948 F.2d 1193 (10th Cir. 1991), 91-5067, Longstreth v. City of Tulsa, Okl.

Docket Nº:91-5067.
Citation:948 F.2d 1193
Party Name:Christopher E. LONGSTRETH, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF TULSA, OKLAHOMA, a municipal corporation; Police Officer, David M. Brockman; and Sheriff, Frank Thurman, of the County of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:November 13, 1991
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Page 1193

948 F.2d 1193 (10th Cir. 1991)

Christopher E. LONGSTRETH, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

CITY OF TULSA, OKLAHOMA, a municipal corporation; Police

Officer, David M. Brockman; and Sheriff, Frank

Thurman, of the County of Tulsa,

Oklahoma, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 91-5067.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

November 13, 1991

Christopher E. Longstreth, pro se.

M. Denise Graham, Asst. Dist. Atty., Tulsa, Okl., for defendants-appellees.

Before McKAY, Chief Judge, SEYMOUR and EBEL, Circuit Judges.

EBEL, Circuit Judge.

This appeal raises two issues: First, should a motion to extend the time in which to file a notice of appeal be considered a substantial equivalent of a notice of appeal? Second, should a motion to enlarge the time in which to file a motion for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59 be considered a substantial equivalent of a Rule 59 motion? We answer both of these questions in the negative. 1

FACTS

The Appellant filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution for injuries sustained in a shoot-out with the Tulsa Police and for subsequent care received in prison. Final judgment for the Appellees was entered on December 13, 1990. On December 24, 1990 the Appellant filed a Motion for Enlargement of Time in which to File a Rule 59 Motion. 2 On January 14, 1991 he filed a Motion for Extention [sic] of Time to File Notice of Appeal. The district court denied these two motions on

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April 9, 1991. On April 22, 1991 the Appellant filed a notice of appeal.

A notice of appeal must be filed within thirty days from the date that final judgment was entered. Fed.R.App.P. 4(a)(1). The Appellant did not file this notice, however, until 128 days after final judgment. 3 Thus, the notice of appeal was not timely.

The Appellant argues, however, that his Motion for Extention [sic] of Time to File Notice of Appeal, filed within the thirty-day time limit, constituted "sufficient compliance" with the notice of appeal requirement. In the alternative, the Appellant argues, his Motion for Enlargement of Time in which to File a Rule 59 Motion should be considered a motion under Rule 59, which would toll the commencement of the thirty-day time limit for filing a notice of appeal until after the disposition of the motion. We cannot agree with either of these arguments.

DISCUSSION

I.

The Appellant first argues that his Motion for Extention [sic] of Time to File Notice of Appeal was substantially equivalent to a notice of appeal. 4 This motion was filed on January 14, 1991, the thirtieth day following final judgment. 5 Hence, the motion was filed within the time limit for notice of appeal.

The requirements for a notice of appeal must be construed liberally. See Fed.R.App.P. 3(c) ("An appeal shall not be dismissed for informality of form or title of the notice of appeal."). "[S]o long as the function of notice is met by the filing of a paper indicating an intention to appeal, the substance of the rule has been complied with." Fed.R.App.P. 3(c) advisory committee's note (1979).

The Appellant's motion to extend the time in which to appeal, however, does not demonstrate intent to appeal. Rather, asking for more time in which to file an appeal indicates uncertainty as to whether one will file an appeal and compels the conclusion that the notice of appeal is something yet to be filed.

At least three other circuits have refused to treat a motion for extension of time in which to appeal as substantially equivalent to a notice of appeal. See Alamo Chem. Transp. Co. v. M/V Overseas Valdes, 744 F.2d 22, 24 (5th Cir.1984); Selph v. Council of the City of Los Angeles, 593 F.2d 881, 883 (9th Cir.1979); Dyotherm Corp. v. Turbo Machine Co., 434 F.2d 65, 66 (3d Cir.1970) (per curiam).

Although one circuit has held that a motion to extend the time to appeal is substantially equivalent to a notice of appeal, we respectfully disagree with that court's reasoning. The Sixth Circuit held that because the motion to extend the time for appeal contains the same information as that required in a notice of appeal, the two can be treated as substantial equivalents. United States v. Christoph, 904 F.2d 1036, 1040 (6th Cir.1990) (noting that Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(c) sets forth only three requirements for a notice of appeal, all of which are contained in a motion for extension: specification of the party taking the appeal, the order from which appeal is taken, and the court to which appeal is taken), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 713, 112 L.Ed.2d 702 (1991). 6 We believe, however, that the list

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of requirements for a notice of appeal set forth in Rule 3(c) presupposes "the filing of a paper indicating an intention to appeal ..." Fed.R.App.P. 3 advisory committee's note to subdivision (c) (1979). As previously discussed, we do not believe that a motion to extend the time in which to file an appeal indicates such an intent. 7

As noted by the Appellant, we hold pro se pleadings, which are at issue here, to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 596, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972) (per curiam). Even under a generous reading of the Appellant's motion, however, we can find no evidence of intent to appeal. Thus, the...

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