United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Procedure — time to appeal — motions to reopen
A litigant’s failure to open his mail is not a basis for reopening the time to file an appeal.
“[O]ur conclusion that a document is ‘received’ when delivered to the proper address does not assist plaintiff. When he came home on January 27, the judgment was waiting for him. It had been both served by the clerk and delivered by the Postal Service. Plaintiff does not offer any reason to doubt that it arrived within 21 days of the judgment’s entry. Instead he contends that a document is not ‘received’ until the envelope is opened and the contents read. He does not furnish any support for that proposition (recall that he failed to comply with our order to file a memorandum of law), and we could not find any. Delivery to the address on file (the litigant’s, or the litigant’s lawyer’s if the litigant is represented by counsel) is the normal meaning of receipt in law. No authority of which we are aware holds that a litigant may defer “receipt” of a document by failing to open the envelope containing it. Quite the contrary, this circuit recently rejected just such a contention. See Ho v. Donovan, 569 F.3d 677 (7th Cir. 2009). Neither the text of Rule 4(a)(6), nor anything in the committee notes, suggests that ‘receive’ has an unusual meaning.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Randa, J., Easterbrook, J.