A Capehart Scatchard Blog

How Much Time Do I Have to Appeal a New Jersey Civil Court Decision?

By on May 17, 2019 in Litigation with 0 Comments

The time to appeal a New Jersey court decision involving a civil matter will depend upon whether it is an appeal from a trial court decision or an appeals’ court decision.  It will also depend upon whether the appeal is from a final judgment.

There is an automatic right of appeal from a final judgment of the Superior Court trial division.  That appeal would be heard by the Appellate Division. A Notice of Appeal must be filed within forty-five (45) days of the entry of the final judgment.  Under New Jersey Court Rules, final judgments include an order granting or denying a Motion to Extend the Time to File a Notice of Tort Claim and any order either compelling arbitration or denying arbitration. 

It is important to recognize that the time to appeal, as of right, does not start to run until there is a final adjudication of all claims and all defendants in a lawsuit.  If, for example, there are multiple defendants in the case and one defendant is granted a summary judgment, but the case continues on against the other defendants, the time to appeal as of right the summary judgment order does not start to run until there is a final adjudication by either a judgment or a dismissal order as to the remaining defendant or defendants.

Appeals may be pursued before a final judgment through what is called an interlocutory appeal.  A party may seek leave of the Appellate Division to have an order reviewed by the appeals court by filing a motion seeking an interlocutory review within twenty (20) days after service of such order.  The filing of this motion, however, does not stay proceedings at the trial court level except by motion made to the court which entered the order.  Note that it is difficult to persuade the Appellate Division to accept an interlocutory appeal because the bias is not to entertain piecemeal appeals.

As for Supreme Court appeals from an Appellate Division decision, there is no automatic right of appeal for a civil judgment, except if there is a dissent in the Appellate Division decision, the case involves a “substantial question arising under the Constitution of the United States or this State” or in such cases as are provided by law. Otherwise, to pursue an appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court, a party must petition for certification to request that the court accept the appeal. A notice for Petition for Certification is due twenty (20) days after the entry of the final judgment of the Appellate Division. 

According to our court rules, certification will be granted only: “if the appeal presents a question of general public importance which has not been but should be settled by the Supreme Court or is similar to a question presented on another appeal to the Supreme Court; if the decision under review is in conflict with any other decision of the same or higher court, or calls for an exercise of the Supreme Court supervision and in other matters if the interest of justice requires.”             

There are other factors which may affect the time to appeal, such as if a Motion for Reconsideration has been filed or a motion is filed for an extension of time.  Additionally, if an appeal is filed by one party, a cross-appeal can also be filed by any other party.  There can be other ways that matters end up on appeal such as if Supreme Court on its own motion decides to certify a matter. However, the above deadlines are the typical ones that a party must follow to be able to pursue an appeal of a civil matter.

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Betsy G. Ramos

About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

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