Notice of Appeal: When Does the Clock Start to Tick?
Under Rule 4(b)(1) of the Arkansas Rules of Appellate Procedure — Civil:
“The notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty (30) days from entry of the order disposing of the last motion outstanding.”
But what effect does an amended order have one your timeline? Knowing this up front can be the difference between a successful appeal and having to file a motion for rule on the clerk.
For purposes of this question, suppose you lost your domestic relations case. Opposing counsel drafts the order and it is entered on January 1. Ten days later someone realizes that the order contains the wrong address, name, or birthdate of one of the children. An Amended Order is quickly drafted and entered by the Judge.
Do you measure your thirty days from January 1, or January 10? Knowing this up front can be the difference between a successful appeal and having to file a motion for rule on the clerk.
Under Arkansas law, the clock starts to tick on January 1.
The Court’s first order was a final appealable order, and the later amended order does not change that fact. Simply put, the appealing party is not appealing from the correction of the name but from the ruling of the initial order. In this instance “[t]he only motions that will extend the time for filing a notice of appeal are a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict under Rule 50(b) of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, a motion to amend the court’s findings of fact or to make additional findings under Rule 52(b), a motion for new trial under Rule 59(a), or any other motion to vacate, alter, or amend the judgment made no later than 10 days after the entry of judgment. See Ark. R.App. P. — Civil 4(b) (emphasis added).” Reeve v. Carroll Cnty., 373 Ark. 584, 587, 285 S.W.3d 242, 246 (2008), Matter of Guardianship of Mackley v. Circuit Court of Crawford County, 2015 Ark. App. 128, 4–5.
In the majority of cases, this issue can be avoided by talking with the client and determining their intent to appeal immediately. When that decision is delayed, schedules can get tight and deadlines can sneak up on you. Don’t make the mistake of calculating your thirty days from the amended order.