Appeals/Motions to Reconsider

What is an Appeal?

An appeal is a request to a higher court to review the decision or order of a lower court in the hope that the higher court will reverse that decision. In bankruptcy, there are two higher courts: The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel in Boston, Massachusetts and the U.S. District Court, located in Providence Rhode Island. Typically, appeals are heard by either of these two Courts. You must file a Notice of Appeal, along with an Appellant Election Form (R.I. Bankr. Form S). A third option is to file a Petition Requesting a Direct Appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals under 28 U.S.C. §158(d)(2).

When you file an appeal, you are now called the “Appellant”. The party against whom the appeal is filed is called the APPELLEE.

How long do I have to file an appeal?

If an appeal is filed, it must be done within 14 days after the entry of the Bankruptcy Court order to be appealed. All orders contain an “Entered on docket” date so your appeal must be filed no later than 14days after that date. You may file a motion with the court, requesting an extension of time to file an appeal, but that motion must be filed no later than 14 days after the entry of the order being appealed.

Does it matter which court I choose?

No, but each court has its own set of rules regarding the material that they require on which to base their decision. To review these rules, click on the following links: US District Court Rules, or BAP Rules, or First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Where are these courts located?

The address for the District Court is:

U.S. District Court for the District of RI
One Exchange Terrace
Providence RI 02903
(401) 752-7200

The address for the BAP is:

U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit
John W. McCormack Post Office and Court House
5 Post Office Square, Suite 910
Boston, MA 02109-3945
(617) 748-9650

The address for the 1st Circuit is:

John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
One Courthouse Way
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 748-9057

Does it cost anything to file an appeal?

Yes, there is a fee to file an appeal with the U.S. District Court or Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP), or a direct appeal to the First Circuit Court. A debtor may not pay using a personal check or a credit card. Cash, or a money order made payable to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court is required. This will not be refunded if you lose the appeal. For the current fee to file an appeal click the Court Fees link located under the Resources topic located in the menu bar on the left of this page.

What paperwork is required?

You will need to file a Notice of Appeal and an Appellate Election Form, or a Petition Requesting a Direct Appeal. When completing the Notice of Appeal form, you must identify the case name, case number, the party filing the appeal (the appellant), and the Bankruptcy Court Order being appealed. You must also name the other parties in the case, along with their attorneys, who will have an interest in the appeal.

When completing the Appellate Election Form, you must choose which court you would like to hear the appeal: The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP) or the U.S. District Court.

What happens next?

Fourteen days after an appeal is filed, the appellant is required to file a Designation of Record and a Statement of Issues on Appeal. A Designation of Record is a numbered list of all of the documents in the bankruptcy case that the appellant would like the higher court to review in order to make their decision. In addition to the numbered list, the appellant is required to provide copies of those documents named. A Statement of Issues on Appeal is a list of the issues of law that the appellant would like the higher court to consider.

The Designation of Record can also include, but not require, a copy of a Transcript of a hearing held before the Bankruptcy Judge. In order to obtain a transcript for a designation, you must contact the Clerk’s Office (401.626.3100)  and ask to speak to one of our Court Recorders  for purposes of ordering a transcript. There is a separate fee for the transcript and this will have to be paid to a transcription service. The Court Recorder will give you an estimate of the cost, which is based on the length of the hearing.

If you have chosen the U.S. District Court as the appeals court, your Designation of Record must be tabbed in reverse chronological order and must be filed with the Bankruptcy Court Clerk, who will later forward it to the District Court.

If you have chosen the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP), your Designation of Record must not only be filed with the Bankruptcy Court Clerk, but 2 copies must be also be filed with the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel at the above address.

Again, the Designation of Record and Statement of Issues on Appeal must be filed within 14 days of the appeal. Failure to do so may result in the DISMISSAL of the appeal.

What happens after my appeal has gone to the higher court?

You will receive a notice from that court indicating that they have received the appeal and have assigned a new case number. If the higher court is the District Court, the new case number will have the designation C.A. before the number. If you had chosen the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, the new case number will have the designation BAP before the number. If you file a direct appeal, the Court of appeals may grant the request or deny the request. If denied, the appeal will be heard by either the US District Court or the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel.

The higher court may issue notices for hearings or a schedule for filing briefs. These will be mailed by them directly to you and any other party identified in the appeal.

After all briefs are filed and all hearings have been concluded, the higher court will issue its Opinion that may do one or more of the following: Affirm the order of the Bankruptcy Court; Reverse the order of the Bankruptcy Court or; Remand (send back) the matter to the Bankruptcy Court for re-hearing.