Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services Of Chicago

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: November 8, 2017
  • Case #: No. 16–658
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: GINSBURG, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court
  • Full Text Opinion

The 30-day deadline for extensions to file notices of appeal under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C) is a court-made rule and is, therefore, a claim-processing rule subject to waiver and forfeiture if the appellee does not raise it.

The federal district court entered final judgment for Respondents. Before Petitioner’s notice of appeal was due, her counsel withdrew and asked for an extension of time to file an appeal to allow Petitioner to hire new counsel. The district court granted a two-month extension despite the 30-day limit for extensions on notice of appeal filings, under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C). The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Petitioner’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction, under FRAP 4(a)(5)(C), because the appeal was untimely. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to clarify the difference between “jurisdictional” and “claim-processing” rules, previously discussed in Bowles v. Russell, 551 U. S. 205. The Court clarified that if a rule states a time limit expressed by statute, then the time limit is jurisdictional and may not be extended. In contrast, court-made time limits fall under two categories of claim-processing rules: (1) discretionary claim-processing rules, in which  time limits may be extended with a showing of good cause or excusable neglect; and (2) mandatory claim-processing rules, which are mandatory on their face, but can still be waived and forfeited if they are not timely raised by the opponent. The Court held that FRAP 4(a)(5)(C) is not jurisdictional because the time limit it contains is not statutorily based. Because the Seventh Circuit erroneously mistook a mandatory claim-processing rule for a jurisdictional rule, the Court sent the case back to resolve other issues on appeal. VACATED and REMANDED.

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