Seventh Circuit Reminds Parties of Importance of Complete and Correct Jurisdictional Statements

February 12, 2020 12:06 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

By:  Carson Griffis*

Chief Judge Wood recently issued an opinion reminding practitioners of their duty to submit complete and correct jurisdictional statements in their briefs, including identifying a magistrate judge's involvement in district court proceedings.  In two cases, Lowrey v. Tilden, No. 19-1365, and McCray v. Wilkie, No. 19-3145, magistrate judges had issued the final judgments from which the appeals had been taken.

But Chief Judge Wood found that the parties' briefs lacked necessary information about the magistrate judges' involvement to satisfy Seventh Circuit Rule 28.  She noted that Circuit Rule 28 requires an appellant's brief to include information about the magistrate judge's involvement in its jurisdictional statement, including the date on which each party consented to the entry of final judgment by the magistrate judge.  And if an appellant's jurisdictional statement is not complete and correct, the appellee's brief must provide that information.  But the parties in the two appeals did not provide the dates on which each party consented to the magistrate judge entering final judgment, and in McCray, the parties neglected to mention that a magistrate judge had made the decision being appealed.  Chief Judge Wood stressed that this information was critically important to the Seventh Circuit because a magistrate judge has no authority to issue a final, appealable decision unless all parties consent.  

Chief Judge Wood ordered the parties to submit amended jurisdictional statements and encouraged all attorneys practicing in the Seventh Circuit to consult the court's Practitioner's Handbook for Appeals (2019 ed.) for guidance on how to prepare complete and correct jurisdictional statements.  And she emphasized that the court expected all attorneys "to give close attention to all of the rules, including Circuit Rule 28."

The Practitioner's Handbook for Appeals (2019 ed.) is available on the Seventh Circuit's website and can be found here.

*Carson Griffis is an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Appeals Division of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.  No comments made in this post are made on behalf of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, nor do they reflect the views or opinions of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. 

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