To Appeal or To Not To Appeal: Statistics

In any litigation, in which the court must render an order or judgment, there is a winner and there is a loser. Sometimes, the court will even telegraph its decision, in advance, in order to facilitate a settlement discussion.

Most clients, when informed of an adverse decision (or even the potential for one), will, as a knee jerk reaction invariably say, “Let’s Appeal!” or “If the judge does that, we will appeal.”

Without even addressing the fact that not every decision is appealable, the odds are that an appeal will NOT be successful. To the contrary, most appeals are unsuccessful.

Dick Bailey Service, Inc., an appellate printer, recently sent me statistics it compiled of the appeals submitted to the Appellate Division, Second Department from January through June 20007. Not surprisingly, in 52% of all cases appealed, the trial court’s order or judgment was affirmed (the appeals court agreed with the trial court); sixty two (62%) percent of all matrimonial cases were affirmed.

Less than, one quarter of all cases, but only 14% of the domestic relations cases were reversed. In eleven percent of the cases, the lower court decision was somehow modified.

These statistics illustrate the fact that an appeal in a matrimonial case has only about twenty five (25%) chance of either reversing or modifying the underlying order or judgment.


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