ARTICLE: Timeliness, Equity, and Federal Appellate Jurisdiction: Reclaiming the "Unique Circumstances" Doctrine Skip over navigation
LexisNexis® Browse Law Reviews and Treatises
Skip over navigation
Sign in with your® ID to access the full text of this article.
Order the full text of this article if you do not have a® ID.
US $22.00 (+ tax)

Copyright (c) 2007 by the Tulane Law Review Association
Tulane Law Review

ARTICLE: Timeliness, Equity, and Federal Appellate Jurisdiction: Reclaiming the "Unique Circumstances" Doctrine

December, 2007

Tulane Law Review

82 Tul. L. Rev. 693


Philip A. Pucillo*


I. Introduction
A federal court of appeals ordinarily has no authority to entertain an appeal that is filed out of time. 1 On occasion, however, the untimeliness of an appeal will result not from the appellant's carelessness or lack of familiarity with governing timing prescriptions, but instead from reasonable reliance upon a district court's representation that the appeal period would be lengthier than it turned out to be. 2 To provide the courts of appeals with an equitable basis upon which to reach the merits of such an appeal, the United States Supreme Court recognized what has come to be known as the "unique circumstances" doctrine. 3 The courts of appeals, in turn, have employed the doctrine to preserve numerous appeals that were technically untimely. 4

The Supreme Court's latest pronouncements on the unique circumstances doctrine, however, have narrowed it almost completely out of existence. Specifically, the Court recently declared that, given the jurisdictional nature of the timing prescriptions contained in 28 U.S.C. 2107, the doctrine can no longer be applied in the context in which it was most often implicated: an appeal as of right from a decision by a federal district court in a civil proceeding. 5 Even before that decision, the Court had significantly restricted the scope of the doctrine by suggesting that it applied only when the appellant "performed an act which, if properly done, would postpone the deadline for filing his appeal and has received specific assurance by a judicial ...
If you are interested in obtaining a® ID and Password, please contact us at 1-(800)-227-4908 or visit us at
Search Documents
eg., Environmental Insurance Coverage Under the Comprehensive General Liability Policy

Lexis® Web - The only search engine that delivers free web content specifically from legal sites validated by LexisNexis® attorney editors and includes tools for faster research and more relevant results.

LexisNexis Store
Research Now - Go to
Connect the Dots - Free 1 hour webcast
Share. Network. Discover. - Go to LexisNexis Communities