Handling appeals on behalf of homeowners is an enjoyable and important aspect of my foreclosure defense practice. You see, it’s one thing to go into court and make good arguments; it’s another for that judge to know you can prosecute an appeal (and win) if the judge doesn’t follow the law. Just the other day, for instance, I cited a published appellate decision to a trial judge. I was the counsel in that appeal, she was the judge, and her ruling was reversed. Being able to do that is invaluable.
Anyway, this post isn’t being written to brag. If anything, it’s precisely the opposite.
Handling appeals is hard. Really hard. No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose some that you’re convinced you should have won. That’s frustrating enough, but it’s 10 times worse when you lose via a “PCA.” That’s when an appellate court does not write a written opinion, but simply issues a “Per Curiam Affirmed” decision which approves the lower court’s ruling without explanation.
Read more -> The Anatomy of a PCA – Stopa Law Firm Stopa Law Firm.
When one is in litigation, one expects to be heard. There are two opposing arguments. Each party’s argument has its own validity requiring validation from the court. Whether or not your arguments are correct is beside the point. You just want your opinion heard, A PCA is basically the court telling you that your argument does not matter enough to them to write why the court believes you are wrong. That is why when a party receives a PCA without opinion it is difficult to accept. There is no closure. There is no reasoning as to why your arguments are wrong. The PCA is disrespectful. It leaves a party feeling helpless and insignificant.
For a better understanding of the advserse psychological ramifications of a PCA without written opinion, read Amy D. Ronner and Bruce J. Winick, Silencing the Appellant’s Voice: The Antitherapeutic Per Curiam Affirmance, 24 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 499 (2000)