An earlier post explained that the party taking the appeal is responsible to make sure that the Record on Appeal is complete. The appellate courts will likely affirm the lower court ruling if the Appellant does not give the appellate courts an adequate record to review. Beverly S. v. Kayla R., 395 S.C. 399, 718 S.E.2d 224 (Ct.App. 2011).
This post covers how to prepare the Record. The next one discusses what the Record may and may not include.
Mechanics on Preparing the Record
Preparing the record normally begins with ordering the hearing transcript from the court reporter. In appeals from civil cases, the party appealing has 10 days from serving the Notice of Appeal to order the transcripts required to support the appeal. A copy of the letter ordering the transcript must be furnished to the appellate court. Rule 207, SCACR.
Once the transcript is received, the party taking the appeal has 30 days to prepare an Initial Brief and file and serve a Designation of Matter to be Included in the Record on Appeal. Rule 209, SCACR. In preparing this Designation or list of materials to be added, the party taking the appeal needs to include everything that supports the statement of facts and arguments made, including where the arguments were made and ruled on in the trial court. Rule 208(b)(4), SCACR, require that the Initial Briefs cite to the Record, and the materials must normally be designated to cite to it.
After the party responding to the appeal receives the Appellant’s Initial Brief, he or she has 30 days to prepare a Respondent’s Brief and file and serve an additional Designation of Matter that he or she wants in the Record. Rule 209, SCACR.
The party taking the appeal then has 10 days to prepare any Reply Brief and designate any further materials for the Record. Rule 209, SCACR.
After all of the designations are in, the Appellant must gather together all of the materials designated by any of the parties, place these materials in a particular order, paginate the materials consecutively, and prepare a table of contents. Rule 210, SCACR. Counsel must also certify that the record contains all material proposed by any of the parties and not any other material, and include the certification in the Record. Rule 210(g), SCACR.
The parties then use the Record to prepare their Final Briefs. These Final Briefs cite to the new pagination in the Record on Appeal rather than the pagination on the original materials. Rule 211(b)(1), SCACR.
Tips on Preparing the Record
In preparing record designations, the temptation is to designate everything to avoid leaving anything out. Fight the temptation. When designating material, counsel must certify that the designation contains no matter which is irrelevant to the appeal. Rule 209(c), SCACR. It is unlikely that every page of a transcript is relevant, and designating material unnecessarily tees up a motion for costs. Under Rule 222(c), SCACR, a party harmed by having to include irrelevant material may recoup those costs.
Lastly, please make sure that you include the required certifications and that the Record’s cover lists the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all counsel of record. Unlike briefs, information on all counsel of record must be included. Rule 267(a), SCACR.
Does anyone have any interesting experiences in pulling together a Record on Appeal? Please let us know. You can reach me at www.attorneyroberthill.com.