F.R.A.P. 3


So here's why I consider an oddity in the existing appellate rules.  Assume that your client has lost at the district court and contemplates appeal.  There are other similarly situated parties against whom the judgment also applies.

Under F.R.A.P. 3(b)(1), if you get together and file one notice of appeal, with one filing fee (albeit listing all the parties to the appeal), then you will get one brief, 14000 word limit.  If each of you file your own notice of appeal, with your own filing fee, you ordinarily will get your own brief, 14000 word limit each. 

If you just file the multiple notices of appeal and do nothing else, then typically the court will pick up on the fact that two appeals have been filed from the same judgment and will enter a consolidation order.  Ordinarily in the First Circuit, that consolidation order won't require the similarly situated parties to file one brief or split the 14000 words (some courts I believe have local rules that do this).  If you and the other similarly situated appellants file your own motion to consolidate, you can ask specifically for what you want in terms of number of briefs etc., and see what the First Circuit gives you.

Does this result make sense?  – one notice of appeal means one 14,000 brief; the same appeal, with the same parties, with multiple notices, multiplies the number of briefs?  I'm all for funding the federal court, but why would the number of briefs in an appeal depend upon how many filing fees have been submitted?  And shouldn't we be encouraging one notice filings so that we don't have to deal with motions to consolidate?

I'm on the local rules advisory committee, but before I raise this question with them, here's a shout out to anyone who has any thoughts on this issue.