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Four Ways of Staying (Stopping) Enforcement of a Trial Court Order in Indiana

In most cases, a trial ends with a judge or jury verdict for a party. In a small number of cases, the losing party wants to stop the judgment from being executed for a variety of reasons or change the order before an appeal. There are four different ways this may be accomplished, although all are relatively rare.

The first, which is more focused on correcting the error in an order to avoid or limit an appeal, is a Motion to Correct Error. As a general rule, these are not required in cases and an appeal can directly proceed. However, often the filing for a Motion to Correct Error as opposed will have the practical effect of keeping the prevailing party from acting on the judgment until the trial court considers the motion.

Secondly, the rules of trial and appellate procedure envision a stay by filing a request in a trial court with sufficient security (which may be the entire amount of the judgment, if one of money) or good reasons without a stay pending an appeal, enforcement of the judgment will leave the losing party without a remedy at a later date, such as the money paid will be spent and unavailable or in a domestic case the child will have moved and uprooted his or her life. These are rare, but nevertheless, are granted by trial courts in some cases. The failure to seek a stay may prevent seeking a stay in the appellate court.

Third, and closely related is seeking a stay in the Court of Appeals. Generally, the Court will only entertain considering a stay if the party seeking such has first asked for and been denied a stay in the trial court. Again, some significant actual or potential harm will have to be demonstrated for the Court to issue a stay. These too are rare, but the Court does exercise its discretion to do so where it will serve the interests of justice.

Finally, although not a stay or specific remedy, in unique and very rare cases with any order or action or inaction of a trial court, the Indiana Supreme Court may issue a writ of mandate (to do something) or prohibition (not to act) to the trial court where extraordinary circumstances exists. These are what are called original actions and are utilized where there is a situation where no other remedy will work to protect the interests of justice.

Ultimately, Indiana trial court judges are given significant authority by those who elected them and the higher court will not second-guess reasonable decisions. Consistent with our system of checks and balances on all forms of government, a trial court may stay its decision where there is a persuasive showing by a party, correct a decision, or a stay may be issued by the Court of Appeals or a writ by the Indiana Supreme Court.

This blog is written to demonstrate the wide array of tools available under the legal system to ensure justice and rule of law. While atypical, they may apply in your case. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handled appeals and stays and related trial court and appellate matters throughout the State. It is intended for general educational purposes and not specific legal advice or solicitation for services. It should be thought of as an advertisement.


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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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