Commercial Law – St. Louis Commercial Litigation Appeals Lawyer

What is a Commercial Law Appeal?

A commercial law appeal deals with appeals of business and corporate law trial verdicts. If you find yourself on the wrong end of a commercial litigation verdict, then an appeal may likely be your best option. Commercial litigation includes cases that involve business disputes, breach of contract, and tortious interference with contract. These cases are often very technical and can cover several areas of law. Appeals are a very structured and specific legal process, with very specific rules and deadlines. If you submit a brief with improper formatting or too many pages, then your appeal can be rejected by the appellate court. If you don’t file your appeal within the allotted time, then you will likely lose your opportunity to overturn the decisions of the trial court, and the verdict will be final. If you are considering filing a commercial law appeal, then it is important to speak to an experienced appellate attorney as soon as possible.

How is a Commercial Law Appeal Different from a Trial?

It is important to understand the differences between a case at the trial level and one at the appellate level. When a case is at the trial level, the outcome is in doubt, and a judge or jury is entrusted with deciding on the facts of the case to determine the outcome. At the appellate level, the facts and outcome have been decided from the court’s perspective. Appeals are a review of what happened at the trial court level to determine if mistakes were made that affected the outcome of the case. In an appeal, you must file a detailed brief that outlines where and how legal mistakes were made at the trial level. A proper appellate brief will include a complete explanation of the law that applies and legally supported arguments that back up your position. Appeals are primarily won or lost by the quality of your appellate brief and the included legal arguments.

Which Appellate Court Will Hear Your Appeal?

The location and type of case that is being appealed will determine which appellate court has jurisdiction to decide on the case at the state or federal level. There are three appellate courts in Missouri state court: the Eastern District, Western District, and Southern District. The courthouse for the Eastern District is in St. Louis, Western District is in Kansas City, and Southern District is in Springfield. Under the Missouri Constitution, five types of state cases must be heard directly by the Missouri Supreme Court on appeal. They are as follows:

  • A case challenging United States law or treaty
  • A case challenging Missouri law or Constitutional provision
  • A case challenging a Missouri revenue law
  • A case challenging a state elected official’s right to hold office
  • A case challenging a death penalty sentence.

If your case is not one that involves the above-listed topics, then your appeal will go to the Missouri Court of Appeals for determination. Federal cases that originated in the Eastern or Western District Court in Missouri are heard by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. In most cases, the decision of a court of appeals will end up being final as it is rare for cases to end up in the Supreme Court. This is because Supreme Courts have the power to specifically choose cases to hear for a decision. The first step towards filing an appeal is knowing where your appeal should go.

The Importance of Having an Experienced Appeals Lawyer

Most trial attorneys have never handled an appeal in their entire careers. This is because appeals are a specific area of law that most trial attorneys simply cannot focus on due to the time necessary to properly handle them. Having an appellate lawyer help you by using a fresh set of eyes on a case is typically the best option. Appellate lawyers often take a limited number of cases so they can properly research and draft complete appellate briefs. A complete appellate brief includes a table of contents, a list of cases and authorities, a summary of the case, and a legal analysis of the facts and the law.

While you may have many things you want to appeal in a case, it is important to focus on those that can actually change the outcome into one that is favorable to you. An experienced appeals attorney will help you target specific legal issues and formulate legal arguments that are supported by the facts and the law at hand. An appeal is likely your last opportunity to change the outcome of your commercial litigation case. Since you likely don’t want your case to be the first that your attorney has appealed, it is important to have your case reviewed by an experienced appellate attorney.

John Reeves; Reeves Law

As an appellate specialist, John Reeves provides consulting services to trial attorneys about preserving matters for appeal and drafting dispositive motions. His practice also includes serving as defense counsel in civil matters, including constitutional matters (§1983 litigation), commercial law, personal injury matters, municipal law, employment discrimination, and insurance coverage disputes.

After serving as an Assistant Missouri Attorney General for over six years, John entered private practice in 2015, opening his own firm in 2019. He has personally authored over 250 appellate briefs and has conducted oral arguments in all three districts of the Missouri Court of Appeals, the Missouri Supreme Court, and the federal Eighth Circuit. In addition, Mr. Reeves has personally authored both certiorari petitions and applications for extraordinary relief before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Reeves has also written numerous dispositive motions in both federal and state court.

In October 2019, Mr. Reeves co-founded the Missouri Bar’s Appellate Practice Committee, the first statewide organization in Missouri devoted to furthering professional development for attorneys in appellate matters. He presently serves as the committee’s co-chair.

Contact Reeves Law today to schedule an appointment to discuss your appeal or to have him sit in on your current trial and case.

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