My colleague Aaron McLeod has written a fine article with the appropriate title “How to Write So Judges Will Like You.” Aaron researched this article by interviewing over a dozen judges and has distilled their responses in the article. To read it in PDF, follow this link.
Louisiana has a unique procedure for an appellee to take a cross-appeal against the appellant. It’s called an answer to the appeal, and it’s authorized by La. Code Civ. P. art. 2133(A). Under art. 2133(A), the answer must be filed “not later than fifteen days after the return day or the lodging of the record[,] whichever is later.”
Most lawyers reading art. 2133(A) would file the answer in the court of appeal after the record has been lodged and before the 15-day deadline. But occasionally, a litigant files the answer to the appeal in the trial court, before the record is lodged in the court of appeal. Is that okay? Yes it is, at least in the First Circuit. See Poole v. Fuselier, 2015-1317, pp. 9–11 (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/28/16), 213 So. 3d 18, 24–25. Poole contains a lengthy discussion of this issue, including citations to concurring cases in the Fourth and Fifth Circuits and two contrary cases from the Third Circuit.
Speaking of answers, remember that they are only effective to obtain relief against the appellant. They are not effective to obtain relief against any other parties in the case. To get relief against anyone other than an appellant, you need to move for and obtain your own order of appeal. On that topic, see this blog post.
At a recent seminar in Texas, Judge Stephen Higginson (5th Circuit) offered six tips for appellate advocates. David Lat of Above the Law was there to write them down. To read them, follow this link; your time reading them will be well spent.
Can the applicant (after a writ grant) or an appellant in the Louisiana Supreme Court file a reply brief, responding to the brief of the respondent or appellee? The answer is “yes.” While LASC Rule VII makes no explicit provision for a reply brief, Rule VII § 11.1 allows parties to file “supplemental briefs on the merits” any time before the case is argued or submitted. Most lawyers use this rubric as authorization for a reply brief. Yesterday, I came across an LASC decision blessing this practice. In Shane v. Parish of Jefferson, the Court said, “The filing of a reply brief was intended to be included within the purview of ‘[s]upplemental briefs on the merits,’ as stated in this court’s Rule VII, § 11.1.” Shane v. Parish of Jefferson, 2014-2225, p. 8 (La. 12/8/15), 209 So. 3d 726, 734 (brackets by the Court).