Thursday, May 08, 2008

SC Court of Appeals makes new law on Rule 59 and timeliness of an appeal

In Camp v. Camp, the South Carolina Court of Appeals offered another chapter in the book of practice under Rule 59(e). The case concerned a family court order requiring father to pay mother a certain amount of child's college expenses. After the order was entered, father filed the following motion for reconsideration:

Please be advised that the defendant through his undersigned attorney will move before the Honorable David Sawyer to reconsider the ruling in his order dated July 26, 2006 and awarding [child] college expenses and costs.
This motion hearing is set to be heard on the 18th day of October, 2006, at 3:45 o'clock p.m.
Please be present to defend if so minded.

A hearing was held on the motion and the motion was denied. Father then appealed. The key issue on appeal was whether the motion to reconsider stayed the time of appeal. If the motion to reconsider did not stay the time for appeal, then father's appeal would have been due on August 26, 2006, several months before the motion was actually heard.

The Court of Appeals held that because the motion for reconsideration was insufficient under SCRCP 7(b)(1), it did not stay the time for appeal. The Court chided the father for not stating with particularity the grounds for relief in the motion. The Court emphasized that father neither identified an error of law by the family court not stated a single ground on which the family court might grant him relief.

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