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Stephen Trinen’s Answers

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  • I filed a law suit against my employer. My question is roughly how much an appeal would cost? Any takers on the case?

    My case was based on descrimination, mistreatment and corruption.

    Stephen’s Answer

    Your question cannot be answered without an appellate attorney taking a close look at the file in your case.

    You should contact an appellate attorney ASAP if you are interested in pursuing this. If your suit was filed in Superior Court in Washington State, in most cases you only have 30 days from the date the order you are challenging was filed in superior court in order to file a notice of appeal. If you fail to meet that deadline, normally you will have missed your chance forever. The filing fee alone is $250.

    You refer to "costs," but I am going to interpret that more broadly as expenses. Costs are only one type of expense. They can include the cost of obtaining a transcript of necessary hearings or trial, as well as the filing fee, copying, postage, etc. Depending on what you are appealing and the length of the hearings in your case, transcripts can be unnecessary (and therefore cost nothing) or they can be lengthy and become very expensive. They are normally charged on a per page rate set by the court reporter. On a long case they can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars.

    In addition to costs, the other type of expense is attorney's fees. What these are would depend on the fee agreement you have with the attorney. Some attorneys may agree to handle some types of cases on a contingency basis, in which case the attorney's fee would typically be a percentage of any amount ultimately recovered. However this is not common, especially if the attorney did not represent you at the trial court level. On the other hand, some attorneys might agree to a negotiated flat rate. However, most would probably bill hourly, at a rate likely ranging anywhere from about $150 to as much as $1,000 an hour. (I might add that the amount charged is not necessarily reflective of the quality of the work you would receive.) It wouldn't be unreasonable for an average appeal to involve 40 to 80 hours of work, and one could easily involve much more than that.

    So depending upon the issues and record in your case, an appeal could cost anywhere from a minimal amount (probably at least the $250 filing fee) to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without reviewing your file, it is impossible to know which.

    While I am happy to share this basic information with you, you should be advised that none of it is intended as legal advice. Additionally, I only handle appeals for my employer, so I would not be able to review your case or provide any kind of advice.

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