A Deadline Expired in my Colorado Appeal, What Can I Do?

In any appeal, it is vital to pay attention to all deadlines. In a worst-case scenario, a missed deadline can be fatal to an appeal. However, the Colorado Appellate Rules allow a litigant to request an extension of a missed deadline in certain, limited instances. Courts are often loathe to grant such requests, however, so litigants should use these rules as a last resort, rather than as a matter of course.

Colorado Appellate Rule (“CAR”) 26(b) governs enlargement of time for any deadline in an appeal before the Colorado Court of Appeals. This rule provides that the court of appeals may, “for good cause shown,” permit an act to be done after the corresponding deadline has expired.

So how can you show “good cause?” CAR 26(b) does not explicitly define this term. However, Colorado case law considering motions for extension under CAR 26(b) have explained that, in order to show “good cause,” a litigant must establish that his failure to meet the appropriate deadline was the result of “excusable neglect.” Excusable neglect exists where surrounding circumstances would cause a similarly situated, reasonably prudent person to overlook the deadline at issue. The standard is very high, and can not be based on simply needing more time to consider your options.

Any request under CAR 26(b) should be made as soon as a litigant realizes he missed a deadline, and should list all reasons why the deadline was missed. The deciding court has broad discretion to determine whether to grant it.

By its terms, CAR 26(b) explicitly excludes the deadline to file a notice of appeal in a civil case: meaning this deadline is not extendable.

To speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your appeal, contact the Alderman law Firm today.