Incorrectly Coded Notice Of Appeal Sufficient To Give Federal Appellate Court Jurisdiction

Summary judgment was entered against Scot Vince in his civil rights action against Rock County, Wisconsin. Using the court’s mandatory electronic filing system, Vince’s lawyer filed a notice of appeal on the last day allowed by the rule. The system requires an event code for each document filed. Vince’s lawyer identified the notice of appeal with the wrong code.

Three days later, the clerk of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals discovered the mistake and notified Vince’s lawyer. He was directed to file the document again with the correct code. He did so three days later.

So the issue was whether the notice of appeal was timely filed. If the court would accept the first notice, incorrectly coded, then jurisdiction would be established and the appeal could go forward. If only the re-filed notice, correctly coded but filed six days after the deadline, were accepted, then the appellate court would be deprived of jurisdiction to consider the appeal.

The federal appellate court accepted the first notice of appeal because the coding mistake “was an error of form.” The filing was not “so riddled with errors that it cannot fairly be considered a notice of appeal.”

Read the whole case, Vince v. Rock County, Wisconsin, No. 10-1659 (5/3/10), by clicking here.