If you have recently lost a case in civil court and had a judgment issued against you, you have the option of appealing that judgement. To appeal, the courts may notify you that you must put up an appeal bond, or, supersedeas bond. In many cases, you can appeal without appeal bonds; however, the plaintiff would then be free to execute the judgment against you.
Then, if you win the appeal, you would have the burden of recovering the money you paid the plaintiff, as well as any judgement amount against them upon conclusion of the appeal. This is where appeal bonds come in. Read on to find out, “What is an appeal bond?” and answers to other commonly asked questions about these types of surety bonds, including how much they cost and how they work.
What is an Appeal Bond?
Many may wonder, “What is an appeal bond?”, especially if this is the first judgment you have had issued against you. Appeal bonds, or, supersedeas bond, is type of surety that a defendant, in appealing a lower courts’ decision, presents to the courts to delay payment of a judgement until after the appeal has been heard by a higher court.
Since the chances of winning the appeal are often not very good, the supersedeas bond also ensures that the defendant is not merely delaying payment of a judgment or filing a frivolous appeal. The bond cost and risk of losing assets is significant enough to keep defendants who are not serious in their convictions about their case from appealing.
A plaintiff must wait ten days before executing a judgement against a plaintiff. During this time, if the defendant obtains a supersedeas bond, the plaintiff cannot execute judgement, even after this ten days. The judgment can then only be executed upon completion of the appeals process, if a defendant loses in the appellate court.
These types of sureties are normally much larger than the judgement amount, to cover future possible expenses, such as court costs, interest, and attorney’s fees. Though rates vary by state, all require only a portion of the full surety amount to secure them. Premiums typically range from 1% – 2% of the entire bond amount.
Many states have implemented a cap on the amount the defendant is required to pay. For instance, in Florida, the appellant can be required to pay no more than $50 million or post no more than that amount in an appeal bond upon appealing the lower court’s decision.
In addition to the premium, defendants are also required to present collateral in the full bond amount. This collateral could be investments, real estate, or other types of assets that ensure the complainant can be made whole should the defendant go bankrupt upon losing the appeal.
How Do Appeal Bonds Work?
After losing a case in civil court, a defendant has the right to appeal the case to a higher court. In most cases, the litigant must either pay a cash amount to the court or present a supersedeas bond. The litigant would then call a surety company or surety agent to begin the process. The involved surety will ask for certain paperwork, such as a bond form acceptable by the court, proof of collateral, and, also, a premium cash payment for the bond.
Because collateral is posted, if a defendant loses the appeal, the plaintiff can seize their collateral if the litigant cannot or will not pay. Appeals can take years, and defendants are often bankrupt by the end of the appeals process. The supersedeas bond, with its associated collateral, ensures that the plaintiff can still be made whole. The decision rendered by the lower court and appellate courts can be executed, and the plaintiff can be assured receipt of what is due, even if the defendant is insolvent.
How do I get a Supersedeas Bond?
To get supersedeas bonds, you need to contact a surety agent, such as Surety by NFP. The surety company will need a copy of the judgment against you, as well as either a blank appeal bonds form or a copy of a completed supersedeas bonds form the courts have accepted in the past. If neither are available, NFP can produce the bond form for you.
You will also need cash or credit card to pay your bond premium. The premium is a portion of the full surety bond amount that must be paid to obtain the bond. Fill out our form online or contact us to get the process started. In most cases, NFP Surety can have your bond application completed within two days.
What if I win my Appeal?
If you win your appeal, your bond premium is non-refundable. Without the bond, though, you would be responsible for recovering any monies you paid out in a judgment that has now been reversed.
What if I Lose my Appeal?
If you lose your appeal, either you or the surety will pay the courts the full bond amount, including the amount of any judgement. If you cannot or are unable to pay, the collateral you presented upon purchasing the bond will be seized and signed over to the complainant. In cases where the surety pays the full bond amount and you must repay the surety, failure to pay the surety will result in a surety taking the assets and could result in further judgements.
The decision to appeal a case should not be taken lightly. Appellate cases can take years to be fully heard and can be hard to win. Supersedeas bonds ensures that the litigant is serious about the appeals process and that the complainant can be made whole should the appellate court rule in the complainant’s favor. Although bond premiums are non-refundable, they are still cheaper than pursuing return of a paid judgment that has been reversed by a higher court.
For more information on appeals bonds or sureties, contact NFP Surety, at 1-800-863-3210. Alternatively, you can read our blog to learn more.