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Massachusetts District/Municipal Courts Appellate Division Appeals Rule 4: Appeal -- When Taken

[Disclaimer]

(a) Time for Filing. The notice of appeal required by Rule 3, together with the required filing fee, shall be filed with the clerk of the trial court within ten days after the date of the entry of the judgment in the case being appealed. If a notice of appeal and filing fee is mistakenly filed in the Appellate Division, the Appellate Division shall note the date on which they were received and transmit them to the clerk of the trial court from which the appeal was taken and they shall be deemed filed in the trial court on the date so noted. If a notice of appeal and filing fee are timely filed by a party, any other party may file a notice of appeal and filing fee within fourteen days of the date on which the first notice of appeal was filed, or within the time otherwise prescribed by this rule, whichever period last expires.

If a post-judgment motion under the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure is timely served or filed in the trial court, as the case may be, by any party (1) under Rule 52(b) to amend or make additional findings of fact, whether or not an alteration of the judgment would be required if the motion is granted; (2) to alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59 or for relief from judgment under Rule 60, however titled, if either motion is served within ten days after entry of judgment; or (3) under Rule 59 for a new trial, the ten-day time for appeal for all parties shall run from the entry of the order denying a new trial or granting or denying any other such motion. A notice of appeal filed before the disposition of any of the above motions shall have no effect. A new notice of appeal must be filed within the prescribed time measured from the entry of the order disposing of the motion as provided above. No additional fees shall be required for such filing.

(b) Reserved.

(c) Extension of Time for Filing Notice of Appeal. Upon a showing of excusable neglect or other good reason, the trial court may extend the time for filing the notice of appeal by any party for a period not to exceed ten days from the expiration of the time otherwise prescribed by this rule. Such an extension may be granted before or after the time otherwise prescribed by this rule has expired. A request for an extension shall be made by motion with such notice as the trial court shall deem appropriate, and in no event shall the court permit the filling of a notice of appeal later than 180 days after entry of the judgment or post-judgment order of which appeal is sought.

Effective July 1, 1994. Amended March 22, 2013, effective May 1, 2013.

Commentary effective until May 1, 2013: This rule differs from Mass. R. A. P. 4 in that the notice of appeal (and filing fee) must be filed within ten, rather than thirty, days after entry of judgment, and this same time limit applies when the Commonwealth or an office or agency thereof is a party.

It should be noted that though this time limit is a brief one, the filing of the notice of appeal is essentially just "a foot in the door." Further time periods apply to allow the appellant to select and pursue the appropriate method of appeal. And extension of the ten-day period is allowable under section (c).

The last paragraph of section (a) of the rule provides the time limit for appeal when post-judgment motions are filed.

Section (c) of the rule varies from its Mass. R. A. P. counterpart by allowing the court to grant an extension of the time for filing for no more than ten, rather than thirty, days. It also imposes a maximum limit of 180 days to limit multiple successive extensions and the suspension of the time limits under Rules 2 and 14(b).

Commentary effective May 1, 2013: This rule differs from Mass. R. A. P. 4 in that the notice of appeal (and filing fee) must be filed within ten, rather than thirty, days after entry of judgment, and this same time limit applies when the Commonwealth or an office or agency thereof is a party.

It should be noted that though this time limit is a brief one, the filing of the notice of appeal is essentially just "a foot in the door." Further time periods apply to allow the appellant to select and pursue the appropriate method of appeal. And extension of the ten-day period is allowable under section (c).

The last paragraph of section (a) of the rule provides the time limit for appeal when post-judgment motions are filed. A 2013 amendment to the last paragraph of section (a) added a reference in item (2) to Rule 60 motions, if served within ten days after entry of judgment as extending the time period to claim an appeal from the underlying judgment. This conforms with a 2013 amendment to Mass. R. A. P. 4(a). which similarly recognized that a motion for relief from judgment under Rule 60 extends the time period to file a notice of appeal.

Section (c) of the rule varies from its Mass. R. A. P. counterpart by allowing the court to grant an extension of the time for filing for no more than ten, rather than thirty, days. It also imposes a maximum limit of 180 days to limit multiple successive extensions and the suspension of the time limits under Rules 2 and 14(b).

A 2013 amendment to this rule deleted the reference to the District/Municipal Court
Rules of Civil Procedure, which were repealed in 1996, and replaced it with a reference to the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, which now govem civil proceedings in the District Court.