A recent decision by the Louisiana First Circuit provides two lessons:
- A writ application following denial of a motion for new trial does not suspend the time to take an appeal.
- The delay to take an appeal starts from denial of new trial, whether that denial comes from the trial court or an appellate court.
Phillips v. Exxon Chem. La., LLC, 2022-CA-1290 (La. App. 1 Cir. 6/23/23), — So.3d —, 2023 WL 4140759. Applying these lessons, the First Circuit dismissed an appeal as untimely. Here’s the Philips timeline:
- May 5 2021: Following a jury trial, the trial court signed a judgment on a defense verdict.
Plaintiffs then filed a motion for JNOV or new trial.
- July 12, 2021: The trial court signed a judgment denying JNOV but granting a new trial.
Defendant then applied to the First Circuit for a supervisory writ.
- March 17, 2022: The First Circuit granted a supervisory writ, vacated the trial court’s judgment in part on the new-trial issue, and rendered a judgment denying new trial.
Plaintiffs then applies to the Louisiana Supreme Court for a supervisory writ to review the court of appeal’s judgment
- June 8, 2022: The LASC denied plaintiffs’ writ application.
- July 5, 2022: Plaintiffs filed a motion in the trial court for devolutive appeal of the May 5, 2021 judgment.
In dismissing the appeal as untimely, the First Circuit cited several cases holding that the filing of a writ application does not suspend running of the delay to take an appeal. The First Circuit held that “the delay for an appeal runs from the denial of the motion for new trial, whether that ruling is by the trial or appellate court, and like an application for supervisory writ, an application for certiorari does not suspend the running of the delay for an appeal.” Phillips, p. 10.