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Why is appealing an anti-harassment order in Washington State so expensive? Is it basically the same in other states?

Seattle, WA |

I have a 1 yr. anti-harassment order issued by the King Co. Superior Court. If I understand correctly, I have no 12 day window to file an action to reconsider, because it was issued by an actual KCSC judge, as opposed to if it were issued in district court by a commissioner.
I understand I could file an appeal in appellate court, however I'm told that is costly (5-10$k), & they accept no new evidence or testimony; they only review the original hearing transcripts.
So why is it so expensive? Other than the filing fee itself, & my attorney's fee for filing on my behalf, does anyone have to do anything other than wait for an outcome? Am I paying for the court's actual expenses for time (wages) used to review the case? Could someone please breakdown the process & costs involved?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

The filing fees hardly pay anyone's salary at the courts. The filing fees are likely the only fees that would be paid to the court (unless the court imposes sanctions on a party).

The appeal court reads the transcript of the trial and other documents in the court file. Transcripts cost about 4 dollars a page. An hour of live testimony may come out to be over 100 pages of transcript. The transcripts are made by private (licensed) individuals hired by your attorney. The trial court charges money for making copies of the court documents.

Most of the cost of appealing likely is in attorney's fees. Because appellate work is specialized and there are relatively few attorneys that do appellate work, the fees for appellate attorneys are generally much higher than those of other attorneys.

The short time to prepare and file an appeal likely factors into how much an attorney charges.

"5-10$k" likely is at the low of end of fees in appellate courts.

The cost of appeals is why the parties should put all their efforts into trying the case at the trial court. While the losing party (actually either parties) can appeal if proper procedures are followed and get a reversal, the cost of appealing can be prohibitive.

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Posted

The answer from the prior attorney is good. If your anti-harassment order was entered by a King County Superior Court judge, you would have a period of 10 days to file a motion for reconsideration.

A portion of CR 59 which provides for recos set forth below. The time period for the motion is in paragraph (b). I would suggest that you contact a family law attorney and get a 30 minute free consultation. You may contact my office and I will be happy to discuss the issue with you right away.

RULE CR 59
NEW TRIAL, RECONSIDERATION, AND AMENDMENT
OF JUDGMENTS

(a) Grounds for New Trial or Reconsideration. On the motion of the
party aggrieved, a verdict may be vacated and a new trial granted to all or
any of the parties, and on all issues, or on some of the issues when such
issues are clearly and fairly separable and distinct, or any other decision
or order may be vacated and reconsideration granted. Such motion may be
granted for any one of the following causes materially affecting the
substantial rights of such parties:

(1) Irregularity in the proceedings of the court, jury or adverse
party, or any order of the court, or abuse of discretion, by which such
party was prevented from having a fair trial.

(2) Misconduct of prevailing party or jury; and whenever any one or
more of the jurors shall have been induced to assent to any general or
special verdict or to a finding on any question or questions submitted to
the jury by the court, other and different from his own conclusions, and
arrived at by a resort to the determination of chance or lot, such
misconduct may be proved by the affidavits of one or more of the jurors;

(3) Accident or surprise which ordinary prudence could not have guarded against;

(4) Newly discovered evidence, material for the party making the
application, which he could not with reasonable diligence have discovered
and produced at the trial;

(5) Damages so excessive or inadequate as unmistakably to indicate that
the verdict must have been the result of passion or prejudice;

(6) Error in the assessment of the amount of recovery whether too large
or too small, when the action is upon a contract, or for the injury or
detention of property;

(7) That there is no evidence or reasonable inference from the evidence
to justify the verdict or the decision, or that it is contrary to law;

(8) Error in law occurring at the trial and objected to at the time by
the party making the application; or

(9) That substantial justice has not been done.

(b) Time for Motion; Contents of Motion. A motion for a new trial or
for reconsideration shall be filed not later than 10 days after the entry
of the judgment, order, or other decision. The motion shall be noted at the
time it is filed, to be heard or otherwise considered within 30 days after
the entry of the judgment, order, or other decision, unless the court
directs otherwise. A motion for a new trial or for reconsideration shall
identify the specific reasons in fact and law as to each ground on which
the motion is based.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Pierce is licensed to practice law in Washing with an office in Seattle and services clients in all parts of Washington. He can be reached at 206-587-3757 or at the email address at piercefamilylaw.com Mr. Pierce is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Washington law. This response is only in the form of legal education and is intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Pierce strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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