Introduction

Any request to the Appeals Court for procedural relief (such as a motion for more time to file the brief, a motion to stay appellate proceedings, a status report, or a motion to file fewer copies of the brief) should be submitted to the court in the form of a motion. Every motion sent to the court must be accompanied by a certificate of service and a copy of the the motion must be sent to all opposing parties in the case. Any supportive briefs, affidavits or other papers should be filed and served at the same time that the motion itself is filed and served.

The court needs only the original and no copy of each motion filed.

In general, the Appeals Court does not hold hearings on motions. Motions are decided based on the papers that have been filed, usually within a week or so of filing the motion.

Any party to a case may file a response opposing any motion filed within 7 days of service of the motion. However, motions for procedural orders may be acted upon without awaiting a response, Rule 15(b). Any opposition received after the court or single justice has ruled upon the motion will be taken as a request for reconsideration, vacation, or modification of the court’s action.

If a motion, such as a motion to strike, is referred to the panel assigned to decide the appeal, there will not be action on that motion until the appeal is decided.

Stipulations of dismissal are governed by Rule 29, which is specific in its requirements. The dismissal must be with prejudice and without costs to any party.

In civil cases, only the appellant has the right to file an appendix, Rule 18(a). If an appellee wishes to supplement the appendix on file, a motion for leave to file a supplemental appendix must be filed supported by an affidavit of counsel that the documents sought to be included are part of the record below.

Motions for attorney's fees and costs are governed by Rule 26.

A party must affirmatively request attorney's fees in its brief, see Yorke Management v. Castro, 406 Mass 17 (1989) and Fabre v. Walton, 441 Mass. 9 (2004).

Motions for Extension of Time (Motions to Enlarge)

If for some reason you cannot meet the prescribed deadline in which to serve and file your brief and appendix, or a status report, you may file a motion with the Appeals Court asking for more time. The motion must set forth the reasons for the requested extension, provide a date certain by which the brief will be filed, and must be accompanied by a certificate of service which lists the name of the document being served, the date of service, the manner of service (e.g., first class mail, in hand service), and the names and addresses of all parties being served. A copy of the motion must be served on all other parties to the appeal.

It is the policy of the Court to grant no more than one motion for enlargement of time per side with an affidavit setting forth (a) good cause to warrant the requested enlargement, and (b) an explanation why the particular time period requested is reasonable, the enlargement sought not to exceed 120 days.  Further enlargements of time will ordinarily not be granted absent genuine emergency, such as a death, illness, or serious injury.   Please note that neither need for review of brief by a CPCS mentor nor the mere assent by opposing counsel constitute good cause.

If you have not filed the docketing statement, the court can deny any motion to enlarge time to file a brief or a motion to stay (or pause) appellate proceedings, until the docketing statement is filed. If your motion to enlarge time to file a brief was denied without prejudice for refilling for failure to file the docketing statement, access the docketing statement online (at right). Fill it out according to the instructions, and e-mail the form to emotions@appct.state.ma.us

Once the court has received the docketing statement, you may refile your motion to enlarge in hard copy.

In general, as with most motions, it can be expected that any motion to enlarge may be ruled upon within 7 days. If you have filed a motion to enlarge and your due date is coming up, the motion will likely be decided within that time frame. It will not be expedited simply because your due date is approaching. No penalty will be imposed for failure to file the brief until the motion to enlarge is ruled upon.

The clerk’s office suggests that all motions to enlarge be filed 7 days before any impending due date.

Motions Filed After Panel Assignment

Motions filed after panel assignment must be filed as a PDF e-mailed to emotions@appct.state.ma.us unless a paper copy is accompanied by a motion to waive the applicable Appeals Court standing order, supported by good cause.  A case is considered assigned to a panel only after briefing is complete and a notice of oral argument or assignment to a panel has been sent to the parties.  If a PDF is filed, there is no need to mail the court a paper copy.  

A statement of the required form of motions is found in Rule 20(b) of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure .  

Motions must be served and filed in accordance with Rule 13 .  Upon agreement of the parties, motions served electronically after panel assignment in accordance with the applicable standing order are deemed compliant with Rule 13(c) .

Motions to Order Additional or Corrected Transcripts

1. The Motion to Order Additional or Corrected Transcripts is available as a PDF form (at right).  The instructions are included with the form.

2. The motion and certificate of service may be signed electronically.  The proper format for an electronic signature is "/s/" followed by the name of the attorney or self-represented  litigant. E.g. "/s/ John Doe."  Upon agreement by counsel, service by electronic mail will be deemed in compliance with Mass. R.A.P. 13(c) .

3. The motion shall be filed by saving all of the completed forms as a single PDF, and e-mailing the pdf to emotions@appct.state.ma.us.  The "subject" line of the e-mail shall be the same as the file name of the pdf copy. This file name shall consist of:

a. An abbreviated docket number, e.g. 11P0023 (i.e., a two digit year followed, without a space, by "P" followed, again without a space, by the last four digits of the docket number);
b. Followed by a hyphen;
c. Followed by a description of the file containing no more than 56 characters, indicating what it is and the party who filed it, e.g, "Motion for Additional Transcript Jones.pdf".

For example:  "11P0023-Motion for Additional Transcript Jones".  If inadequate space has been provided for the information requested, please provide the additional information on an attachment.

4. After the motion is filed and reviewed by the Appeals Court, the court will enter an order, notify the parties, and notify the trial court when applicable.