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U.S. Supreme Court

Torres v. Oakland Scavenger Co., 487 U.S. 312 (1988)

Torres v. Oakland Scavenger Co.

No. 86-1845

Argued February 23, 1988

Decided June 24, 1988

487 U.S. 312


Petitioner is one of 16 plaintiffs whose complaint seeking intervention in an employment discrimination action against respondent was dismissed by the District Court. On remand following the Court of Appeals' reversal of the dismissal, the District Court granted summary judgment against petitioner on the ground that he had not been named in the notice of appeal to the Court of Appeals, albeit inadvertently. The Court of Appeals affirmed, ruling that exclusion from the notice of appeal constituted a jurisdictional bar.

Held: Failure to file a notice of appeal in accordance with Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(c)'s requirement that the notice "specify the party or parties taking the appeal" presents a jurisdictional bar to the appeal. The Rule's caveat that an appeal "shall not be dismissed for [the notice's] informality of form or title" does not aid petitioner, since his exclusion from the notice constitutes a failure to appeal, rather than excusable informality. Nor can petitioner find relief in Rule 2's grant of broad equitable discretion to the courts of appeals, "for good cause shown," to "suspend the requirements . . . of any [Rule]," since Rule 26(b) contains an exception forbidding "enlarg[ing]" Rule 4's mandatory time limits for filing a notice, which would be vitiated if courts could exercise jurisdiction over parties not named in the notice. This reading is supported by the Advisory Committee's Note following Rule 3, and does not contravene Foman v. Davis, 371 U. S. 178, since, although, under that decision, a court may construe the Rules liberally and ignore "mere technicalities" in determining compliance, it may not waive the jurisdictional requirements of Rules 3 and 4, even for "good cause shown." Here, petitioner never filed the functional equivalent of a notice of appeal, was not named by implication in the notice that was filed, and did not seek leave to amend the notice within the time limit set by Rule 4. The use of "et al." in the notice was insufficient to notify respondent and the court that petitioner was an appellant, or to allow them to determine with certitude whether he should be bound by an adverse judgment or held liable for costs or sanctions. Pp. 487 U. S. 314-318.

807 F.2d 178, affirmed.

MARSHALL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J.,and WHITE, BLACKMUN, STEVENS, O'CONNOR, and KENNEDY, JJ., chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 487 U. S. 313

joined. SCALIA, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 487 U. S. 318. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 487 U. S. 319.

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