Friday, May 05, 2006

Seventh Circuit Holds that Filing by Mail Is Not Authorized by the FRCP and that the “Reasonable Time” Standard Does Not Trump Court-Imposed Deadlines

Per Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F. 3d 600 (7th Cir. Mar. 29, 2006) regarding Rule 5 and Rule 6:

. . . The posting of papers addressed to the clerk's office does not constitute “filing” under Rule 5(e). Unlike some state court rules the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not authorize filing to be accomplished by deposit of papers in the mail.

. . .

As for the governing deadline, Raymond does not explain how Rule 5(d)'s “reasonable time” standard prevails over a date set by a court. Rule 5(d) is a default rule, applicable to most interactions between litigating parties and between parties and the courts. Rule 5(d) does not by its terms eradicate the effect of court-imposed deadlines. Raymond merely quotes Blank v. Bitker, 135 F.2d 962, 965 (7th Cir.1943), which noted, “[T]here is no requirement in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as to filing···· And Rule 5(d) permits filing with the court within a reasonable time after service.” True, but this does not mean that Rule 5(d) trumps a deadline set by a court, so that the deadline to file is established by when service occurs. . . .

The rule which does apply is Rule 6(b), which clearly gives courts both the authority to establish deadlines and the discretion to enforce them.


In addition to the above, the Seventh Circuit here upheld the district court’s discretionary refusal to find “excusable neglect” as justification of Raymond’s failure to meet the court-imposed deadlines.


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