Failure to File 60(b) Motion within 28 Days of Judgment to Toll Date for Filing Notice of Appeal Precludes Appellate Jurisdiction — Discovery Sanctions Motions Are Inextricably Intertwined with Merits and Toll Time to Appeal from Judgment

From Johnson v. Univ. of Rochester Med. Ctr., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 7980 (2d Cir. April 19, 2011):

This Court lacks appellate jurisdiction over Johnson's appeal from the district court's February 19, 2010 judgment and order dismissing his complaint and denying leave to amend. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4, a party must file a notice of appeal within thirty days from the date judgment is entered. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(a). A party tolls its filing deadline, however, by filing a Rule 60(b) motion within twenty-eight days of the judgment's entry. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(4)(A)(vi). Filing deadlines are mandatory and jurisdictional. Silivanch v. Celebrity Cruises, Inc., 333 F.3d 355, 363 (2d Cir. 2003). Accordingly, failure to comply with Rule 4 warrants dismissal. Glinka v. Maytag Corp., 90 F.3d 72, 74 (2d Cir. 1996) (citation omitted).

Johnson filed his Rule 60(b) motion on March 22, 2010, three days after the twenty-eight day tolling deadline expired. Because Johnson's Rule 60(b) motion failed to toll his deadline to file a notice of appeal, his June 4, 2010 notice of appeal was untimely. 3 Accordingly, this Court lacks appellate jurisdiction over the judgment and order dismissing Johnson's complaint and denying leave to amend.

[Footnote] 3. Johnson also argues that the district court's order denying the University's sanctions motion without prejudice rendered the February 19th judgment and order non-final. Although Johnson is correct that some sanctions orders (e.g., discovery sanctions) are "inextricably intertwined" with the merits of a case when the order appealed from is a sanctions order, see Cunningham v. Hamilton Cnty., 527 U.S. 198, 205-06 (1999), there was no reasonable possibility in this case that resolving the University's sanction motion would require further analysis of the merits. The pendency of the sanctions motion therefore did not extend the time to appeal the merits judgment. Cf. Eckert, 222 F.3d 19, 27 n.4 (2d Cir. 2000) ("Salovaara's time to appeal from the District Court's decision on the merits began to run in July 1998, notwithstanding the fact that Eckert was granted leave to file a motion for attorney's fees and/or sanctions.").

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