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U.S. Supreme Court

Griggs v. Provident Consumer Discount Co., 459 U.S. 56 (1982)

Griggs v. Provident Consumer Discount Co.

No. 82-5082

Decided November 29, 1982

459 U.S. 56


The District Court entered judgment for petitioners in their civil action against respondent, which then filed a timely motion to alter or amend the judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59. While that motion was still pending, respondent filed a notice of appeal. Thereafter, the District Court denied the motion to alter or amend the judgment, and the Court of Appeals accepted jurisdiction of the appeal and reversed the District Court's judgment. The Court of Appeals held that, although Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(4) provides that a notice of appeal, filed before the disposition of a motion filed in the district court to alter or amend the judgment, "shall have no effect," and a new notice of appeal "must be filed" after entry of the order disposing of the motion, nevertheless an appellant who filed a premature notice of appeal could proceed unless the appellee showed prejudice resulting from the premature filing of the notice, which was not done here.

Held: The Court of Appeals' analysis of Rule 4(a)(4) is contrary to the language and purposes of the 1979 amendments to the Rules of Appellate Procedure. Prior to 1979, if a notice of appeal was filed pending disposition of a motion to vacate, alter, or amend the judgment, it was generally held that the district court retained jurisdiction to decide the motion, and the notice of appeal was adequate for purposes of beginning the appeals process. However, after the 1979 amendments, when a premature notice of appeal is filed, it is as if no notice of appeal were filed at all, and thus the court of appeals lacks jurisdiction to act. The requirement of a timely notice of appeal is mandatory and jurisdictional.

Certiorari granted; 680 F.2d 927, vacated and remanded.

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