How Long Does It Take to Appeal a Case to the Oregon Court of Appeals
An appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals has several stages each with their own timelines. These are:
- File a Notice of Appeal
You must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the date on which the judgment is entered. This time limit is absolute, cannot be extended and there are no excuses for missing the filing date. If the Notice of Appeal is not filed on time, your appeal will simply be dismissed.
- Court of Appeals Mediation
Most appeals are assigned to the Court of Appeals mediation program. When a case is assigned to the program it is automatically stayed for 240 days or until the case comes out of the program. A settlement conference statement will need to be filed by the party that is appealing. If both sides agree that mediation would not be useful, the case will be taken out of the program quickly. If one side wants mediation and one does not, you can be forced into mediation but usually only if the other side makes a good faith settlement proposal first. If both sides want mediation, a mediator will be assigned and the mediation will usually occur within about 60 days of the time when the case goes into the program. Scheduling problems sometimes delay this process for much longer. If the case settles, the appeal is over, If not, the case comes out of mediation and the time begins to run for the transcript.
- Preparing a Transcript
The Notice of Appeal must be served on the trial court transcript coordinator who will assign a court reporter to transcribe the hearing(s) in the case. If the case goes to mediation, this is stayed until the case comes out of mediation. Generally a transcript is due 30 days after the Notice of Appeal is filed or 30 days after the case comes out of mediation. The appellant pays the entire cost of the transcript directly to the court reporter and must do this before the court reporter begins work on the transcript.
- Settling the Transcript
If no one files a motion to correct the transcript, it is automatically deemed settled after 14 days. If a motion to correct is filed, the case can be delayed for months. Motions to correct are not filed in most appeals.
- Briefing Schedule
Once the transcript is deemed settled, the person appealing has 49 days to file their brief. The other party then has 49 days to file their Respondent's Brief and then the appealing party has 21 days to file a Reply Brief. It is easy to get extensions of time so the briefing schedule may actually take much longer than these dates indicate.
- Oral Argument
Once all the briefs are filed, the case is set for argument. At the time this is being written, the court is scheduling oral argument about five months after the last brief is filed. It is anticipated that in the Fall of 2013 additional judges will be added to the court and this time lag may return to the 60 days that was their general standard years ago.
- Decision from the Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals never decides cases at the time of oral argument. If they decide to affirm the case without opinion (a checkmark on a form that just says the trial court judgment will not be changed with no explanation), a decision can come down a few weeks after argument. If the Court of Appeals writes an opinion, the decision could be delayed from five months to a year. Again, the anticipated additional judges may greatly shorten this time line.