After getting hit with an anti-SLAPP fee award, the plaintiff in McKenna v. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (D2d5 Feb. 15, 2023 No. B304256) 2023 WL 2007687 (nonpub. opn.) filed a notice of appeal. McKenna had already filed the order granting Sony’s anti-SLAPP motion based on alleged misappropriation of the likeness of the late actor Christopher Jones in the Quentin Tarantino Film Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.
To file the notice of appeal, the attorney logged on to the e-filing system late in the evening of the appellate deadline. Like, really late—at 11:52 p.m. Owing to a reportedly “slow connection,” the notice of appeal was not file-stamped until 12:00 a.m. That is, the day after the deadline.
One minute late.
The plaintiff also had a second problem: the notice of appeal did not identify the order being challenged on appeal, or the name of the appellant, and so the clerk rejected the notice of appeal for that reason. So the morning after the deadline, the plaintiff filed a motion to amend the notice of appeal to correct those errors. The plaintiff also explained the e-filing problems.
But the Court of Appeal still dismissed the appeal.
This case applied the rule providing for relief for e-filing mishaps much more narrowly than another recent case in Garg v. Garg (D4d3 Sept. 7, 2022 No. G061500).
And it also declined to invoke the doctrine of liberality, which the same Second District invoked—rather liberally—in its recent decision in Magyar v. Kaiser Permanente Medical Center (D2d2 Jan. 23, 2023 No. B315353).
So when it comes to invoking the rules that might relax the deadline to appeal, your mileage may vary. Do not count on them.