Appellate attorneys suggest that you start thinking about the appeal of your client’s case from the moment you file the initial pleading. The reality is that a lot of lawyers don’t start thinking about the appeal until they are drafting the notice of appeal. If that’s you, then these ten tips are meant to help when you’re preparing your next notice of appeal. Although not an exhaustive list of the steps necessary to properly file a notice of appeal, these ten tips will help you jump-start your review of some of the relevant rules.
- The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date the judgment from which you are appealing is entered, and not the date from which it was signed. See Ark. R. App. P.–Civil 4(a).
- If the notice of appeal is filed after the circuit court announces its decision, but prior to the entry of the final judgment, your notice of appeal will be treated as though it was filed on the day after the judgment is entered. See Ark. R. App. P.–Civil 4(a).
- Effective July 1, 2010, the notice of appeal is required to state, among other things, that “the appealing party abandons any pending but unresolved claim.” Ark. R. App. P.–Civil 3(e)(vi); see also Ark. R. Civ. P. 54(b); see also The Rule 54(b) Trap: Dealing with Non-final Orders in Cases with Multiple Claims or Multiple Parties.
- The notice of appeal must designate the specific judgment or judgments from which the appealing party is appealing. See Ark. R. App. P.–Civil 3(e)(ii); see also, e.g., Hall v. Arkansas Dept. of Human Services, 101 Ark. App. 417, 278 S.W.3d 609 (2008) (holding that orders not mentioned in the notice of appeal are not properly before the appellate court).
- You must contact the Court Reporter to make financial arrangements to pay for the transcript prior to stating that you have done so in the notice of appeal—and, it’s a good idea to follow up with a letter or email acknowledging that you have done so. See Ark. R. App. P–Civil 3(e)(iv).
- The notice of appeal can state that you are appealing directly to the Arkansas Supreme Court, but only in appropriate cases. See Ark. R. App. P–Civil 3(e)(v); see also Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 1-2(a).
- You are required to serve a copy of the notice of appeal or notice of cross-appeal upon counsel for all other parties by a form of mail that requires a signed receipt (and not by regular first class mail). Don’t forget to change your certificate of service to indicate that you have complied with this rule. See Ark. R. App. P.–Civil 3(f).
- If the appellant does not designate the entire record and all the proceedings and evidence in his case, then, in addition to the notice of appeal and designation of record, he is required to also serve a concise statement of the points on which he intends to rely on the appeal. See Ark. R. App. P.–Civil 3(g).
- The timely filing of a notice of appeal is jurisdictional; thus, the appellate court is required to raise the issue of subject-matter jurisdiction on its own motion. See, e.g., Stacks v. Marks, 354 Ark. 594, 127 S.W.3d 483 (2003) (appeal dismissed where the Court determined on its own motion that the notice of appeal was untimely).
- Notices of appeal in the context of post-judgment motions can be tricky, tricky, tricky. There is no one rule or tip to summarize the variety of problems that can arise when trying to properly file a notice of appeal in the context of post-judgment motions. If you plan to file any post-judgment motions in your client’s case, don’t do so before you carefully study the rules and case law with respect to how those motions can affect the deadlines for properly filing the notice of appeal.
Originally published in the Volume 15, Issue #2 of the Arkansas Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section newsletter, In Brief, available at the following link: http://issuu.com/arkansas_bar_association/docs/inbrief_spring11?mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true. Republished here with permission.