Note
Deadlines in Civil Litigation: Toward a More Equitable Framework for Granting Extensions

Deadlines in Civil Litigation: Toward a More Equitable Framework for Granting Extensions

James Mooney

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This Note proposes reforms to federal rules of procedure governing deadline extensions in civil litigation. Civil Rule 6(b)(1)(B), a representative example, allows deadline enlargements after a party files a document late, provided that the litigant “failed to act because of excusable neglect.” Unfortunately, courts interpret “excusable neglect” inconsistently and some circuits construe it narrowly. This allows judges to dismiss meritorious cases and bar appeals even when extending deadlines would not prejudice other parties or harm the proceedings. A more equitable framework would channel judicial discretion and encourage courts to resolve cases on the merits rather than on missed due dates.
 
Yale Law School, J.D. Class of 2019. I am deeply grateful to Noah Messing for supervising this project and encouraging me to pursue publication. Thanks to Yena Lee and Jamie Durling for invaluable feedback on my early drafts. Thanks also to Laurel Raymond, Simon Zhen, Jake van Leer, and other members of the Yale Law & Policy Review for careful editing and thoughtful suggestions.
Cite this article:

James Mooney

, Note, 
Deadlines in Civil Litigation: Toward a More Equitable Framework for Granting Extensions
, 37 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 683 (2019).