Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago

United States Supreme Court

November 8, 2017

CHARMAINE HAMER, PETITIONER
v.
NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING SERVICES OF CHICAGO, ET AL.

          Argued October 10, 2017

         ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

         Syllabus

         An appeal filing deadline prescribed by statute is considered "jurisdic-tional, " meaning that late filing of the appeal notice necessitates dismissal of the appeal. See Bowles v. Russell, 551 U.S. 205, 210- 213. In contrast, a time limit prescribed only in a court-made rule is not jurisdictional. It is a mandatory claim-processing rule that may be waived or forfeited. Ibid. This Court and other forums have sometimes overlooked this critical distinction. See Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick, 559 U.S. 154, 161.

         Petitioner Charmaine Hamer filed an employment discrimination suit against respondents. The District Court granted respondents' motion for summary judgment, entering final judgment on September 14, 2015. Before October 14, the date Hamer's notice of appeal was due, her attorneys filed a motion to withdraw as counsel and a motion for an extension of the appeal filing deadline to give Hamer time to secure new counsel. The District Court granted both motions, extending the deadline to December 14, a two-month extension, even though the governing Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure, Rule 4(a)(5)(C), confines such extensions to 30 days. Concluding that Rule 4(a)(5)(C)'s time prescription is jurisdictional, the Court of Appeals dismissed Hamer's appeal.

         Held: The Court of Appeals erred in treating as jurisdictional Rule 4(a)(5)(C)'s limitation on extensions of time to file a notice of appeal. Pp. 5-10.

         (a) The 1948 version of 28 U.S.C. §2107 allowed extensions of time to file a notice of appeal, not exceeding 30 days, "upon a showing of excusable neglect based on failure of a party to learn of the entry of the judgment, " but the statute said nothing about extensions when the judgment loser did receive notice of the entry of judgment. In 1991, the statute was amended, broadening the class of prospective appellants who could gain extensions to include all who showed "excusable neglect or good cause" and reducing the time prescription for appellants who lacked notice of the entry of judgment from 30 to 14 days. §2107(c). For other cases, the statute does not say how long an extension may run. Rule 4(a)(5)(C), however, does prescribe a limit: "No extension [of time for filing a notice of appeal] may exceed 30 days after the prescribed time [for filing a notice of appeal] or 14 days after the date [of] the order granting the [extension] motion . . ., whichever is later." Pp. 5-6.

         (b) This Court's precedent shapes a rule of decision that is both clear and easy to apply: If a time prescription governing the transfer of adjudicatory authority from one Article III court to another appears in a statute, the limitation is jurisdictional; otherwise, the time specification fits within the claim-processing category.

         In concluding otherwise, the Court of Appeals relied on Bowles. There, Bowles filed a notice of appeal outside a limitation set by Congress in §2107(c). This Court held that, as a result, the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction over his tardy appeal. 551 U.S., at 213. In conflating Rule 4(a)(5)(C) with §2107(c) here, the Seventh Circuit failed to grasp the distinction between jurisdictional appeal filing deadlines and deadlines stated only in mandatory claim-processing rules. It therefore misapplied Bowles. Bowles's statement that "the taking of an appeal within the prescribed time is 'mandatory and jurisdictional, ' " id., at 209, is a characterization left over from days when the Court was "less than meticulous" in using the term "jurisdictional, " Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 454. The statement was correct in Bowles, where the time prescription was imposed by Congress, but it would be incorrect here, where only Rule 4(a)(5)(C) limits the length of the extension. Pp. 7-10.

         835 F.3d 761, vacated and remanded.

          OPINION

          GINSBURG JUSTICE.

         This case presents a question of time, specifically, time to file a notice of appeal from a district court's judgment. In Bowles v. Russell, 551 U.S. 205, 210-213 (2007), this Court clarified that an appeal filing deadline prescribed by statute will be regarded as "jurisdictional, " meaning that late filing of the appeal notice necessitates dismissal of the appeal. But a time limit prescribed only in a court-made rule, Bowles acknowledged, is not jurisdictional; it is, instead, a mandatory claim-processing rule subject to forfeiture if not properly raised by the appellee. Ibid.; Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 456 (2004). Because the Court of Appeals held jurisdictional a time limit specified in a rule, not in a statute, 835 F.3d 761, 763 (CA7 2016), we vacate that court's judgment dismissing the appeal.

         I

         A

         "Only Congress may determine a lower federal court's subject-matter jurisdiction." Kontrick, 540 U.S., at 452 (citing U.S. Const., Art. Ill. §1); Owen Equipment &Erection Co. v. Kroger,437 U.S. 365, 370 (1978) ("[I]t is axiomatic that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not create or withdraw federal jurisdiction."). Accordingly, a provision governing the time to appeal in a civil action qualifies as jurisdictional only if Congress sets the time. See Bowles, 551 U.S., at 211-212 (noting "the jurisdictional distinction between court-promulgated rules and limits enacted by Congress"); Sibbach v. Wilson & Co.,312 U.S. 1, 10 (1941) (noting "the inability of a court, by rule, to extend or restrict the jurisdiction conferred by a statute"). A time limit not prescribed by Congress ranks as a mandatory claim-processing rule, serving "to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.