Paxton Resources, L.L.C. v. Brannaman

In Paxton Resources, L.L.C. v. Brannaman, 95 P.3d 796 (Wyo. 2004), the Court considered the interplay of several court rules in determining when a notice of appeal must be filed under the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure in order to confer jurisdiction upon this Court. Paxton filed several post-trial motions, including a motion for a new trial, after a jury awarded Brannaman compensatory damages for breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. Id. The day after the post-trial motions were filed, the district court entered a judgment on the jury verdict. Id. The court subsequently set a hearing for Paxton's post-trial motions on a date more than 90 days after they were filed. Id. Following the hearing, the district court denied the post-trial motions and Paxton appealed. Id. The notice of appeal was filed more than 30 days after the post trial motions were deemed denied and, accordingly, the Court ruled that the notice of appeal was untimely. Id. The Court stated: "The whole point of a "deemed denied" provision is that the judgment automatically becomes final and appealable upon passage of the specified period. Therefore, an appeal that is not filed within thirty days after the post-trial motions are deemed denied is untimely." Id. In Paxton Resources, LLC v. Brannaman, the jury rendered a verdict, and Paxton filed motions under W.R.C.P. 50 and 59 for judgment as a matter of law, for new trial, and for remittitur. Paxton, 95 P. 3d at 797-98. The 90-day "deemed denied" date passed, as well as the 30-day period for filing a notice of appeal, before the district court issued an order denying the motions. Id. at 799. After noting that Rule 6(c)(2) did not allow for any continuances and that the whole point of a "deemed denied" provision was that the judgment would automatically become final and appealable upon passage of the specified time, we held that the district court no longer had jurisdiction to consider the motions once that occurred. Id. at 800-802. The Court concluded that an appeal not filed within 30 days after post-trial motions were deemed denied is untimely and would be dismissed. Id. at 802.