September 01, 2015

Will Your Writ Petition Survive the Appellate Emergency Room?

Kent L. Richland

If you are an experienced litigator, this has happened to you. The trial judge has largely gutted your case with a flagrantly erroneous pretrial ruling. Because there’s no final judgment, there’s no right to immediate appeal. You are left with an unpalatable trilemma: Ask the judge to reconsider (fat chance!), go through a whole trial and then appeal, or file a writ petition in an appellate court. You’ve heard writ review is tough to get, but (1) realistically, this judge will not reconsider, (2) going to trial is extremely expensive, and (3) anyway, your case is different—a first-week law student could see how badly the trial judge blew it.

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