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Suppose a party files a notice of appeal and gets an appeal brief due date and properly responds however the intended appellees ignore the notice of appeal aka do not respond to the notice of appeal - they do not give notice to the court that they will be participating in the appeal.

What would such an action as ignoring an appeal accomplish? What are some possible responses for the appellant? Could the appellant notice the court that the appellant has won by default? Do the appeal courts ignore the whole issue? Do the appeal courts rule on the paper (single brief) before them anyway? What kind of trick is this anyway?

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The other party, likely, believes one side or the other is sure to win.

What would such an action as ignoring an appeal accomplish?

They aren't answering because they feel that one side or the other is certain to win. That means either they feel their case is so airtight that it's not worth answering you or that you will win for sure, so it's not worth answering.

Sometimes the other side does not answer when your appeal is believed to be frivolous. If you are the one appealing you probably lost, so the other side may not believe your case has any chance.

Could the appellant notice the court that the appellant has won by default?

The court has to take into account prior appeals and how their ruling would support or conflict with prior case law. If there are tons of older cases that would go against what you are asking for, the court won't grant your appeal without a very good reason, because it would make that case law invalid.

That being said, some states have case law which says that if you do not contest an issue it is moot. The court could use that to prevent any new issues from being raised, but probably would not find in default on the whole of the case because it could set a precedent that the court does not want.

Do the appeal courts rule on the paper (single brief) before them anyway?

The appeals courts get the whole record of what happened in whatever court you were in. They will read your brief, but will also read what happened in the trial court and see if the actions of the judge and other parties were appropriate, so even if the other side does not respond, that doesn't mean only your brief will be taken into account.

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The appeal proceeds as normal

It will be decided on the trial judgement and the arguments presented by the appellate only since the respondent didn’t make any. While an advantage to the appellate, it’s not certain they will win as they still must demonstrate an error of law.

  • The appeals courts in America get the records from the original case. The case would not be decided only based on the arguments of one side, not matter what happened. – Putvi Dec 3 '19 at 19:27
  • @Putvi I'm not suggesting this is a 'good' answer in any way, but I do think when Dale said "... on the trial judgement..." he was referring to the trial court record. – A.fm. Dec 4 '19 at 2:17
  • @A.fm. he edited this answer to include that after I said that. – Putvi Dec 4 '19 at 20:12
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Specific answers to your questions...

What would such an action as ignoring an appeal accomplish?

Practically speaking, it could save you a bunch of money if you know and/or accept the imminent outcome and/or can't afford to proceed. Other than that, not much.

What are some possible responses for the appellant?

No response from the appellant would be needed. Once appellant has filed a Notice of Appeal and put the process in motion, the participation of appellee (and indeed of appellant) is based on filing necessary motions and/or documents by their proper deadlines.

Could the appellant notice the court that the appellant has won by default?

"Noticing" the Court of anything would be unnecessary. The Appeals Judge (and/or, often, the Clerk of the Appeals Court) would be aware of the failure of a party to file a brief or appendix, for example, and those instances would provide options moving forward.

Do the appeal courts ignore the whole issue?

No.

Do the appeal courts rule on the paper (single brief) before them anyway?

Yes and no. In terms of briefs, yes, they use the one brief that has been properly submitted. No, they don't use it exclusively. They also have a complete record, including transcripts, from the trial court and they may or may not hear one or both sides' oral arguments. Additionally, in any given appeals proceeding, there could be one or more of the following filed by one or more of the parties: brief, reply brief, appendix, motion, petition, notice, certification, application, or other document.

What kind of trick is this anyway?

No idea what you mean here.



Check the Rules...

Most often, all you need to know is contained in the particular jurisdiction's Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Court's local rules. The processes appeals litigants must adhere to, the ways in which they may do so, and the consequences for failing to do so can, of course,+ `a vary by jurisdiction. That said, here is a representation of the types of Rules which appear in American appellate courts:

If an appellant fails to file a brief within the time provided by this rule, or within an extended time, an appellee may move to dismiss the appeal. An appellee who fails to file a brief will not be heard at oral argument unless the court grants permission.

*Rule 31(c), Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure

If the appellant fails to file an initial brief, the clerk is authorized to dismiss the case.

Rule 31, Federal Circuit Rules

In Maryland, state regulations spell out the deadlines with which to file briefs and the reply brief. It also explicitly states what may happen if a party does not comply. MD Rules, Rule 8-502(a), (c).

The DC Court of Appeals (not federal) Rules, at Rule 13, state, regarding involuntary dismissal:

The court, sua sponte or upon motion of the appellee, with or without notice, may dismiss an appeal for failure to comply with a rule of this court or where otherwise warranted.



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