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Can I Get an Extension on the 30-Day Limit to File an Appeal in a Federal Civil Case?

After an entry of order or judgment is entered in a federal court in a civil lawsuit, either party has 30 days from that date to file a notice of appeal to have the case reviewed by an appeals outcome for error. Thirty days can obviously go by quickly, and the decision on whether to appeal or not is an important and often complicated issue. Thus, the question often arises whether either party has the ability to file a notice of appeal even after those 30 days are up. The answer is yes in some cases, although parties are still encouraged to file within the 30-day limit wherever possible.

Asking the Appeals Court for an Extension of the 30-Day Limit

While either party can appeal a civil court decision as a matter of right within 30 days – which means that the court cannot reject hearing the appeal if filed within that time – the appeals court will exercise discretion in determining whether parties should receive an extension of that 30-day window.

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party can move to appeal the case within an additional 30-day window after the initial 30 days expired, but will have to persuade the court that there was “excusable neglect” or “good cause” which prevented the party from filing the notice of appeal on time. Any number of factors might qualify as excusable neglect or good cause, and an experienced appeals attorney can make your best case on this issue.

Aside from the court exercising discretion in allowing such an appeal, filing a notice of appeal via a time extension also requires notice to be given to the other party, which is not the case otherwise.

Asking the Court to Reopen the Time to File an Appeal

A party may still attempt to appeal a case even after the second 30-day period has passed by asking the court to reopen the time to file an appeal for 14 days, but will have to persuade the court of the following three criteria:

  • They did not receive notice of the entry of judgment or order within 21 days of its entry;
  • The motion is being entered within 14 days of receiving the notice or within 180 days of its entry, whichever is earlier; and
  • That no party will be prejudiced by reopening the time to file

Talk to an experienced appeals attorney regarding likelihood of success with filing an appeal after the initial 30-day limit has passed.

Legal Assistance With Federal and State Civil Appeals

The Law Office of Corey Evan Parker is focused on the civil and criminal appeals process in Washington and California. If you are considering filing a criminal or civil appeal, feel free to contact Mr. Parker today for a no obligation 30 minute consultation.