A ruling every Iowa lawyer must commit to memory filed Dec. 11
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Last Friday, in a case of first impression, the Iowa Supreme Court clarified how current EDMS rules impact appellate procedure. In a 5-2 vote, the court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction and effectively concluded that EDMS rule 16.311 trumps 16.307(2) insofar as it relates to a determination of the timeliness of the filing of appeals in Iowa.


More specifically, in Concerned Citizens of Southeast Polk School District and Jessman Smith v. City Development Board of the State of Iowa, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a court order is "filed” when the judge submits it to the court’s electronic document management system (and thus when the system stamps it with the date), and not when the clerk approves and notifies the parties of that order. That ruling clarifies an ambiguity in the Iowa rules that govern electronic filing.


"This is a ruling that every Iowa lawyer must commit to memory, because it can have significant consequences,” said ISBA Board of Governor Ryan Koopmans, from District 5C. "It’s not uncommon for attorneys to receive notification of a court order one or two days after the district court submitted that order into the system. So it’s important that attorneys check the file stamp on that order. An appeal that’s filed more than 30 days after that date (but 30 days or less after receiving the notification) will be untimely. And it will be dismissed.” 


To read the court’s opinion, click here. To read information regarding the Iowa Supreme Court’s request for comments on proposed amendments to EDMS rules, click here. Comments must be received no later than 4:30 p.m., Feb. 1, 2016. 


Special thanks to Ryan Koopmans for permission to use excerpts from his Dec. 11, blog post, "When is a court order electronically filed?” To read Koopmans’ analysis of the ruling, click here.