When Can a Losing Party Appeal in an Indiana State Trial Court?

A losing party in an Indiana trial court can appeal a judgment or order under certain circumstances. Generally, a final judgment in any type of case can be appealed to either the Court of Appeals, Tax Court, or the Indiana Supreme Court, whichever has jurisdiction. Some judgments that are not final may be appealed through the interlocutory appeal process either by right, or with the permission of the trial court and acceptance by the appellate court. This blog discusses when a losing party can appeal in an Indiana state trial court. 

Whenever a party is unhappy with a final judgment or order of an Indiana trial court, they may take an appeal as a matter of right to the appellate court with jurisdiction, except that the state may not appeal a sentence in a criminal case (Ind. App. R. 7). A final judgement or order is one that disposes of all issues in the case (Ind. App. R. 2(H)). The Indiana Supreme Court has mandatory and exclusive jurisdiction over cases in which the sentence was death or life imprisonment, where a state or federal statute was declared unconstitutional, either in whole or in part, and when a waiver of parental consent to abortion is involved, as well as appeals involving mandate of funds to certain courts (Ind. App. R. 4(A)(1)). It may also exercise discretionary jurisdiction when granting transfer of a case already decided by the Indiana Court of Appeals (Ind. App. R. 4(A)(2)). All other appeals, except those involving tax issues with the Indiana Department of Revenue (Indiana Tax Court), go to the Indiana Court of Appeals (Ind. App. R. 5). 

When an orders or judgment is issued before the final judgment an appeal may be taken as a matter of right when the issue involve (1) The payment of money; (2) The execution of any document; (3) The delivery or assignment of any securities, evidence of debt, documents or things in action; (4) The sale or delivery of the possession of real property; (5) The granting or refusal to grant, dissolving, or refusal to dissolve a preliminary injunction; (6) Appointment or refusal to appoint a receiver, or revoking or refusing to revoke the appointment of a receiver;

(7) A writ of habeas corpus not otherwise authorized to be taken directly to the Supreme Court; (8) Transferring or refusing to transfer a case under Trial Rule 75; and (9) An order issued by an Administrative Agency that by statute is expressly required to be appealed as a mandatory interlocutory appeal (Ind. App. R. 14(A)). All other issues on interlocutory appeal require the permission of the trial court and acceptance of the appeal by the appellate court (Ind. App. R. 14(B)).

Appeals taken as a matter of right, such as those from a final judgement or order, must be heard by the appellate court with jurisdiction, as Article VII, Section 6 of the Indiana Constitution guarantees all parties an absolute right to one appeal in all cases (CITATION?). This appeal of right, however, must be from a final order, unless it falls under one of the nine interlocutory appeal issues that must be heard by the appellate court. In Indiana News Papers, Inc., the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal stating that, “the Indiana Constitution guarantees an absolute right to one appeal in all cases, not from all orders” and finding that the order Indiana News Papers, Inc. was appealing was not a final order and did not involve any of the nine issues giving a party an interlocutory right of appeal. Indiana News Papers, Inc. requested transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court who subsequently vacated the transfer and upheld the Court of Appeals decision (Ind. Newspapers, Inc. v. Miller, 994 N.E.2d 731 (Ind. 2013)). 

The Indiana Supreme Court almost always has discretionary jurisdiction and many times will not review a case when it is not required to, unless the issue is a matter of first impression, or one which a court has never considered ( The Indiana Supreme Court is the court of last resort on the interpretation of Indiana’s laws, its constitution, and the safeguards expressed in our state’s bill of rights (Indiana Supreme Court). Parties who disagree with a court of appeals decision may request transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court to review the court of appeals order, however, as you can see, the supreme court is not required to accept jurisdiction and may decline to review the case, upholding the court of appeals decision. 

This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. The blog is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.


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