Should you consider appealing a bankruptcy court ruling or finding? Judicial decisions are appealed because judges sometimes make mistakes. That does not mean that in any given case the judge is wrong, it just means that because judges are not infallible, the appellate courts exist as a safety valve, available to set the record straight. To the extent a decision rests upon a factual determination, or a matter involving the exercise of the bankruptcy or trial judge’s discretion, the opportunity for a successful appeal is remote, as the standard of review will require a showing – typically clearly erroneous or abuse of discretion – going well beyond what would be deemed wrong in the abstract. In other words, there is no automatic “do-over” in the judicial system. Conversely, purely legal decisions (including the granting of summary judgment) are typically reviewed under a “de novo” standard, meaning that the reviewing court considers the issue from a clean slate, without giving deference to the ruling of the bankruptcy or trial court.
What to appeal, timings of appeal and recent court rulings are discussed in this article.
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