct it. These are sometimes useful motions to file where there are mathematical errors or scrivener’s errors (like a wrong date).
Ultimately, if none of these considerations is acceptable, every person with an Indiana case has the right of appeal to a higher court. Typically, this is the Indiana Court of Appeals. A few cases, such as where a trial court declares a statute unconstitutional are taken directly to the Indiana Supreme Court. Is this your case?
This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. and is for general educational purposes only. It is not legal advice, or solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle civil and criminal appeals from all Indiana state trial courts, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, or United States Supreme Court.
- Most orders are interlocutory. Only “final” orders may be appealed. Indiana Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.