If you are writing in all-bold caps, please stop it.
How long will this appeal take?

A writ in time

Often I am asked about the deadline to apply for a supervisory writ after a trial court’s adverse interlocutory ruling. I wish the answer to this question were simple. The short answer is 30 days—unless the trial court gives you either less time or more time. In any event, there are two things you must do within 30 days: file (in the trial court) a notice of intent to seek a supervisory writ, and get the trial judge’s signature on the order setting the return date, i.e. the deadline to file the application in the court of appeal.

Next question: When does the 30 days start running? If the judge takes the matter under advisement, the answer is easy: when the clerk mails notice of judgment. But things get trickier when the trial judge rules in open court. In that event, the 30 days starts either when the judge rules in open court or later, when the clerk mails notice of written judgment. Usually it’s the latter, but sometimes it’s the former.

The best way to answer these questions is to consult Uniform Rules 4-2 and 4-3 and La. Code Civ. P. art. 1914—the interaction of these provisions determines your deadline. If you’re looking for a practitioner-oriented article explaining these provisions and judicial glosses on them, then take a look at A Writ in Time, published a few years ago in the Louisiana Bar Journal. The article was published shortly after the most recent amendments to Rule 4-3 and art. 1914 in 2003.


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