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‘Mailbox Rule’ Inapplicable to Post-judgment Motion for Findings

The “mail box rule” found in Mass. Civ. P. 6(d) applies to deadlines triggered by “service of a notice or other papers,” not deadlines triggered by an event other than service. That is the key takeaway from Judge Salinger’s ruling in New England Patriots Fans v. National Football League.

After final judgment entered, the plaintiffs waited more than 30 days to file their notice of appeal. The court dismissed the appeal as untimely under Mass. R. App. 4(a). Although the plaintiffs served a Rule 52(b) motion, the court ruled that the motion did not toll the deadline for filing a notice of appeal because the plaintiffs did not serve the motion within ten days of the entry of judgment as required under Rule 52(b).

The plaintiffs moved for reconsideration. They argued that their Rule 52(b) motion was timely because the court mailed the final judgment to their counsel, thereby giving them three extra days under the “mail box rule” to serve the Rule 52(b) motion.

The argument, according to the court, lacked merit:

Rule 6(d) only adds more time to deadlines that allow or require a party to do something “within a prescribed period after the service of a notice or other papers upon him.” But the ten-day deadline for serving post-judgment motions for findings does not start to run upon “service” of anything. Instead, such a motion must be served “not later than 10 days after entry of judgment.” Rule 52(b).

The three-day grace period after mailing provided in Rule 6(b) therefore does not apply to Plaintiffs deadline for filing post-judgment motions under Rule 52(b).

New England Patriots Fans v. National Football League

May 16, 2017

Full decision here.

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