Iowa Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal for Failure to File Timely Notice

  • Jan 25, 2019

On January 18, 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court, in Evenson v. Winnebago Industries, Inc., No. 17-1419 (Jan. 18, 2019), issued a finding that the Court was without subject matter jurisdiction to hear an appeal due to the claimant’s late filing of the notice of appeal with the district court.

This appeal concerned a dispute over workers’ compensation penalty benefits. The Court noted the following timeline of relevant events:

  • On August 25, 2017, the district court filed its ruling on judicial review.
  • On September 5, 2017, Evenson’s counsel served a notice of appeal on opposing counsel and filed the notice with the Clerk of the Supreme Court on September 6. Counsel captioned the notice of appeal for Winnebago County but never filed the notice with the Winnebago County Clerk of Court.
  • On September 7, 2017, Evenson served a second notice of appeal on opposing counsel and filed the appeal with the Supreme Court clerk on the same day. He captioned the second notice for Polk County but never filed the second notice with the Polk County Clerk of Court.
  • On January 29, 2018, Evenson filed a corrected notice of appeal with the Polk County Clerk of Court. On the same day, he also filed the corrected notice with the Clerk of the Supreme Court and served it on opposing counsel.

On behalf of Winnebago Industries, Peddicord attorneys, Steve Durick, Joe Barron and Kathryn Johnson, filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that Appellant failed to timely file his notice of appeal with the district court.

The Iowa Rules of Appellate Procedure provide in relevant part that “[a] notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after the filing of the final order or judgment.” Iowa R. App. P. 6.101(1)(b). The rules provide that the filing deadline for a notice of appeal is tolled by timely service. Id. r. 6.101(4). The rule states, “The time for filing a notice of appeal is tolled when the notice is served, provided the notice is filed with the district court clerk within a reasonable time.” The Court defined a “reasonable time” as “such time as is necessary, under the circumstances, for a reasonably prudent and diligent man to do conveniently what the contract or duty requires . . . for the rights, and possibly the loss if any to the other party affected.” The Court also noted that the Iowa Rules of Electronic Procedure do not affect court deadlines contained in the Appellate Rules.

The Supreme Court agreed with Appellees, that a 144-day delay between service and filing of the notice of appeal was unreasonable. The Court dismissed the appeal, holding that Appellant failed to file a timely notice of appeal, which left the Court without subject matter jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

 

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