If you are given incorrect information when trying to file an appeal, does the court have to give you additional time?
Question Details: I had filed a negligence case against my neighbor. Her dog came into my yard and killed my dog. The judge ruled I did not bear the burden of proof even though the facts clearly show my neighbor to be responsible. I went to file an appeal within the 30 day allowed period and was told the supervisor for the county magistrate court and the Superior court that I couldn't file an appeal because they said the judge ruled the case dismissed. He also ruled the burden of proof ruling two separate defendants I've been told both ways and am planning on going down to file a "de novo" claim this week. If indeed I had to file an appeal and missed the deadline because I was not allowed to file by the supervisor of the clerks, does the court have to allow me to still file, even though the 30 days are long gone? It would seem so but since I am pro se I don't have enough background to have that knowledge and no lawyers will take my case with out a retainer twice the amount I'd get from my neighbor is she paid her promised debt to me in the first place Yes, I have a detrimental reliance case here.
If you can show (including by your credible sworn affidavit) that the reason you were delayed in fiing the appeal was misinformation from a court clerk or other judiciary official, it is highly likely that you will be granted more time to appeal. We cannot say for sure, because allowing an out of time appeal is with the discretion of the appeals court--not being that court, we cannot say what it will do. But we can say that a delay due to court or judiciary malfeasance or error is certainly reasonable grounds for time to file the appeal late.
Two factors to consider before doing so:
1) What kind of a dismissal was it? If it was specifically "without prejudice," you don't need to appeal--you can refile. A without prejudice dismissal means "without prejudice"--or harm to or impact on--your right to refile the case. Generally, a without prejudice dismissal is when there was some perceived procedural defect in the case; when that is what happened, it is fastest and most cost effective to reflile, taking care to correct the defect.
2) Appeals can be expensive, since even if you proceed pro se, you will need to buy and provide copies of the trial transcript, which can be several hundred dollars. And an appeal is not guaranteed to win (never believe any lawyer who tell you that success is guaranteed). Depending on what you are suing for--and generally you can only get the dog's cost or economic value, or cost of any vet services or cremetion, when a dog is killed--it may not be worth spending that much money for only a chance to win.