If a party pursuing a collateral order appeal wants a stay of the trial court proceeding pending resolution of the attempted appeal, it must move for such order. Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 8 governs motions for stay or injunctions while an appeal is pending. FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(1)(C).
Rule 8 provides that a party must ordinarily move first in the district court for a stay of the order of a district court pending appeal or for an “order suspending, modifying, restoring, or granting an injunction” while an appeal is pending. FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(1)(A), (C).
1. Contents and requirements of Motion for Stay filed in the Fifth Circuit
A party may bypass the district court and move for that relief in the court of appeals in the first instance by filing a motion showing that “moving first in the district court would be impracticable.” FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(2)(A)(i).
If a party unsuccessfully sought a stay from the trial court, that party may seek a stay from the court of appeals by filing a motion stating that “a motion having been made, the district court denied the motion or failed to afford the relief requested and state any reasons given by the district court for its action.” FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(2)(A)(ii).
Under either scenario—whether a stay was or was not sought in the district court in the first instance—any motion for stay in the court of appeals must also include:
(i) the reasons for granting the relief requested
and the facts relied on;
(ii) originals or copies of affidavits or other
sworn statements supporting facts subject to
(iii) relevant parts of the record.
FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(2)(B); see also FED. R. APP. P. 18(a)(2)(B) (governing stays pending review of agency decision or order).
The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure also require that the moving party give reasonable notice of the motion to all parties, including when, where, and to whom the application for stay or injunction is to be presented. FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(2)(C). An original and three copies of the motion and supporting papers, together with a certificate of service, should be filed with the circuit clerk of the court of appeals. The motion does not need a cover, but must be securely bound so as to not obscure the text and so that it will lie reasonably flat when open.
There is no separate filing fee for filing a motion for stay or injunction in the court of appeals, but all required fees must have been paid in the underlying action before the court of appeals will act on the motion. Counsel should generally consult FED. R. APP. P. 27(a) and (d), 5TH CIR. R. 27.4, and the Internal Operating Procedure following 5TH CIR. R. 27.5 (which was effective December 1, 2002) concerning the requirements and format for motions. In particular, counsel should note that all motions should indicate whether they are opposed or not.
And, because a motion for stay or injunction is not merely a “procedural motion,” it must contain a certificate of interested persons. See 5TH CIR. R. 27.4.
The Fifth Circuit Internal Operating Procedures now clarify a gap in that existed in the rules until a few years ago regarding the lack of a regulation of the font size for motions. The Internal Operating Procedure following 5TH CIR. R. 27.5 makes clear that motions must comply with the typeface and type style requirements of FED. R. APP. P. 32(a)(5) and (6), which means that motions must be in no smaller than 14 point proportional typeface (or not more than 10½ characters per inch in monospaced typeface). The length of motions is limited to 20 pages, exclusive of the corporate disclosure statement (in the Fifth Circuit, the certificate of interested persons) and any accompanying documents authorized by Rule
27(a)(2)(B) and, in the specific context of a motion for stay or injunction, by Rule 8(a)(2)(B). FED. R. APP. P. 27(d)(2).
2. Response to Motion for Stay
Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 8 governing motions for stay is silent concerning responses and replies. The general rule concerning motions provides that any party may file a response in opposition to a motion “within 10 days after service of the motion unless the court shortens or extends the time.” FED. R. APP. P. 27(a)(3)(A). In computing your response time, counsel should note that the computation-of-time rule in the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure was recently amended (effective December 1 , 2013) and now provides that if the time for taking an action under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure is less than 11 days, then intervening Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays are excluded, unless the time period specifies that it is stated in calendar days. FED. R. APP. P. 26(a)(2).
Because the court may act on motions authorized by Rule 8 (for stay or injunction) in fewer than 10 days by giving reasonable notice that it intends to act sooner, if a party intends to respond to a motion for stay or injunction, it is a good idea to notify the clerk’s office as soon as possible and to transmit your response to the clerk’s office by overnight delivery as soon as it is ready. All responses received by the clerk before action on the motion are presented to the court for consideration.
As a general rule, the Fifth Circuit no longer sends a letter to the parties advising them that the court has received and filed a motion and identifying the deadline to file any response. The Fifth Circuit’s website advises of this change in its internal operating procedures and suggests that counsel register for the Fifth Circuit’s event notification service on its website to get notice right away of the filing any motions.
Any response is limited to 20 pages and, like the motion, must comply with the typeface and type style requirements of FED. R. APP. P. 32(a)(5) and (6). FED. R. APP. P. 27(d)(2); I.O.P. following 5TH CIR. R. 27.5
Although FED. R. APP. P. 27(a)(4) permits a reply to a response within 5 days after service of the response, the Fifth Circuit’s website warns that the court looks upon replies with great disfavor.
Not surprisingly, then, the court does not—as a general rule—grant extensions of time to file a reply to a response. Any reply is limited to 10 pages. FED. R. APP. P. 27(d)(2).
4. Internal processing A motion for stay filed in the court of appeals normally will be considered by a panel of the court.
FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(1)(D). “But in an exceptional case in which time requirements make that procedure impracticable, the motion may be made to and considered by a single judge.” FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(1)(D). If the motion is an emergency motion, the clerk’s office immediately assigns the motion to the next administrative judge in rotation on the court’s administrative log and simultaneously sends copies of the motion to the other panel members.
Motions are ordinarily considered without oral argument. FED. R. APP. P. 27(e).
The court of appeals may condition relief on a party’s filing a bond or other appropriate security in the district court. FED. R. APP. P. 8(a)(1)(E).
5. Appellate court jurisdiction to rule on a motion for stay or injunction Practitioners should note that neither a motion for stay nor a motion for injunction transfer jurisdiction to the appellate court. For the court of appeals to have jurisdiction to consider a motion for stay or for injunction, the court of appeals’ jurisdiction must first be properly invoked by the filing of a notice of appeal, in the case of a collateral-order appeal or section 1292(a)(1) appeal for example, or by the pendency of an original proceeding or a petition for permission to appeal. The motion for stay can be filed concurrent with a document invoking the appellate court’s jurisdiction, but it cannot precede the invocation of the appellate court’s
A party aggrieved by the court’s ruling on a motion may file a “motion for reconsideration,” (not a motion or petition for “rehearing”). A motion for reconsideration of action on a motion must be filed within 14 days (unless the United States is a party in a civil case, see 5TH CIR. R. 27.1). Counsel should note that a motion for reconsideration must be physically received by the clerk’s office by the deadline; the mailbox rule does not apply to motions. Reconsideration requests are limited to 15 pages.
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