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I wrote my brief for an appeal, and the Defendants replyed to my brief. Can I now reply to the Defendants brief?

Santa Ana, CA |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

The Defendants attorney has submitted a reply brief that is riddled with lies. In the courts letter to me, the appelate court says I can have an oral hearing if I request one. I want to know if I can write a reply to the brief the Defendants submitted to the appelate court. I have exhausted so much money into this case and I do not want to spend money traveling to California from Massachusetts for an oral agument. Thank you

Attorney Answers 7

  1. Best answer

    If you are in a California Appellate Court, you are entitled to file a Reply Brief, but your time to do so is very limited - 20 days from the date the Respondent's Brief was filed.

    Oral argument is not required. However, if the Respondent shows up and you do not, they will get a chance to convince the appellate court that their position is righteous. Keep in mind that oral argument rarely changes the outcome on appeal, but there are cases where it is critical.

    Good luck to you.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

  2. Yes, you can file an Appellant's Reply Brief, but you only have 20 days to do so.

    You can waive oral argument. In fact, the Court of Appeal usually encourages waiving oral argument. However, if you wish to have oral argument, you need to provide a time estimate (number of minutes).

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

  3. I think you are looking at what is called a surreply brief---a reply to the reply. If you have already filed an Answering Brief, then you can file a surreply only with the permission of the court's presiding justice.

  4. It may not be sound (wise or necessary) to file a Reply Brief if the point that you intend to make in your Reply is the "lies" of the other party. Appellate courts will not ordinarily make or remake determinations of credibility. The appellate court is almost certainly concerned only with errors of law by the court below.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

  5. It is not clear from your question whether you are the appellant or the respondent.
    The briefing sequence is: opening brief (by the appellant); Respondent's Brief (by the party defending the trial court's decision) and then a Reply Brief by the appellant.
    When you say that the defendants submitted a "reply brief", do you mean a brief in response to your opening brief (if you are the appealing party)? In that case, you have the right to a Reply Brief, as my colleagues indicate. But if the opposing party is the appellant and they have filed a Reply Brief to your Respondent's Brief, the briefing has concluded and all that is left is the oral argument.
    As for that oral argument, it provides an opportunity for you to further explain your position and, most important, to answer any questions that the Justices may have. Most experienced appellate lawyers never waive the right to appear at an oral argument; in a case where the outcome is in doubt, it can make the difference.
    If you do not want to travel for the oral argument, you might attempt to retain an appellate attorney to appear for the sole purpose of arguing the case at the oral argument hearing. I have done so on occasion. See my website at

    Nothing contained in this communication is intended to be, or shall be deemed as, legal advice, counsel, or services to on or behalf of any person or any entity. Usage of the Avvo website is not intended to and shall not create any obligation or relationship between the user and the Law Office of Herb Fox, including but not limited to, an attorney-client relationship. Further, the communications on this website between you and the Law Office of Herb Fox may not be privileged or confidential. Finally, your situation may be governed by deadlines that may or may not have already lapsed, and you may lose your rights if you do or did not act within those deadlines.

  6. Mr. Fox is top notch. You should consider retaining him.

  7. Yes, the appellant always has the right to file a reply brief. Reply briefs are not required, but it is recommended that you file one. The time frame can be fairly short to file a reply brief. If you do not have time to prepare one, I would recommend requesting a stipulation for an extension from opposing counsel or applying to the Court of Appeal for additional time.

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