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Appeals Court Rules

Appeals Court Rules Appeals Court Rule 19.0: Dismissals of appeals and reports in all cases for lack of prosecution

Adopted Date: 03/05/2020
Effective Date: 07/01/2020
Updates: Adopted March 5, 2020, effective July 1, 2020

Adopted from former Appeals Court Standing Order concerning dismissals of appeals and reports in all cases for lack of prosecution.

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Table of Contents

(a) Appellant's brief or appendix

(1) Filing Deadline.  The appellant is required to file a brief and appendix within the time required or permitted by Mass. R. A. P. 19 or any enlargement.

(2) Notice of Intent to Dismiss Appeal.  Whenever an appellant has not served or filed a brief or appendix within the time required or permitted by Mass. R. A. P. 19 or any enlargement, the clerk shall notify the attorney of record for such appellant, or any self-represented appellant, and all other parties or their attorneys of record that, as to that appellant, the appeal (or report made pursuant to Mass. R. A. P. 5) will be dismissed for lack of prosecution unless, within 21 days of the date of the notice, the clerk shall receive (A) a motion by that appellant to enlarge to a date certain set forth in the motion the time for serving and filing the brief or appendix, and (B) an affidavit of the attorney of record for the appellant, or the self-represented appellant, which shall set forth good cause for the enlargement in accordance with the provisions of Mass. R. A. P. 14(b) and 15.

(3) Dismissal of Appeal.  If a motion and affidavit identified in Appeals Court Rule 19.0(a)(2) are not received by the clerk within the prescribed 21-day period, the clerk shall forthwith (A) enter notice of dismissal of the appeal as to that appellant for lack of prosecution, (B) notify the parties of such dismissal, and (C) note such dismissal on the docket.  The clerk shall not send notice of the dismissal to the lower court except as provided in Appeals Court Rule 19.0(c).

(b) Appellant's status report

(1) Notice of Intent to Dismiss Appeal.  Whenever an appellant, prior to filing a brief, has not served or filed a status report within the time ordered by the court, the clerk shall notify the attorney of record for such appellant, or any self-represented appellant, and all other parties or their attorneys of record that, as to that appellant, the appeal will be dismissed for lack of prosecution unless, within 21 days of the date of the notice, the clerk shall receive (A) a motion by that appellant to enlarge the time for serving and filing the status report, (B) an affidavit of the attorney of record for the appellant, or the self-represented appellant, which shall set forth good cause for the enlargement in accordance with the provisions of Mass. R. A. P. 14(b) and 15, and (C) the status report.

(2) Dismissal of Appeal.  If a motion, affidavit, and status report are not received by the clerk within the prescribed 21-day period, the clerk shall forthwith (A) enter notice of dismissal of the appeal as to that appellant for lack of prosecution, (B) notify the parties of such dismissal, and (C) shall note such dismissal on the docket.  The clerk shall not send notice of the dismissal to the lower court except as provided in Appeals Court Rule 19.0(c).

(c) Motion to reinstate appeal before notice of dismissal is sent to the lower court; notice of dismissal to the lower court

The clerk shall notify the lower court and the parties that the appeal has been dismissed as to that particular appellant unless, prior to the expiration of 14 days from the clerk's entry of notice of dismissal of the appeal, the appellant serves and files (1) a motion to reinstate the appeal and for leave to file a late brief or appendix or status report and (2) the brief or appendix or status report (whichever documents are overdue).  A single justice may grant such relief, in which case the appeal shall proceed.  If the single justice denies the motion to reinstate the appeal, the clerk forthwith shall notify the lower court and the parties that the appeal has been dismissed. 

(d) Motion to reinstate appeal after notice of dismissal is sent to lower court

After the clerk has notified the lower court of a dismissal of an appeal for lack of prosecution, the appellant may file a motion for reinstatement of the appeal.  

(1) Criminal cases.  An appeal in a criminal case may be reinstated by a single justice who determines that a motion and an affidavit of the attorney of record for the appellant, or the self-represented appellant, establish either (A) the existence of a meritorious case, or (B) that the defendant was deprived of his or her right of direct appeal as a result of an act or omission of counsel after the appeal had been entered in this court.

(2) Civil cases.  An appeal in a civil case may be reinstated by a single justice who determines that a motion and an affidavit of the attorney of record for the appellant, or the self-represented appellant, establish (A) excusable neglect for the lack of prosecution, and (B) the existence of a meritorious case.

Downloads for Appeals Court Rule 19.0: Dismissals of appeals and reports in all cases for lack of prosecution

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