Last week the Law Court handed down two decisions relating to judicial process, addressing the time limits for notices of appeal and the situations in which relief can be sought for wrongful use of civil proceedings.
In the first case, Witham v. Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, a petitioner challenging an agency action failed to timely appeal from a Superior Court decision affirming the agency’s action. Instead of filing a notice of appeal within 21 days of the court’s judgment, the petitioner did not appeal until 160 days after entry of judgment. The problem arose because the petitioner never received notice of the Superior Court’s decision; the clerk’s office apparently mailed the judgment, but the postal service did not deliver it. The problem is, Maine Rule of Appellate Procedure 2B provides that the appeal period may only be extended by more than 21 days (but no more than 140 days) if the clerk failed to send the