In Re: Bugnacki; Bugnacki v. Rzasa
Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(1)(A) requires that notice of appeal in civil case be filed within 30 days after entry of the judgment, and a June 22 appeal from a May 21 judgment is not timely. Gail Bugnacki filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. The Bankruptcy Court found that a $1.2 million court judgment obtained by Bugnacki's sister, the defendant, Carol Rzasa, was not dischargeable. Bugnacki did not file a timely notice of appeal, and the Bankruptcy Court denied her an extension. Bugnacki appealed to the District Court and failed to file a statement of appellate issues. The District Court denied the appeal. Bugnacki appealed to the 2nd Circuit. Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(1)(A) requires that notice of appeal be filed within 30 days after entry of the judgment or order. Here, the appeals period began to run on May 21, 2012, when the District Court denied Bugnacki's motion to reconsider. Bugnacki was required to file an appeal to the 2nd Circuit on or before June 20, 2012. On that date, Bugnacki filed an unsigned copy of the same notice of appeal she previously filed with the Bankruptcy Court. The 2nd Circuit rejected Bugnacki's argument that this was functionally equivalent to what the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure require. "Generously construed," wrote the 2nd Circuit, the "document does not reasonably evince an intent to appeal from a judgment or other decision of the district court." It merely lists Bankruptcy Court orders, along with the statute that permits the appeal to the District Court. Bugnacki filed a corrected notice on June 22, 2012, which was after the deadline. "To the extent Bugnacki argues that her correct, tardily filed notice was created before the time to appeal had elapsed, but that her counsel uploaded the wrong document," wrote the 2nd Circuit, "she appears to seek an equitable exception to the jurisdictional filing requirement, which Supreme Court precedent precludes." Even if cognizable, it would not be excusable. The 2nd Circuit dismissed Bugnacki's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. James Lee represented Gail Bugnacki. Patrick Fahey represented Carol Rzasa.