Case Caption: George R. Simpson v. Board of Directors of Sapphire Bay Condominiums WestCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2013-0143Date: 06/30/2015Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: Summary:

Virgin Islands Supreme Court Rule 5(a)(1) requires an appellant to file a notice of appeal within 30 days after the date of entry of a final order. In a lawsuit filed by the condominium board of directors alleging that an owner made structural changes to his unit without advance approval, litigation stretched over many years. After a ruling in 2006 for the defendant on the initial claim by the board, the Superior Court in August 2013 ruled by summary judgment upon all six of the plaintiff's counterclaims, but did not mention 11 motions that he had pending at the time of that ruling. The Superior Court later issued a November 2013 order stating that it was denying all pending motions as moot and administratively closing the case. The defendant filed a notice of appeal within 30 days of that decision, but well over two months after the August summary judgment ruling. A final judgment necessarily denies pending motions, and the November 2013 order was without legal effect in this case. The August order resolved all of the plaintiff's counterclaims, and the time for appeal began upon the entry of the final order into the docket, as provided in V.I.S.Ct.R. 5(a)(9). While greater leeway is accorded to pro se litigants, pro se status alone is not sufficient to justify a party's failure to follow procedural rules and the defendant in this case presented no grounds demonstrating that this is one of those rare cases where this Court should overlook its own rules to hear the appeal. The notice of appeal was untimely, and the appeal is dismissed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion