The first procedural step is to file the notice of appeal. This is filed in the trial court — and it must be done within a specified time. If a party is late, the Court of Appeal will have no jurisdiction and the matter will never be heard. The importance of a timely filing cannot be overstated — although there is some degree of flexibility with respect to deadlines going forward, there is no flexibility whatsoever in the initial deadline to start the appeal.
Determining the deadline for filing the notice of appeal can be tricky. There are various possible deadlines depending on how the judgment being appealed was noticed to the parties and also on whether post-trial motions were filed.
Rule 8.104 of the California Rules of Court defines what it terms the “normal” deadline in state court as the earliest of: (1) 60 days after the superior court clerk mails the party filing the notice of appeal a document entitled “Notice of Entry” of judgment or a file-stamped copy of the judgment, showing the date either was mailed; (2) 60 days after the party filing the notice of appeal serves or is served by a party with a document entitled “Notice of Entry” of judgment or a file-stamped copy of the judgment, accompanied by proof of service; or (3) 180 days after entry of judgment.