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Time to Appeal in Civil Cases- FAQs

What does the term "appeal period" mean?

How do I find out what the appeal period is in my case?

Is the time to appeal a judgment the same as the time to appeal an order?

What is meant by "entry of the judgment?"

What is meant by "written notice of filing" of an order?

Is the appeal time extended if a motion is brought requesting that the district judge change the decision?

If the appeal period is about to expire but I need more time to prepare the appeal papers, can the Court of Appeals grant an extension?

How do I calculate the appeal period?

What does the term "appeal period" mean?

The "appeal period" is the deadline for seeking review in the Court of Appeals of an appealable order or judgment

If the order or judgment you want to challenge is appealable, there is only a limited time to start the appeal process.  The necessary appeal papers must be served on the other parties to the case and they must be filed with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts before the appeal period is over.

How do I find out what the appeal period is in my case?

Generally, in civil cases, the time limits for appeal are set out in rule 104.01 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure (abbreviated as "Minn. R. Civ. App. P.").  But if the Legislature has passed a law governing the type of proceeding with which you are involved, the law may also impose a different appeal period, which would then apply, instead of rule 104.01.

If there is a statute or court rule governing the type of proceeding involved in your case, you must check the statute or court rule carefully to see whether the statute or rule sets out the time to bring an appeal.  Usually, the statutory appeal periods are shorter than the periods set out under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 104.01.  For example, in eviction actions, the time to appeal a judgment of recovery expires 10 days after judgment is entered.  See Minn. Stat. § 504B.371, subd. 2.

Is the time to appeal a judgment the same as the time to appeal an order?

Yes and no.  Under rule 104.01, the appeal period for both orders and judgments is 60 days, but the 60-day period is counted differently when an appeal is taken from an order rather than a judgment.  Generally, an appeal from an order must be taken within 60 days after service by any party of written notice of the filing of the order, but an appeal from a judgment must be taken within 60 days after the district court administrator enters the judgment.

What is meant by "entry of the judgment?"

The district court administrator enters judgment on certain types of orders.  This may be done by preparing a separate document entitled "judgment" or "judgment roll" or by certifying on the order itself that judgment has been entered.  Usually, the certification consists of a sentence along these lines: "I hereby certify that the above findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order for judgment constitute the judgment of the court."  The court administrator signs and dates the certification.  No judgment has been "entered" until the court administrator signs and dates the document.

Under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 104.01, subd. 1, the 60 days to appeal from a judgment starts when the district court administrator enters the judgment.  In most cases, this is true even if no one gives you notice that the judgment was entered.  You must check the statutes and court rules that govern your case to see if a different appeal period applies.  Once the appeal period has expired, the Court cannot extend the time or accept a late appeal in a civil case for any reason.

What is meant by "written notice of filing" of an order?

Filing occurs when the district court administrator officially makes the order part of the record.  The administrator will stamp the order with the date of filing.  The administrator may file the order on the same day that the district court judge signs it, but sometimes the order is not filed until later.

A "notice of filing" is a separate document that must, at a minimum, notify the recipient what it is that has been filed and the date of filing.

Under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 104.01, subdivision 1, an appeal from an appealable order must be filed and served within 60 days after service by any party of written notice of the filing of the order.  A "party" is a person or entity who participated in the district court proceeding.  The district court administrator is not a party, so generally a notice from the court administrator about the filing of an order does not start the appeal time.  An important exception to this rule is that in appeals from child support orders in the expedited support process, the court administrator's service of notice of filing of the order does start the appeal time.  See Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 378.01.

You do not need to wait until a party serves written notice of filing of an appealable order to file your appeal, but under rule 104.01, subdivision 1, if any party serves a written notice of filing of the order, then the appeal period will end in 60 days.

Service of a document may be made either personally, by United States mail, or by facsimile transmission, if the parties agree.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 125.03.

If the appeal period is counted from a party's service of notice of filing (as it is with most orders), and the notice of filing is served by mail, three days are added to the prescribed period, but the time must be counted from the date the notice was mailed, not the date of receipt.  Therefore, in most types of civil cases, if any party serves written notice of filing of an appealable order by mail, the appeal period expires 63 days after the date the notice was mailed.  If the appeal is not served and filed within that time, it cannot be considered by the Court.

Is the appeal time extended if a motion is brought requesting that the district judge change the decision?

Yes, but only for certain types of motions, if the motions are both proper and timely.  Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 104.01, subd. 2, lists the motions that extend the appeal time.  These include motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict under Minn. R. Civ. P. 50.02, to amend or make findings of fact under Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.02, for a new trial under Minn. R. Civ. P. 59, and for relief under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60 if the motion is filed within the time for a motion for a new trial.  Motions other than the ones listed in rule 104.01 will not extend the appeal period.

A proper and timely motion of the type specified in Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 104.01, subd. 2, extends the appeal period for all parties.  An appeal that is filed while any of these motions are still pending in the district court will be dismissed as premature.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 104.01, subd. 3.  A new appeal must be filed within the appeal period that applies to the order or judgment being challenged, and that appeal period must be counted from the service of notice of filing of the order disposing of the motion listed in rule 104.01.

The motion must be timely for it to extend the appeal period.  Note that the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure (Minn. R. Civ. P.) provide strict limitations on when motions for amended findings or a new trial must be served and heard.  See Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.02, 59.03.

Sometimes, parties will bring motions asking the district court judge to "reconsider" a decision.  The general rules of practice for the district courts (abbreviated as "Minn. R. Gen. Pract.") do not allow motions to reconsider, except when the court grants permission to bring such a motion, based on a showing of compelling circumstances.  See Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 115.11.  Even in the rare case where the judge gives a party permission to bring a motion for reconsideration, that motion will not extend the appeal time, because motions for reconsideration are not included on the list of motions in rule 104.01 that extend the appeal time.

If the appeal period is about to expire but I need more time to prepare the appeal papers, can the Court of Appeals grant an extension?

No. The Court cannot extend the time to serve and file an appeal in a civil case.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 126.02.  Even if there are good reasons, the Court cannot accept a late appeal.

How do I calculate the appeal period?

Do not count the day of the event that starts the time period (the date of service of notice of filing of the district court's order, the date of entry of the judgment), but start counting the next day.  Continue counting calendar days.  Do not skip weekends or legal holidays, UNLESS the last day of the period falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday.  Then the deadline is the next business day.