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Harris Truck Lines v. Cherry Meat Packers, Inc., 371 U.S. 215 (1962)

Harris Truck Lines, Inc. v. Cherry Meat Packers, Inc.

No. 435

Decided December 17, 1962

371 U.S. 215


A Federal District Court rendered a judgment against petitioner, a defunct corporation, and denied a motion for a new trial while its general counsel, to whom had been delegated sole responsibility for all corporate decisions with respect to pending litigation, was in Mexico and could not be reached. Within the 30-day period for appeal permitted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73(a), petitioner's local counsel applied to the District Court for an extension of time within which to appeal. The District Court granted an extension of two weeks, and notice of appeal was filed within that time. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal on the ground that no showing of "excusable neglect based on a failure of a party to learn of the entry of the judgment," within the meaning of Rule 73(a), had been made to the District Court, that there was no basis for waiving the 30-day rule, and that, therefore, the appeal was untimely filed.

Held: since petitioner had relied on the District Court's ruling extending the time within which to appeal and petitioner would suffer a hardship if it were set aside, the Court of Appeals should have let it stand. Pp. 371 U. S. 215-217.

303 F.2d 609, judgment vacated and case remanded.

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