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When should you appeal a discrimination case?

One of the more difficult decisions to make in the life of a discrimination lawsuit is determining when to stop. If you win a case in the New York Supreme Court, the state's trial court, it is easy to congratulate yourself, your attorney and their legal team. If the decision is not as favorable, you have to decide if you are able to appeal to the Appellate Division; the determination can be rather complex.

First, simply because you are dissatisfied with the verdict is not a sufficient reason for an appeal. You and your attorney must be able to find a non-frivolous mistake of law by the judge in the trial, in order to have valid grounds for appeal.

And then there is the matter of cost. Appellate cases are expensive. You may have to bring in a specialized appellate attorney, because the procedures in an appellate court are different from a trial court. There are no witnesses and there is very limited ability to bring in new evidence.

You are typically limited to arguments raised with your appellate brief and your attorney presents your case to a panel of judges only. You also have to incur the expense of a creating a transcript from the trial, in order for the appellate judges to evaluate if the trial judge made any errors.

And there is the matter of attorney's fees. New York typically follows the "American Rule," where each party must pay their own attorney's fees. However, there are some areas, where there may be a statutory or contractual right to recover these fees, which may impact your decision to appeal.

You need to discuss these issues with your attorney at the conclusion of your trial, as you have a limited amount of time in which to file an appeal.

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