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United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
January 12, 2021, Argued; July 8, 2021, Decided
[*142] Menashi, Circuit Judge:
Plaintiff-Appellant Marion Alexander appeals from the district court's denial of her motion for an extension of time to file an appeal. Alexander filed suit [**3] in federal court against the Commissioner of Social Security under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of her claim for Supplemental Security Income benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq. While the district court's decision was pending, Alexander moved out of her mother's house and failed to provide her counsel with updated contact information. As a result, she did not receive notice of the district court's decision denying her benefits claim until two days after the deadline to notice an appeal had passed. Alexander filed a motion with the district court under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5) for leave to file an untimely appeal. The Commissioner opposed the motion.
] Under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5), a district court "may extend the time to file a notice of appeal if ... th[e] party [seeking an extension] shows excusable neglect or good cause." The "good cause" standard applies when the need for an extension arises from factors outside the control of the movant; the "excusable neglect" standard applies when the need for an extension results from factors within the movant's control. The district court denied Alexander's motion, holding that she established neither "good cause" nor "excusable neglect" for her failure to file a timely appeal. ] We review that [**4] decision for abuse of discretion and will reverse only if we are left with "a definite and firm conviction that the court below committed a clear error of judgment" in reaching its decision. Silivanch v. Celebrity Cruises, Inc., 333 F.3d 355, 362 (2d Cir. 2003).
Because Alexander's failure to appeal in a timely fashion was at least partially due to her own inadvertence, "excusable neglect," rather than "good cause," is the appropriate standard for assessing her claim. ] To determine whether a litigant has established "excusable neglect" under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5), courts consider the four factors set forth by the Supreme Court in Pioneer Inv. Servs. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 113 S. Ct. 1489, 123 L. Ed. 2d 74 (1993). Those factors are: "the danger of prejudice to the [non-movant], the length of the delay and its potential impact on judicial proceedings, the reason for the delay, including whether it was within the reasonable control of the movant, and whether the movant acted in good faith." Id. at 395. Because "[t]he requirement of filing a timely notice of appeal is 'mandatory and jurisdictional,'" Bowles v. Russell, 551 U.S. 205, 207, 127 S. Ct. 2360, 168 L. Ed. 2d 96 (2007), we have "taken a hard line in applying the Pioneer test," Midland Cogeneration Venture Ltd. P'ship v. Enron Corp. (In re Enron Corp.), 419 F.3d 115, 122 (2d Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks omitted), explaining that "where the rule is entirely clear, we continue to expect that a party claiming excusable neglect will, in the ordinary course, lose," id. at 123.
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5 F.4th 139 *; 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 20211 **; 110 Fed. R. Serv. (Callaghan) 4
MARION ALEXANDER, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ANDREW SAUL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant-Appellee.
Subsequent History: US Supreme Court certiorari denied by, Motion granted by Alexander, Marion v. Comm'r, Soc. SEC, 2022 U.S. LEXIS 1874 (U.S., Apr. 4, 2022)
Prior History: [**1] On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.
Plaintiff-Appellant Marion Alexander, an applicant for Supplemental Security Income benefits, appeals from the judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (Stewart, M.J.) denying her motion for an extension of time to file an appeal pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5). Alexander argues that because of her mental impairments, she established both "good cause" and "excusable neglect" under Rule 4(a)(5) for her failure to file a timely appeal and accordingly contends that the district court abused its discretion in denying her motion for an extension.
We conclude that "excusable neglect," rather than "good cause," is the appropriate standard for evaluating Alexander's claim because her failure timely to appeal was at least in part due to her own inadvertence. In evaluating claims of "excusable neglect" under Rule 4(a)(5), courts consider the four factors set forth by the Supreme Court in Pioneer Inv. Servs. v. Brunswick Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 113 S. Ct. 1489, 123 L. Ed. 2d 74 (1993): the risk of prejudice to the non-movant; the length of the movant's delay and its impact on the proceedings; the reason for the delay, including whether it was within the movant's reasonable control; and whether the movant acted in good [**2] faith. The district court applied these factors to Alexander's claim and concluded that she failed to demonstrate excusable neglect. Because we discern no abuse of discretion in the district court's application of the Pioneer factors, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.
Marion A. v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178092, 2019 WL 12476548 (N.D.N.Y., Oct. 15, 2019)
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