Filing Your Appeal - Pro Se - Extensions, Deadline and Responsibilities

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Extensions of time

In this circuit, extensions of time to file briefs are disfavored.   Unless the court has expressly ordered otherwise, a party can generally get one 30-day extension of time beyond the initial due date without much question.  Obtaining extensions of time beyond an initial 30-day extension is more difficult.  The court is even stricter about extensions on reply briefs, and will generally only allow a single 14-day extension from the initial due date.  Litigants should plan on getting their briefs finished and filed promptly.

Missed deadlines

If an appellant is given a deadline within which to file something and does not file it and also does not timely request an extension of time, the appeal may be dismissed.  If an order states it is a final deadline or that no further extensions of time will be allowed, parties should plan accordingly.

Filing responsibilities

A brief is deemed filed on the date it is post-marked for delivery.  Other forms of filings are not deemed filed until they are received in the clerk’s office.  The only exception to those rules is the “prison mailbox rule,” applicable only to those who are incarcerated.

A plaintiff-appellant need not serve copies of filings on the defendants if the district court never summoned the defendants to appear.  With that limited exception, all filings in this court must include a certificate of service at the end of the document stating that a copy of the brief or other filing was sent to counsel for all the opposing parties (or to the parties themselves if they don’t have counsel)  involved in the appeal.

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