Prowswood, Inc. v. Mountain Fuel Supply Co
In Prowswood, Inc. v. Mountain Fuel Supply Co., 676 P.2d 952 (Utah 1984), the Court addressed the question of whether payment of docketing fees is a jurisdictional requirement under rule 73 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, which governed the filing of appeals prior to 1985.
Rule 73 stated in pertinent part:
"'A party may appeal from a judgment by filing with the district court a notice of appeal, together with sufficient copies thereof . . .,and depositing therewith the fee required for docketing the appeal in the Supreme Court.'" Id. at 954-55 (quoting Utah R. Civ. P. 73(a)).
In determining whether rule 73's docketing fee requirement was jurisdictional, the Prowswood court distinguished rule 73 from rule 3 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, which set forth only the requirement that an appellant must file a notice of appeal, and then stated:
"'Failure of an appellant to take any step other than the timely filing of a notice of appeal does not affect the validity of the appeal, but is ground only for such action as the court of appeals deems appropriate, which may include dismissal of the appeal.'" Id. at 958 (quoting Fed. R. App. P. 3(a)).
The Prowswood court concluded that the plain language of rule 73, unlike rule 3 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, expressly made both the notice of appeal and the docketing fee requirement jurisdictional. See id. at 959.
In sum, the Court construed rule 73(a) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, which required a party appealing to this court from a district court ruling to file with the district court a notice of appeal . . . and to deposit therewith the fee required for docketing the appeal in the Supreme Court. . . .
Failure of the appellant to take any of the further steps to secure the review of the judgment appealed from does not affect the validity of the appeal, but is ground only for such remedies as are specified in this rule or, when no remedy is specified, for such action as the Supreme Court deems appropriate, which may include dismissal of the appeal. (Prowswood, 676 P.2d at 954-55.)
The Court reasoned that the rule's express refusal to condition the appeal's validity on "further" failures indicated that the appeal's validity was contingent on both previously stated requirements--filing of the notice of appeal and payment of the docketing fee, both "within the requisite thirty-day period." Id. at 955.