How Long Do You Have To File An Appeal for a Court Ruling in Louisiana?

time_tiempo_count_day_0-1024x683If the trial court does not rule in your favor, you might find yourself considering filing an appeal. However, just like filing an initial lawsuit, there are strict time limits for filing an appeal. If you do not comply with these time limits, the appellate court will be unable to consider the merits of your appeal, and you will be stuck with the trial court’s ruling. 

Aimee Lasseigne filed a lawsuit against Eastern Jefferson General Hospital and two doctors for damages that resulted from a spinal tap and related medical treatment she received at the hospital. The hospital and doctors filed exceptions of prescription, arguing Lasseigne did not file her request for a medical review panel until over a year from when the alleged medical malpractice occurred. The trial court granted the hospital and doctor’s exceptions of prescriptions and dismissed Lasseigne’s lawsuit on January 29, 2018. That same day, the clerk mailed a notice of the judgment’s signing to all the parties’ attorneys. 

On April 16, 2018, the trial court issued its written reasons for judgment. Lasseigne filed her appeal on May 11, 2018, seeking review of the trial court’s January 29, 2018, judgment, with the reasons issued on April 16, 2018. The hospital and doctors filed a motion to dismiss, claiming Lasseigne’s appeal was untimely.

Under La. C.C.P. art. 2087, a party has sixty days after the time expires to apply for a new trial to file any appeal of the trial court’s judgment. A party has seven days to apply for a new trial, which starts to run the day after the clerk mails or the sheriff serves the notice of judgment. See La. C.C.P. art. 1974. If a party does not comply with the required timelines for filing an appeal, then the appellate court does not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. This means the trial court’s judgment will stand because no court can reverse or otherwise modify the final judgment the trial court issued.

Lasseigne tried to file an appeal of the trial court’s January 29, 2018 judgment. Given the seven-day requirement for filing a new trial under  La. C.C.P. art. 1974, Lasseigne was required to file the appeal by February 7, 2018. Once that date came, Lasseigne had sixty days to file a motion for an appeal – until April 9, 2018. Therefore, Lasseigne’s motion for an appeal was untimely because she filed it on May 11, 2018. 

Although Lasseigne referenced the trial court judge’s reasons for judgment, issued on April 16, 2018, the appellate court explained these are separate documents, with appeals taken from the judgment, not the subsequent reasons for judgment. Therefore, the appellate court did not have jurisdiction to consider the merits of Lasseigne’s appeal and granted the hospital and doctors’ motion to dismiss Lasseigne’s appeal as untimely. 

As seen here, the procedural requirements and timelines for filing an appeal can be complex. This is especially true when the trial court issues multiple documents, such as a judgment and reasons for judgment. An experienced trial attorney can help you navigate these complicated procedural requirements to avoid missing important deadlines. 

Additional Sources: Aimee Lasseigne v. East Jefferson General Hospital, Andre J. Mouledoux, MD, and Daniel Fontanez, MD

Article Written By Berniard Law Firm

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