Like everyone and everything in life, the judicial system isn’t perfect. Mistakes are made. Sometimes, these mistakes can result in an improper verdict or decision. Fortunately, our system provides individuals with the opportunity to appeal certain rulings or decisions believed to be wrongly decided. Unfortunately, however, is that sometimes appeals can take a long time to decide. But what if a trial court’s decision or ruling causes irreparable harm? Is there a way to delay the trial court’s order or decision until after an appeal is decided? In this blog, we look at motions to stay pending appeals and how they are used in the appellate process.
As mentioned above, sometimes the appellate process can take a bit of time. This is important to keep in mind because while your appeal is pending, the trial court’s order or decision that you are appealing is valid, and you will be in contempt for non-compliance. For example, say you are appealing a trial court’s property division in a divorce which required you to sell the marital home. In this example, despite filing an appeal, you will be required to sell the marital home. You may be thinking, but what if I am successful on appeal? Or if I win but my home is sold, what is the point? In these sorts of circumstances, individuals can seek what is known as a stay of the trial court’s order or decision while the appeal is pending.
Specifically, in Indiana, individuals seeking a stay pending appeal have two (2) options. First, the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure grant a trial court judge the discretion to stay execution or enforcement of an order pending appeal of that order.1 Individuals who wish to seek a stay are required to file a motion with the trial court that issued the order being appealed. Second, the Indiana Rule of Appellate Procedure allows an individual to seek a stay pending appeal with the Court of Appeals.2 The general rule is that, before an individual can file with the Court of Appeals, they must first file a motion to stay with the trial court and await the trial court’s decision. However, an individual will not be required to wait for the trial court to rule before filing with the Court of Appeals if (1) the trial court has failed to rule within a reasonable time; or (b) extraordinary circumstances exist.
Whether you will be able to get a stay pending your appeal will ultimately depend on the facts of each case. What is important to know is that the option exists and may prove beneficial in your case. Please note that the above information is general in nature, and know that there are exceptions to almost every rule. Appeals are complex matters, oftentimes turning on the specific facts of each case. This area of practice is extremely technical, and obtaining skilled counsel is often key to navigating the complex waters of appeals. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle all types of appeals, be it civil or criminal, throughout Indiana. This blog is intended for general educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.