On Appeal

The AP&S Appellate Law Blog

2014 Year in Review – Appellate Briefs

Image courtesy of khunaspix at freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of khunaspix at freedigitalphotos.net

A. Brief Writing and Citations

Process Engineers & Constructors, Inc. v. DiGregorio, Inc., 93 A.3d 1047 (R.I. 2014): In a rare passage, the Rhode Island Supreme Court provided valuable advice to appellate practitioners on drafting appellate briefs. In Process Engineers, the Court noted that it “greatly appreciates clear and concise writing. However, it is also essential that the parties support their factual representations to this Court with citation to the record.”

It is sometimes difficult, and especially so in complex matters with multiple grounds for appeal, to fully brief an argument within the page limits set by the Court. Nevertheless, the Process Engineers & Constructors, Inc. decision reminds practitioners that citations to the record are just as important as the substance of the arguments made.

B. Default for Failure to File

National Refrigeration, Inc. v. Capital Properties, Inc., 88 A.3d 1150 (R.I. 2014): In National Refrigeration, Inc., a defendant/appellee was defaulted for failure to file a brief on appeal.

C. Failure to Adequately Brief

Bucci v. Hurd Buick Pontiac GMC Truck, LLC, 85 A.3d 1160 (R.I. 2014): In Bucci, the Supreme Court declined to review a claim made by the appellant on appeal because, apart from identifying the issue, the appellant did not develop the argument. The Supreme Court reminded practitioners that it “will consider an issue to be waived when a party ‘[s]imply stat[es] an issue for appellate review, without a meaningful discussion thereof or legal briefing of the issues.’” (quoting State v. Chase, 9 A.3d 1248, 1256 (R.I. 2010)).

D. Pre-briefing Statements

Carrozza v. Voccola, 90 A.3d 142 (R.I. 2014): Arguments raised in a pre-briefing statement but not reiterated in the full brief are waived. (citing State v. Rolon, 45 A.3d 518, 519 n.1 (R.I. 2012); Bowen Court Associates v. Ernst & Young LLP, 818 A.2d 721, 728-29 (R.I. 2003)). However, the failure to raise an issue in a pre-briefing statement does not waive that issue for full briefing. Id. Moreover, a concession of a point by a party in his or her pre-briefing statement does not preclude that party from raising the issue at the time of full briefing.

About The Author

Nicole J. Benjamin

I am a shareholder and business litigator at AP&S. I help businesses and their legal departments achieve their objectives by reducing their liabilities, advising them on complex legal matters and defending unavoidable litigation in federal and state court.

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