Effect Of Post-Judgment Motions On The Time To Appeal

Published date14 December 2022
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Trials & Appeals & Compensation
Law FirmDickinson Wright PLLC
AuthorMr Phillip DeRosier

There are a number of reasons why parties in a civil case might consider filing a post-judgment motion before appealing an adverse decision.1 In fact, sometimes, a post-judgment motion is required to preserve an issue for appeal. For example, in both Michigan and federal courts, a party must file a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law in federal parlance) if it wishes to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a jury verdict.2 It is important to know how such motions impact the applicable appeal deadline.3

State Court

In general, an appeal of right in a civil case must be filed within 21 days of the entry of judgment in a Michigan court. MCR 7.204(A)(1)(a). That deadline, however, is tolled by the timely filing of a "motion for new trial, rehearing, reconsideration, or other relief from the order or judgment appealed." MCR 7.204(A)(1)(d). If one of these motions is filed, the 21-day appeal period begins to run "from the entry of" an order "deciding" it. Id.

A couple of notes: First, the post-judgment must be timely, meaning that it must be filed "within the initial 21-day appeal period or within any further time that the trial court has allowed for good cause during that 21-day period." Id. Second, not every post-judgment motion will toll the time to appeal. It must be a motion seeking "relief from the order or judgment appealed."

Federal Court

The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure similarly provide for tolling of the usual 30-day appeal period in civil cases upon the filing of certain post-judgment motions. FR App P 4(a)(1)(A). Rule 4(A)(4) identifies six such motions:

  • Motions "for judgment under Rule 50(b)" (i.e renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law following a jury trial);
  • Motions "to amend or make additional factual findings under Rule 52(b)" (for cases tried by the court; can be combined with a Rule 59 motion for new trial);
  • Motions "for attorney's fees under Rule 54 if the district court extends the time to appeal under Rule 58";
  • Motions "to alter or amend the judgment under Rule 59" (often used to seek reconsideration of a decision made on summary judgment or after a bench trial);
  • Motions "for a new trial under Rule 59"; and
  • Motions "for relief under Rule 60 if the motion is filed no later than 28 days after the judgment is entered."

Premature appeal filings

Although filing a timely post-judgment motion will serve to toll the deadline for appealing, it...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT