Civil Appeals in New York: Fourth Department Toolkit
Resources to assist attorneys litigating a civil appeal to the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, Fourth Judicial Department, including guidance on taking the appeal, preparing the briefs and the appendix or complete record, presenting oral argument to the court, and making motions.
Losing parties in the New York State Supreme Court, the state's trial court of general jurisdiction, usually can appeal to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court from final judgments and orders in civil actions and proceedings. The New York courts also permit a wide variety of interlocutory appeals. The Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department sits in Rochester, New York, and hears appeals from 22 counties in western and central New York.
The process of litigating an appeal differs from the process of litigating a case in the supreme court. For example, there is no discovery in the appellate division. The parties are bound by the factual record they developed in the supreme court. Motion practice also is less common in the appellate division than in the supreme court.
The focus of the appellate process is the submission of written briefs with arguments for reversing, vacating, modifying, or affirming the supreme court's judgment or order. The appellate division may also permit the parties to present short oral arguments to the panel of four or five justices deciding the appeal.
While the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR), New York's main procedural authority, applies in the appellate division, the local rules of each of the four departments often establish additional or different requirements that supersede those of the CPLR.
This Toolkit includes resources explaining the appellate process in the Fourth Department, including taking (that is, starting) the appeal, submitting the factual record from the supreme court to the appellate division, briefing the appeal, arguing the appeal, and, if necessary, making motions.