Timeliness of an Appeal – The Date From Which the Appeal Period Begins to Run Must be Made Available to the Public
August 4, 2020
The Court of Special Appeals had the opportunity to clarify the date from which the time for filing an appeal begins to run in the case of Won Sun Lee v. Won Bok Lee. Maryland Rule 8-202 requires that a notice of appeal be filed within 30 days after entry of the judgment or order from which the appeal is taken and further provides that “entry” occurs on the day when the clerk enters a record on the docket of the electronic case management system used by the court. Maryland Rule 6-201 titled “Entry of Judgment” sets forth additional requirements which are applicable to this analysis. For an entry of judgment to be recognized, Rule 2-601(a) requires that a final judgment from which an appeal may be taken be set forth in a separate document signed by the court. Rule 2-601(b) then establishes the method of entry of the judgment: (1) the clerk shall make an entry of the judgment on the docket of the electronic case management system of the court; and (2) the docket entry and date of entry shall be available to the public through the case search feature on the Maryland Judiciary website. Rule 2-601(d) further explains that regardless of the date the judgment was signed, the date of the judgment shall be the date the clerk enters the judgment on the docket of the electronic case management system of the court. Confusion in the case of Won Sun Lee arose out of the notations made by the clerk in the electronic case management system. The final Order denying appellant’s motion was dated June 2, 2016, and stamped “ENTERED” by the clerk on June 3, 2016. The notation made in the electronic case management system indicated that the motion was denied and copies were mailed on June 3, 2016. The docket entry that appeared on the Judiciary website indicated that the motion was denied, but it was unclear as to what date that entry was made. Appellant noted an appeal on July 6, 2016, which is 31 days from June 3, 2016, and Appellee moved to strike appellant’s notice claiming it was untimely. The Court of Special Appeals held that because the docket entry available to the public did not sufficiently provide notice of the date of entry, it violated Rule 2-601(b) and the appeal period was not triggered until the docket entry was subsequently clarified to reflect that the motion was denied on June 3, 2016.