prescreening of an appeal from a judgment on a short trial
verdict and a post-judgment order denying a motion for
judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or alternatively for a
new trial. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County;
James Crockett, Judge; Robert A. Goldstein, Short Trial
T. Kennedy, Las Vegas, for Appellant.
Howard Law Firm and James W. Howard, Las Vegas, for
HARDESTY, PARRAGUIRRE and STIGLICH, JJ.
appeal, we consider whether a motion for a new trial was
filed with the district court where it was accepted by the
short trial judge for filing, but there is no indication that
the short trial judge complied with NRCP 5(e) by noting the
date of filing on the document and promptly transmitting it
to the office of the clerk. We conclude that a document is
filed with the district court upon acceptance for filing by
the judge, and his or her failure to note the date of filing
thereon and transmit it to the clerk of the court is a
ministerial error not to be held against the parties.
Accordingly, the motion for a new trial was timely filed when
the short trial judge accepted it for filing.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
filed a complaint against respondents for negligence related
to a motor-vehicle accident. After a trial in the short trial
program, the district court entered a judgment on jury
verdict in favor of respondents. Notice of entry of judgment
was electronically served on March 24, 2016. No post-judgment
motions appear on the district court docket sheet; however,
appellant represented in her docketing statement that she
filed a motion for a new trial with the short trial judge on
March 24, 2016. The short trial judge entered an order on
April 25, 2016, denying a motion for judgment notwithstanding
the verdict or in the alternative, motion for a new trial.
Appellant filed the notice of appeal on May 19, 2016.
court entered an order directing appellant to show cause why
this appeal should not be dismissed in part for lack of
jurisdiction. We explained that the notice of appeal was
filed more than 30 days after service of notice of entry of
the judgment on jury verdict. Thus, the notice was untimely
as to the final judgment unless a timely tolling motion was
filed. See NRAP 4(a)(1), (4). It was not clear
whether the motion for a new trial tolled the time to file
the notice of appeal where the district court docket entries
did. not indicate that any such motion was filed in the
district court, and the copy of the motion for new trial
included with the docketing statement did not bear the
file-stamp of the district court clerk or a notation of the
filing date made by the judge.
response, appellant points to an email exchange between
appellant and the short trial judge. Appellant emailed the
short trial judge and inquired whether the new trial motion
should be e-filed. A copy of the new trial motion was
attached to the email. The short trial judge responded that
he did not know and directed appellant to contact the
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) office. Appellant then
informed the short trial judge that she was instructed by the
ADR office to file the motion directly with the short trial
judge by service and not to file the motion with the
clerk's office. Once a ruling was made, the short trial
judge's order was to be filed with the motion as an
exhibit. Appellant asked that the short trial judge accept
the earlier emailed motion as "my submission to you for
consideration and decision." The short trial judge then
set a briefing schedule for the motion.
on this exchange, appellant asserts that the new trial motion
was filed in accordance with the direction of the ADR office,
and the short trial judge accepted the motion as properly
filed. Respondents concede that if emailing the motion to the
short trial judge was the correct manner of proceeding, the
notice of appeal was timely filed. However, respondents argue
that emailing the motion does not meet the definition of
filing set forth in NRCP 5(e) because the motion was not
filed with the clerk. Respondents thus request that this
appeal be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
order to qualify as a tolling motion under NRAP 4(a)(4), a
motion for a new trial must be timely filed in the district
court under the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure. NRAP
4(a)(4). Documents may be filed with the court "by
filing them with the clerk of the court, except that the
judge may permit the papers to be filed with the judge, in
which event the judge shall note thereon the filing date and
forthwith transmit them to the office of the clerk."
NRCP 5(e). When a case is in the short trial program, unless