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Litigation Quick Take: Unfavorable Verdict - January 28, 2021

Joni L Ploeger


Q: I do not like the judge/jury’s verdict on a civil claim in district court. What are my options?

A: In some instances, you may want to file a motion to clarify the verdict, ask for a new trial, or ask for a judgment in your favor notwithstanding the verdict. However, most of the time your attorney will recommend filing a notice of appeal instead. Your attorney will know the deadline to appeal. 

The appeal is generally made to the Iowa Court of Appeals (an appeal directly to the Iowa Supreme Court rarely occurs). The parties will submit written briefs discussing why they believe the verdict was right or wrong, and most of the time, will also be granted the opportunity to make oral arguments to the appellate judges before they render a decision. 

If you do not like the decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals, the last avenue is to appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court. If the Iowa Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal, the decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals is final. If the Iowa Supreme Court hears the appeal, then its decision will be final. Like with an appeal to the Iowa Court of Appeals, written briefs are submitted and oral arguments are generally allowed. Like going to trial, the appeal process can be lengthy and can take months or years.  

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