Iowa Supreme Court applies chapter 16 rules and dismisses another appeal due to lack of timely filing

Mollie Pawlosky Iowa Banking Law Iowa Real Estate & Land Use Dickinson Law Des Moines Iowa

Posted on 01/22/2016 at 10:43 AM by Mollie Pawlosky

In a recent blog, I recommended that Iowa practitioners stay tuned to developments at the Iowa appellate courts in interpreting chapter 16, Rules Pertaining to the use of the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS).

Sure enough, fewer than ten days after my recommendation, the Iowa Supreme Court has confirmed its position on one of the rules: an order is legally effective on the date that the order is entered, which is stamped on the order. Thus, rather than relying upon the date that the parties receive electronic notice of the order, make sure that your calendar deadlines are based on the order's entry date. The most recent instance of applying this rule arose in Amin v. Department of Human Services, No. 14-0399 (Iowa Jan. 22, 2016). In Amin, the district court dismissed Amin's petition for judicial review of an agency action due to insufficient proof of service.

The order dismissing the petition was e-filed on February 3, 2014.  However, it was not until the next day, February 4, 2014, that the EDMS generated the electronic notice of the order. When the electronic notice of the order was generated, it included the Official File Stamp: 02-03-2014:15:16:29. Amin filed a notice of appeal on March 6, 2014, which was thirty-one days after the order was filed, even though it was only thirty days after the electronic notice of the order was generated. In a Per Curiam opinion, the Iowa Supreme Court held, The Iowa Rules of Appellate Procedure require a notice of appeal be filed within 30 days after the filing of the final order or judgment. Iowa R. App. P. 6.101(1)(b). Based on our decision in Concerned Citizens of Southeast Polk School District v. City Development Board, ___ N.W.2d ___, ___ (Iowa 2015), we find the notice of appeal in this case was untimely and, therefore, dismiss the appeal. Thus, Iowa practitioners are beginning to see a body of case law develop that interprets the chapter 16 rules: even if the appellate court may be willing to interpret the rules equitably in instances where, for example, there is an EDMS malfunction, such as Ewing Concrete v. Rochon Corporation, No. 14-1628 (Iowa Court of App. Jan. 13, 2016), a bright line applies with regard to the date that an order is legally effective. So, pay attention to the order's entry date, regardless of how long it may have taken to disseminate the order. For questions regarding Amin v. Department of Human Services, or regarding commercial litigation in Iowa, contact Mollie Pawlosky.

The material in this blog is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied upon, as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney if specific legal information is needed. 

- Mollie Pawlosky


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