A party seeking to appeal a bankruptcy court decision only has ten (10) days to file a Notice of Appeal. The Notice of Appeal must be filed with the clerk of the bankruptcy court, not with the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (“BAP”) or District Court. (Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8001.) Contrast this with the amount of time a litigant would have to file a Notice of Appeal in a non-bankruptcy federal case: thirty (30) days under the Federal Rules of Appeal or F.R.A.P. However, where a litigant can show excusable neglect in missing the 10-day deadline to file its Notice of Appeal, the time can be extended by court order up to 20 additional days.
Furthermore, within ten (10) days of filing the Notice of Appeal, the appellant must file both a Designation of the Record on Appeal and a Statement of Issues. An appeal may be dismissed under Bankruptcy Rule 8001(a) if the Appellant fails to take the required steps other than filing a Notice of Appeal. Once the appeal is “docketed” in the appropriate appellate court (whether to the BAP in Circuits with BAPs or to the local District Court), the litigants again face short briefing deadlines. Appellant’s opening brief is due within fifteen (15) days of the appeal being docketed. (Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8009.) Respondent’s brief is due within fifteen (15) days of service of the opening brief. Appellant’s Reply brief is due within ten (10) days of service of the Respondent’s brief. Thus, from bankruptcy court decision to completion of appellate briefing, the whole process could take less than two months.
One of the reasons for short deadlines in bankruptcy appeals is the greater chance of appellate relief becoming moot (e.g. if a plan is approved while an appeal is pending).