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Starting an Appeal - the Notice of Appeal


To file an appeal, a party must file a Notice of Appeal with the clerk of the trial court.  App.R. 3.  The Notice of Appeal generally must be filed within 30 days of the date of the judgment the appellant wants to appeal.  App.R. 4.  There may be exceptions to the 30-day limit contained in Appellate Rule 4.


There are terms used in this Guide that have special meanings.  An "appellant" is any person who has filed a Notice of Appeal.  Local Rule 1(B)(1).  An "appellee" is any party to the trial court case who the appellant indicates is an appellee on the docketing statement.  Local Rule 1(B)(2).  If the appellant does not name a party as an appellee, that party may file a motion asking the Court of Appeals to treat the party as an appellee during the appeal.


The appellant must file several documents to start an appeal:

You can find form and sample documents here.


Important Reminders


The appellant must file the Notice of Appeal, Docketing Statement, and Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis, or pay the cost deposit, in the trial court.  The parties must file just about everything after that with the clerk of courts for the county in which the appeal originated (there are several specific motions that are filed with the trial court, like a motion to prepare a transcript of proceedings at state's expense).


For example, if a party appeals from a decision of the Stow Municipal Court, the appellant must file the Notice of Appeal, Docketing Statement, and Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis in the Stow Municipal Court clerk's office.  If a party later wants to file a motion, for example, asking for additional time to file a brief, that motion must be filed in the Summit County Clerk of Courts, Appellate Division.  If the appeal is from the Avon Lake Municipal Court in Lorain County, however, appellate court pleadings would need to be filed in the Lorain County Clerk of Courts.  You can find the addresses of the Clerks' offices here.


A party filing any document after the Notice of Appeal and Docketing Statement (both of which are served by the clerk of courts) must serve the document on all parties to the appeal and must include proof of service in the pleading.  App.R. 13(D).  If there is no proof of service, the Court of Appeals cannot consider the document.


The appellant must pay the cost deposit at the time the Notice of Appeal is filed.  If the appellant cannot afford the cost deposit, the appellant may file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, which asks this Court to waive the filing of the cost deposit.  The motion must have an affidavit of indigence attached to it and the affidavit must be notarized.  If the motion is granted, the appellant does not have to pay the cost deposit.  If the Court grants the motion, this only means that the cost deposit does not have to be paid when the appeal is started, but one or both parties will still be liable to pay the costs of the appeal at the end of the case.  Local Rule 2(C).  In addition to the appellate court's cost deposit, some trial courts have adopted a fee for filing a notice of appeal, so you will need to check with the clerk of the trial court about any additional fees involved in filing a notice of appeal.


Finally, if you do not file a required document, make a mistake in how you prepare a document, or do not pay the cost deposit or ask for the deposit to be waived, the Court of Appeals will file an order telling you what the problem is and give you a deadline to correct it.  If you do not respond to the order, your appeal may be dismissed.



After these steps are taken, the appellant must make sure the record on appeal is filed.  GO TO RECORD