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The Wisconsin Court of Appeals can hear an appeal of a final circuit court decision or order following the filing a notice of appeal with the clerk of the circuit court for the county where the judgment or order was entered.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals can hear an appeal of a final circuit court decision or order following the filing a notice of appeal with the clerk of the circuit court for the county where the judgment or order was entered.

In this article, we discuss when to file for appeals in Wisconsin, where to go and file for appeals, and interlocutory appeals.  

When Can You File an Appeal in Wisconsin? 

Generally, you have 90 days to appeal a circuit court’s “final decision” or Order. The court should send you a Notice or Order stating that judgment was entered on that day.  

The day the Order or judgment was entered is not included in the 90-day count. You have until the next business day to file your “Notice of Appeal” if the 90th day occurs on a weekend or holiday.  

However, always keep an eye out for a “Notice of Entry of Judgment” from the opposing attorney or party. If they provide you this notification within 21 days of the judgment being issued, you only have 45 days to file a Notice of Appeal.  

In a civil case, the time limit cannot be extended, whether it is 45 or 90 days, so if you have any worries about the time limit, contact an attorney as soon as possible. You will never be able to file an appeal if you do not do so before the deadline.  

What is the Best Place to File a Complaint?

Surprisingly, in Wisconsin, an appeal begins at the trial court. The three essential documents required to start an appeal are a Notice of Appeal, Statement on Transcript, and Docketing Statement. The first two are submitted in the trial court, with copies going to the opposing party and the Court of Appeals, while the docketing statement is sent to the opposing party and the Court of Appeals. Appeals are a legal privilege in Wisconsin. The Court of Appeals must take your case if you file the Notice of Appeal on time and pay the filing fees. There are certain fee waivers available.  

On the main level of the Milwaukee County courthouse, there is a special appeals clerk who takes filings for all circuit courts. You file an appeal with the clerk of the circuit court that made the ruling you’re appealing in other counties.

Interlocutory Appeals

Although interlocutory appeals are discouraged because they disrupt the trial process, one should be aware of the circumstances in which a court of appeals will reconsider a trial court’s non-final order or decision.  

Various non-final orders are issued by a court during trial-level litigation. These are orders that do not resolve all claims on behalf of all parties. Non-final orders are usually not appealable until the trial court renders a final order in the case. However, in rare cases, a litigant’s delay in appealing a non-final decision or order can result in significant harm. In these cases, the party may file an interlocutory appeal with the appellate court under Wis. Stat. § 808.03(2) to have the non-final judgment considered. Although an interlocutory appeal does not automatically delay the trial court proceedings, the petitioner might seek temporary relief awaiting the outcome of the interlocutory appeal under Wis. Stat. § 809.52.  

When is it Appropriate to File an Interlocutory Appeal?

The sole way for a party to request appellate review of a non-final judgment or order in Wisconsin is through the interlocutory appeal legislation, Wis. Stat. § 808.03(2). Interlocutory appeals are only allowed at the appellate court’s discretion. An interlocutory appeal is not obliged to be heard by the court, and it is actually discouraged.  

This widespread dislike stems from a policy against the piecemeal disposition of disputes.  

It is policy to minimize appeals of non-final verdicts and orders whenever possible in order to preserve trial-level litigation from repeated appeals and to confine each case to a single appeal.  

Despite these reservations, Wis. Stat. section 808.03(2) lists three circumstances in which a petition for leave to appeal may be granted. Hearing the interlocutory appeal would accomplish at least one of the following goals, according to the court of appeals:  

Protect the petitioner from substantial or irreparable loss; or materially advance the termination of the dispute or clarify ongoing actions in the case.  

Clarify a topic in the administration of justice that is of universal relevance.  

In addition to these legislative conditions, and probably most importantly, the court of appeals must believe that the underlying appeal has a reasonable chance of success on the merits. 

In addition to these legislative conditions, and probably most importantly, the court of appeals must believe that the underlying appeal has a reasonable chance of success on the merits.   

Despite the fact that interlocutory appeals are often disliked, the court of appeals will occasionally grant permission to appeal in the middle of a case. When a motion for interlocutory appeal asserts one of the following, it has a greater likelihood of succeeding:  

  • The trial court committed a legal error that it is likely to rely on or apply in the future.  

  • The action in state court is banned by federal law.  

  • The governing laws are unconstitutional under which a case is filed.  

  • A flaw in subject-matter jurisdiction exists.  

  • There is a flaw in the system of personal jurisdiction.  

  • A minor’s waiver out of juvenile court was erroneous.  

  • The defendant’s right to be free of double jeopardy has been violated.  

  • A claim for qualified immunity was unjustly refused.  

Requesting an Interlocutory Appeal

Section 809.50 of the Wisconsin Statutes lays forth the steps for filing an interlocutory appeal. Most importantly, a petition must be filed within 14 days of the non-final order’s entry. The court of appeals has the authority to extend the deadline on its own motion or for good reason proved. If a party misses the deadline, the petition for interlocutory appeal shall be accompanied by a motion to extend the filing period.  

A characterization of the issues, an explanation of the facts, a statement showing how prompt review would satisfy at least one of the criteria mentioned in Wis. Stat. section 808.03(2), and a copy of the judgment or order requested to be reviewed must all be included in the petition.  

If the opposing party desires to react to the petition, he or she must do so within 14 days of receipt of the petition. In most cases, a petition for interlocutory appeal will be decided by the court of appeals within one month of its filing.  

If An Interlocutory Writ Of Mandate Is Granted

An interlocutory appeal will be treated as a “regular” appeal if allowed, with the ruling granting the interlocutory appeal serving as the notice of appeal. The appellant must prepare a docketing statement explaining the matters to be addressed within 11 days of the ruling permitting the interlocutory appeal to proceed. The court of appeals may identify the matters it will consider on appeal after considering these materials. An interlocutory appeal’s timeline will vary greatly based on the issues raised on appeal, the court’s current docket load, and the number of judges presiding, just like a regular appeal. The average time to conclusion for combined interlocutory and regular appeals is nine months.

To safeguard trial-level litigation from interruptions and delays caused by many appeals, and to confine each case to a single appeal, policy demands that appeals of non-final verdicts and orders be avoided if possible.  

The trial court proceedings are not automatically stopped while the interlocutory appeal is pending in the court of appeals. Under Wis. Stat. section 809.52, a petitioner can seek provisional relief until the outcome of the interlocutory appeal.  

Following the Denial of an Interlocutory Appeal

The court of appeals has complete discretion over whether or not to allow an interlocutory appeal. Although a review of such a decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court is possible, it is exceedingly improbable unless unique circumstances exist.

Request a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys today. Call our office at (630) 324-6666 or schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

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Posted 
November 22, 2021
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