How to Reverse a Judgment

By JOHN S

If you are unhappy about the outcome of a civil case judgment against you, it may be possible to reverse it. Reversing a judgment entails appealing to a higher court, which may or may not overrule the previous decision. On the other hand, vacating a judgment involves suspending the judgment that was previously issued so that the judgment does not have to be obeyed at that time. Although appealing to reverse a judgment does not guarantee the defendant the result he seeks, it has proved successful in some cases.

File a motion to vacate a default judgment. This will make the issued judgment void until a final decision is made on reversing the actual judgment. A default judgment is issued against you if you did not show up in court for a case hearing. This type of judgment cannot be reversed or appealed but you may prepare and present an affidavit to the municipal court stating the reasons for missing the case hearing. Serve the opposing party with this affidavit too. If the court denies your motion, you can then proceed to the county court to appeal this denial.

File a Notice of Appeal with the municipal court that heard the civil case and issued the judgment. This is done to reverse an actual judgment and is usually required within 10 to 30 days of the ruling. Indicate the caption of the case in the notice, the docket number associated with that case, and a statement that you (the appellant) intend to appeal the decision of the court. Include your address and the address of the opposing party. Note that a filing fee is payable to the municipal court by certified check or money order.

Request a transcript of the trial from the court reporter or a recorded tape of the case from the municipal court if there was no reporter. Obtain a copy of the transcript for your records and file another copy to the municipal court to allow the court to proceed in filing for the Return on Appeal. For recorded tapes, hire a transcript service to transfer the audio material into a transcript.

Wait to be notified about the Return on Appeal file after the municipal court files it with the county clerk. The county clerk will notify the county court about the filed Return on Appeal, after which you (the appellant) and the opposing party will be notified that the Return has been filed.

Mail any additional documents as supporting evidence that the previous judgment on your civil case warrants a reversal. Ask the county court clerk's office about the procedure for submitting additional documents. Always provide to the opposing party any documents you provide to the court.

Wait to receive the final county court decision on the appeal to reverse the judgment. A document noting the decision will be mailed to the most recent address you provided to the county court.

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