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Rule 3. Appeal as of Right—How Taken

Title 28 App. Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure

Title II. Appeal from a Judgment or Order of a District Court

  1. Filing the Notice of Appeal.
    1. An appeal permitted by law as of right from a district court to a court of appeals may be taken only by filing a notice of appeal with the district clerk within the time allowed by Rule 4. At the time of filing, the appellant must furnish the clerk with enough copies of the notice to enable the clerk to comply with Rule 3(d).
    2. An appellant’s failure to take any step other than the timely filing of a notice of appeal does not affect the validity of the appeal, but is ground only for the court of appeals to act as it considers appropriate, including dismissing the appeal.
    3. An appeal from a judgment by a magistrate judge in a civil case is taken in the same way as an appeal from any other district court judgment.
    4. An appeal by permission under 28 U.S.C. § 1292 (b) or an appeal in a bankruptcy case may be taken only in the manner prescribed by Rules 5 and 6, respectively.
  2. Joint or Consolidated Appeals.
    1. When two or more parties are entitled to appeal from a district-court judgment or order, and their interests make joinder practicable, they may file a joint notice of appeal. They may then proceed on appeal as a single appellant.
    2. When the parties have filed separate timely notices of appeal, the appeals may be joined or consolidated by the court of appeals.
  3. Contents of the Notice of Appeal.
    1. The notice of appeal must:
      1. specify the party or parties taking the appeal by naming each one in the caption or body of the notice, but an attorney representing more than one party may describe those parties with such terms as “all plaintiffs,” “the defendants,” “the plaintiffs A, B, et al.,” or “all defendants except X”;
      2. designate the judgment, order, or part thereof being appealed; and
      3. name the court to which the appeal is taken.
    2. A pro se notice of appeal is considered filed on behalf of the signer and the signer’s spouse and minor children (if they are parties), unless the notice clearly indicates otherwise.
    3. In a class action, whether or not the class has been certified, the notice of appeal is sufficient if it names one person qualified to bring the appeal as representative of the class.
    4. An appeal must not be dismissed for informality of form or title of the notice of appeal, or for failure to name a party whose intent to appeal is otherwise clear from the notice.
    5. Form 1 in the Appendix of Forms is a suggested form of a notice of appeal.
  4. Serving the Notice of Appeal.
    1. The district clerk must serve notice of the filing of a notice of appeal by mailing a copy to each party’s counsel of record—excluding the appellant’s—or, if a party is proceeding pro se, to the party’s last known address. When a defendant in a criminal case appeals, the clerk must also serve a copy of the notice of appeal on the defendant, either by personal service or by mail addressed to the defendant. The clerk must promptly send a copy of the notice of appeal and of the docket entries—and any later docket entries—to the clerk of the court of appeals named in the notice. The district clerk must note, on each copy, the date when the notice of appeal was filed.
    2. If an inmate confined in an institution files a notice of appeal in the manner provided by Rule 4 (c), the district clerk must also note the date when the clerk docketed the notice.
    3. The district clerk’s failure to serve notice does not affect the validity of the appeal. The clerk must note on the docket the names of the parties to whom the clerk mails copies, with the date of mailing. Service is sufficient despite the death of a party or the party’s counsel.
  5. Payment of Fees. Upon filing a notice of appeal, the appellant must pay the district clerk all required fees. The district clerk receives the appellate docket fee on behalf of the court of appeals.

Rule 3.1. Appeal from a Judgment of a Magistrate Judge in a Civil Case] (Abrogated Apr. 24, 1998, eff. Dec. 1, 1998)


As laws are dynamic and subject to change, this website may not always reflect recent changes. We refer you to The United States Congress website, which may have more current or accurate information. To discuss your appeal, or how appellate laws may apply in your case, contact our law offices to schedule a free consultation.

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