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How much time do you have to file a civil appeal in Nevada?

By Timothy Wiseman

When considering an appeal from a court’s decision in a civil lawsuit it is important to decide promptly because there is a limited time to file an appeal. How much time you have to appeal a decision is normally set by court rules and varies by which court you are appealing from.[1]

Appealing from a Federal District Court.

Appeals from a Federal District Court in Nevada are heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  In general, a notice of appeal must be filed in the District Court in a civil matter within 30 days after entry of the order from which the appeal is taken. FRAP 4(a)(1).[2] However, certain timely motions will delay the start of that time period. FRAP 4(a)(4). If timely motions for judgment as a matter of law, to alter or amend the judgment, or for a new trial are pending, the time to file an appeal will not begin to run. FRAP 4(a)(4)(A). Additionally, under some limited circumstances, a motion for attorney’s fees or a motion for relief from a judgment or order may cause the running of the time to appeal to be suspended. Id. Also, when there is good cause, the District Court has discretion to extend the time to file an appeal. FRAP 4(a)(5) – (6).

Appeals from the Nevada State District Court.

Appeals from a Nevada State District Court are made to the Nevada Supreme Court. NRAP 3.  The Nevada Supreme Court may then decide to have some appeals decided by the Nevada Court of appeals. NRAP 17. In general, the notice of appeal in a civil action must be filed within 30 days after written notice of entry is served. NRAP 4(a).[3] This deadline is jurisdictional and generally cannot be extended, even by stipulation or agreement of the parties. Ross v. Giacomo, 97 Nev. 550, 553, 635 P.2d 298, 300 (1981). Since it is jurisdictional, an appeal filed late must be dismissed. Alvis v. State, 99 Nev. 184, 185, 660 P.2d 980, 981 (1983). However, like the federal courts, the time for an appeal does not start to run while certain motions are pending if they were timely filed. NAP 4(a)(4) – (5).

Appeals from Justice Court.

Decisions of Nevada’s Justice Courts are taken to the appropriate Nevada District Court. JCRCP 72. The notice of appeal must filed within 20 days of service of the notice of appeal JCRCP 72B. Certain motions, if timely filed, will temporarily prevent the running of time for filing the notice of appeal. JCRCP 72B(b).

Appeals from Small Claims Court.

An appeal from small claims court is taken to the appropriate Nevada District Court. JCRCP 98. The appeal must be filed within 5 days after the entry of judgment. Id. This is an extremely short time and requires prompt action. There is no need for a formal Notice of Entry of Judgment and the entry of the judgment itself will begin the running of the time. Id.

A note on calculating time.

All timelines discussed here are in the form of counting days from a specified event. However, there can be some nuances to how days are counted which go beyond the scope of this article and may vary by jurisdiction. See e.g. NRCP 6; FRCP 6; JCRCP 6.

Conclusion

If you wish to challenge a decision from a court, it is vital that the appeal be requested in a timely fashion. Failure to initiate the notice of appeal in a timely fashion can in some cases results in the appeal being dismissed without being considered on the merits. See e.g. Culinary & Hotel Serv. Workers Union v. Haugen, 76 Nev. 424, 429, 357 P.2d 113, 115 (1960). Therefore, if you are considering filing an appeal, it would be wise to consult with a qualified attorney with experience handling appeals as soon as possible. There can be some nuance to determining exactly what the deadline to file an appeal is, and if there are questions about a specific case you should consult a qualified attorney.[4]

[1] Notably, a request for relief through a petition for a writ is different from an appeal, so determining the timeliness of a request for relief through a writ is calculated different from an appeal. It is beyond the scope of this post, but in most instances the timeliness of request for relief through a petition for a writ is determined based on laches. It is also possible for the period to file an appeal to be set by statute. See e.g. NRS 155.190(2). This post focuses on situations governed by the rules and those statutes are beyond the scope of this post, though generally timelines laid out in statute will be similar to those in the rules. Compare id. with NRCP 4(a).

[2] The U.S. Government and its agencies and officers in their official capacity have 60 days to appeal. Appeals from criminal matters are calculated differently and are covered by FRAP 4(b).

[3] The time for appeals from criminal matters are governed by NRAP 4(b).

[4] Among other nuances, it is noteworthy that the rules cited and their interpretation are subject to change.

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