Rules of Appellate Procedure

Rules of Appellate Procedure Appellate Procedure Rule 27: Motion for reconsideration or modification of decision

Effective Date: 03/01/2019
Updates: Amended June 7, 1985, effective July 1, 1985 Amended January 28, 1986, effective February 1, 1986

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Table of Contents

(a) Time for filing; content; action by court if granted.

Within 14 days after the date of the decision of the appellate court, any party to an appeal may file a motion for reconsideration or modification of decision unless the time is shortened or enlarged by order. It shall state with particularity the points of law or fact which it is contended the court has overlooked or misapprehended and shall contain such argument in support of the motion as the movant desires to present. Oral argument in support of the motion will not be permitted, except by order of the appellate court which decided the appeal. The motion shall be decided by the quorum or panel of the appellate court which decided the appeal.

(b) Form of motion; length.

Except by permission of the appellate court, a motion shall not exceed either 10 pages of text in monospaced font or 2,000 words in proportional font, as defined in Rule 20(a)(4)(B), and shall contain a certification of such compliance, including a statement of how compliance with the foregoing length limit was ascertained, as specified in Rule 16(k).

(c) Response.

No response to a motion for reconsideration or modification will be docketed unless requested by the appellate court, but reconsideration will ordinarily not be granted in the absence of such a request. Any response filed pursuant to this provision shall comply with the form and length requirements in Rule 27(b).

(d) Filing and service.

The motion, and any requested response, shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the appellate court that released the decision. In the Supreme Judicial Court, a paper original and 7 copies of the motion shall be filed. In the Appeals Court, the motion shall be filed in electronic form and no paper original or copies are required. Service of the motion, and any requested response, shall comply with Rule 13.

(e) Ruling on motion.

Upon consideration of a motion and any response, the appellate court may make a final disposition of the case without reargument or may restore it to the calendar for reargument or resubmission or may make such other orders as are deemed appropriate under the circumstances of the particular case. Action upon a motion is in the discretion of such appellate court, which may award costs, including a reasonable attorney’s fee, to the prevailing party.

(f) Notice to Supreme Judicial Court.

A party seeking further appellate review shall promptly notify the Supreme Judicial Court of any action taken on the motion.

Reporter’s notes

(2019)

The title of Rule 27 was changed from “petition for rehearing” to “motion for reconsideration or modification of decision.” This revision more appropriately describes such filings which rarely, if ever, seek an oral argument and rehearing of a case before the justices and instead typically request a reconsideration or modification of the decision.

The term “rescript” in Rule 27(a) was changed to “decision of the appellate court,” consistent with the new definitions in Rule 1(c). This change clarifies that a motion is due 14 days after the date of the decision, making it clear to the parties that it is the decision that triggers commencement of the time period , and not the clerk’s issuance of the rescript to the lower court. Language relating to an “answer to a petition,” now referred to as a “response,” was moved to Rule 27(c) to promote clarity of the related procedures.

Consistent with the revisions to other rules, Rule 27(b) was amended to include the new option for a word count using proportionally spaced font and to clarify that the page limit option follows the monospaced font requirement in Rule 20(a). The first sentence of prior Rule 27(b), concerning the form of a “petition” as a letter addressed to the senior justice was deleted as inapplicable in light of the change to the title and form of these documents.

Rule 27(c) is a new subdivision titled “Response.” The language for this subdivision comes from prior Rule 27(a). The word “answer” is no longer used to signify a response to a motion for reconsideration or modification of decision. Lastly, this new subdivision clarifies the formatting requirements applicable to a requested response.

Rule 27(d) is a new subdivision titled, “Filing and Service.” Under prior Rule 27(b), litigants sometimes mailed the request directly to the senior justice and/or panel that decided the appeal instead of filing it in the appellate court clerk’s office. Adding language about filing and service requirements clarifies the appropriate filing procedures.

Rule 27(e) is a new subdivision titled, “Ruling on Motion.” The contents of the subdivision are taken from prior Rule 27(a). Placing this information in its own subdivision increases the readability of the Rules and makes it easier to refer to its requirements.

Rule 27(f), prior Rule 27(c), was revised by striking the first sentence of prior Rule 27(c), which is redundant considering Rule 27(e) now authorizes the appellate court to order review or revision of opinions when a motion is allowed. The language in the remaining sentence is updated for consistency with the revisions made in the preceding subdivisions, e.g., “petition” is changed to “motion.” In addition, language regarding notification to the Supreme Judicial Court of any action on the motion is streamlined, and a requirement that this notification be made “promptly” is added.

Further organizational and stylistic revisions were made to this rule in 2019 in accordance with a global review and revision of all of the Appellate Rules. These revisions are described in the 2019 Reporter’s Notes to Rule 1.

With regard to the preparation of the 2019 Reporter’s Notes to this Rule, see the first paragraph of the 2019 Reporter’s Notes to Rule 1. For an overview of the 2019 amendments to the Rules and a summary of the global amendments to the Rules, see 2019 Reporter’s Notes to Rule 1, sections I. and II.

(1986)

This amendment provides for review of petitions for rehearing by the quorum or panel which decided the appeal. The purpose of the amendment is to conform Rule 27 to the actual practice in the appellate courts.

(1985)

The change from ten days to fourteen days after the date of the rescript for a petition for rehearing conforms the time period to that found in Fed.R.A.P. 40(a). Such conformity of time periods may aid practitioners.

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Updates: Amended June 7, 1985, effective July 1, 1985 Amended January 28, 1986, effective February 1, 1986
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