August 2014 Bar Bulletin
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August 2014 Bar Bulletin

It's All in the Timing:

Strict Deadlines to File Appeals in Washington

By Jaime Allen


You have just suffered a major loss or had a court order entered against your client's interest, and now you must decide - quickly - whether to appeal.

When filing an appeal with the Washington Court of Appeals, it is critical that your filing be timely. Unlike other deadlines, missing appellate filing deadlines can result in losing jurisdictional grounds and the court having little discretion to grant you relief.

While Washington courts have found other reasons to allow defective appeals, untimely appeals will only be allowed under "extraordinary circumstances."1 In practice, this standard is harsh and rarely met.

General Timing for Appeals

The Washington Rules of Appellate Procedure (RAPs) generally provide that an appeal of a final order must be filed in the trial court within 30 days after the entry of the decision you wish to appeal.2 Similarly, a notice for discretionary review also needs to be filed in the trial court within 30 days after entry of the trial court's order.3

There are some limited exceptions. First, if a statute provides that a notice of appeal or notice of discretionary review must be filed within a time period other than 30 days, the statute controls.4 Also, appeals must be filed 30 days after entry of the order or within the time prescribed by statute when appealing orders deciding certain timely motions, such as a motion to arrest judgment or a motion for new trial in criminal matters, or - with respect to civil matters - a motion for judgment as a matter of law, a motion for reconsideration or new trial, or a motion for amendment of a judgment.5

If another party files notice, and you want relief from the decision as well, you must file a notice of appeal or a notice for discretionary review with the trial court clerk within the later of 14 days after service of the notice filed by the other party, or within 30 days or other time allotted by statute, depending upon the rule that applies to the original appeal.6

Motions to Extend Time Require "Extraordinary Circumstances"

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