Stay of Proceedings Pending Appeal

A district court or Court of Appeals may stay all proceedings in an admiralty case if an appeal is taken from an interlocutory decree.  A stay may be granted if the appeal is taken of an otherwise unappealable order involving a controlling question of law over which substantial disagreement exists that may result in speeding up the conclusion of the litigation.  But in any event, the staying of proceedings pending an interlocutory appeal is only exceptional, and not the rule as with an appeal from a final decree.

In a maritime attachment claim, it is not a requirement to obtain a stay or post a supersedes bond to preserve the jurisdiction of the district court while the release of funds is being appealed.  An order in an admiralty action staying the case pending arbitration cannot be appealed.

In Fitzgerald v. Compania Naviera La Molinera, 394 F. Supp. 402, 412 (D. La. 1975), counsel for the Public Grain Elevator, through a letter to the Court, requested to state that the order of the Court dismissing the Elevator’s third party claim against the Board of Trade involved a controlling question of law as to which there was substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation, and to certify for an interlocutory appeal.  Usually, the final determination of an appeal requires a great deal of time.  According to the Federal Rules a party has forty days from filing the notice of appeal to take the necessary steps to have the appeal docketed.  Specifically, in the Fifth Circuit, this is followed by a delay averaging nine months until final disposition.  In the case of an interlocutory appeal, an additional month or so must be added for the Court of Appeals to consider the merits of allowing the appeal.  Many things would take place during this time and the parties would be forced to suffer the uncertainty of pending litigation.  Delay of the matter pending appeal would deny the plaintiffs their timely day in court, primarily to enable defendants to litigate among themselves on whom the burden either of judgment or expense rests.  The court stated that the delay of justice would be injustice, and such delays shall not be granted by the Court if an appeal was taken.


Inside Stay of Proceedings Pending Appeal