When dealing with appeals, adhering to deadlines is crucial to avoid serious consequences. Various deadlines govern different stages of the appellate process, ensuring that parties submit necessary documents and motions within specified time frames. In this article, we will outline the key deadlines to keep in mind when handling an appeal, focusing on Texas rules and procedures.
Request for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
- Deadline to file a request: The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (TRCP 296) state that a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law should be filed within twenty days after the trial court signs its judgment.
- Deadline for the trial court judge: The judge has twenty days to file findings and conclusions after a party requests them (TRCP 297).
- Notice of past-due findings and conclusions: If the judge misses the deadline, the requesting party must file a notice of past-due findings and conclusions within thirty days after filing the original request (TRCP 297).
- Request for additional or amended findings: If needed, a party may file a request for additional or amended findings within ten days after the judge files the original findings and conclusions (TRCP 298).
- Exception for interlocutory appeals: When an appeal from an interlocutory order is permitted, the trial court is not required to file findings and conclusions (TRAP 28.1(c)).
- Motion for new trial or to modify, correct, or reform the judgment: The deadline to file such a motion is thirty days after the trial court signs the judgment (TRCP 329b(a)).
- Overruling of the motion by operation of law: If the trial court has not signed an order on the motion by the 75th day after the judgment was signed, the motion is overruled by operation of law (TRCP 329b(c)).
- Loss of plenary power: If the motion has been denied or overruled, the trial court loses plenary power over the judgment thirty days after the motion was denied or overruled, even if a notice of appeal has been filed (TRCP 329b(e)).
Notice of Appeal
- General deadline: The deadline to file a notice of appeal is usually 30 days after the judgment was signed (TRAP 26.1).
- Deadline with a deadline-extending document: If a deadline-extending document, like a motion for new trial, was timely filed, the deadline for the notice of appeal is generally extended to 90 days after the judgment (TRAP 26.1).
- Accelerated appeal: In an accelerated appeal, the deadline to file a notice of appeal is twenty days after the judgment or order was signed, without extension (TRAP 26.1(b)).
- Restricted appeal: For a restricted appeal, the deadline to file a notice of appeal is always six months after the judgment (TRAP 26.1(c)).
- Filing notice of appeal after another party: If one party files a timely notice of appeal, other parties have fourteen days after the first notice of appeal to file their own (TRAP 26.1(d)).
- Extension of the deadline: A party may file a notice of appeal and a motion to extend the deadline within fifteen days after the notice of appeal was due (TRAP 26.3).
- Filing the docketing statement: An appellant should file a docketing statement upon perfection of the appeal. However, it is common practice to file it after the notice of appeal. The court of appeals may set a deadline for filing the docketing statement, typically around ten days after the notice of appeal is filed (TRAP 32.1).
- Appellate Briefs
- Deadline for the appellant’s brief: Generally, the deadline for the appellant to file their brief is thirty days after the clerk’s record or reporter’s record was filed, whichever is later (TRAP 38.6(a)).
- Deadline for the appellee’s brief: The appellee’s brief is generally due thirty days after the appellant’s brief was filed (TRAP 38.6(b)).
- Deadline for the appellant’s reply brief: The appellant’s reply brief is due twenty days after the appellee’s brief was filed (TRAP 38.6(c)).
- Extension of brief filing deadlines: The court of appeals may grant an extension upon consideration of a motion to do so (TRAP 38.6(d)).
- Motion for rehearing or en banc reconsideration: The deadline to file a motion for rehearing or en banc reconsideration of the court of appeals judgment is fifteen days after the court’s ruling (TRAP 49.1, 49.7, 49.8).
Petition for Review
- Deadline to file a petition: If no timely motion for rehearing or en banc reconsideration was filed, the deadline to file a petition for review (appeal to the Texas Supreme Court) is generally 45 days after the court of appeals rendered its judgment (TRAP 53.7).
- Respondent’s response deadline: The respondent has thirty days to file a response to the petitioner’s petition for review (TRAP 53.7).
- Reply deadline: The petitioner’s reply is due fifteen days after the respondent’s response was filed (TRAP 53.7(e)).
- Motion for extension: Parties may file motions to extend the deadline for various filings, including petitions, responses, and replies (TRAP 53.7(f)).
- Motion for rehearing: The deadline for a motion for rehearing in the Texas Supreme Court is fifteen days after the court renders judgment or makes an order disposing of a petition for review (TRAP 64.1).
Petition for Writ of Certiorari (U.S. Supreme Court)
- Deadline to file a petition: The deadline to file a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court is 90 days after the Texas Supreme Court’s denial of a petition for review or its rendering of a judgment on a petition for review (Sup. Ct. R. 13(1)).
- Motion for extension: The deadline to file a motion for extension of the petition deadline is ten days before the expiration of the petition deadline (U.S. Supreme Court Rule 13(5)).
- Finality: The appellate judgment becomes final when the mandate is issued (TRAP 18.1).