Filing an Appeal

| by Heather Duncan, Esq.

Having a court reporter at your trial is important because, if you chose to appeal, a transcript can be essential.  

Filing an appeal of your California Superior Court decision involves a series of steps that must be followed in order and on a strict timeline. Below is a basic outline of those steps in an unlimited civil case.

A Notice of Appeal must be filed no later than the following:

  • 60 days after the trial court clerk or the other side serves you with notice that the judgment has been entered in your case or a copy of the judgment stamped “Filed,” or

  • 180 days after the entry of judgment.

The time to file a Notice of Appeal is extended if there is a timely motion:

  • For a new trial,

  • To vacate or set aside the judgment,

  • For judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or

  • To reconsider an appealable order.

The Designation of the Record on Appeal must be served and filed and money deposited with the court for payment of the transcript no later than 10 calendar days after the Notice of Appeal is filed. If a waiver has been obtained from the court reporter, the requirement for a deposit will be waived by the court.

The Respondent has 10 days after the Designation of the Record to file the Respondent’s Designation

After the notices of designation have been sent, the court reporter has between 30-60 days to prepare and file a transcript of the record, depending upon the appeals clerk. The reporter may request an extension of time to prepare and file the transcript.

After getting notice from the court that the record is filed with the court the following deadlines apply:

  • Appellant’s Opening Brief: 40 calendar days or 70 days after the filing of a rule 8.124 election, if the appeal proceeds without a reporter’s transcript.

  • Respondent’s Brief: 30 calendar days after Appellant’s Opening Brief is filed.

  • Petition for Rehearing: 15 calendar days after the filing of the opinion, the order of publication or the modification of opinion if it changes the judgment.

  • Answer to Petition for Rehearing: By request of the court only.

If you do not file papers on time, your appeal may be dismissed as having been “abandoned.” You will always get a notice that the case is going to be dismissed before it happens so you will have a chance to correct any mistakes and keep the appeal going. But if you do not promptly do what is needed the appeal will be dismissed.

For a more complete guide to filing an appeal for the new practitioner see The California Court of Appeal Step by Step which can be easily downloaded at

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