An Example of How a Real Estate Court Can Screw Up on Dates

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on March 25, 2014

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We see it all the time. A real estate transaction contract is drafted. There’s a dispute. It goes to court. Whatever the decision may be, it could end up with a motion for reconsideration with the circuit court or not. If by chance there is a motion to reconsider, the circuit reviews it. Only when a decision is made one way or another does it trigger the standard window of opportunity for an appeal to be filed (if the decision is denial of the motion, of course), which is 30 days from the date of the opinion.calendar

It amazes me how some courts might actually make a mistake of denying an appeal, because as we all know, if you don’t file any appeal within that window of opportunity, you lose out on it. Deadlines are key. In this case, though, between Title Guar. Escrow Servs., Inc. and Waialea Resort Company, Ltd., the deadlines were observed successfully starting with the motion for reconsideration and subsequent denial by the circuit court, followed by the plaintiff’s filing of an appeal within that 30-day timeline but without the intermediate court of appeal’s (ICA) opinion affirming that. They actually denied the appeal on the grounds that the plaintiff’s filing was “untimely.”

Let’s back up here, because that’s quite a bit confusing. The facts were clear – plaintiff filed for that appeal “within the 30-day timeline.” I’m quoting myself, of course, but it’s backed up with the real facts of the case. What is the ICA referring to then as far as the “untimely” goes? It’s actually quite simple. The ICA’s referring to the denial of the motion to reconsider but not the original motion to reconsider the original decision. Are you confused, yet? Here’s the chronology. Plaintiff received partial and final judgment and then moved for a motion to reconsider that with proper denial from the circuit court; plaintiff then filed another motion to reconsider with the ICA. The ICA is only referring to the original motion’s date deeming denial, which doesn’t trigger that 30-day deadline for filing an appeal until the actual judgment or appealable order has been placed.

The law is all about coordination and correctness. You better have a calendar handy to figure this all out.

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