The first thing that needs to happen is that there needs to be an appealable order or judgment. Something most people don’t understand is that few decisions are immediately appealable. Despite the fact that many decisions, practically speaking, decide the case, they typically cannot be appealed until there is a final judgment, meaning the case is actually done with nothing more to do in the district court.

Next, the issues need to be preserved for appeal. This is something your attorney needs to do while the matter is in the district court. Unfortunately, many attorneys do not preserve issues, and issues that have not been preserved cannot be raised on appeal.

Then, the appeal needs to be filed in a timely fashion. In Minnesota, getting the appeal filed on time is jurisdictional, meaning you forfeit the appeal if it isn’t filed on time. At the time the appeal is being filed, you need to consider whether you want to post a supersedeas bond. If there was not a judgment entered against you, then this is irrelevant. However, if there is a judgment entered against you ordering you to pay money to the other side, the other side can attempt to collect during the appeal period unless you post a supersedeas bond.

The amount of this bond is determined by the district court and is required to be enough to protectthe party that prevailed with the district court. Once the appeal is filed and the supersedeas bond, if any, is squared away, there is a great deal of waiting involved. Appeals often take the better part of a year, and there is really very little for the party to do in that time. As a result, appeals can become, in many ways, a test of patience.

Of course, this may not be the end of the road. Once the court of appeals decides, an appeal can be made to the supreme court, but the supreme court is not obligated to accept the appeal and usually does not. Besides the potential of going to the supreme court, the case may also continue at the district court; often the court of appeals does not end the matter but, instead, sends it back to the district court for further proceedings.