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Rosillo v. Holten (U.S. Sup. Ct.)

READ CAC’S BRIEF IN Rosillo v. Holten

In Rosillo v. Holten, the Supreme Court is being asked to grant review to consider whether the federal courts of appeals have jurisdiction over an appeal when the notice of appeal incorrectly identifies the order to be reviewed, but contains clear contextual indications as to which order is being appealed.

Alfredo Rosillo brought excessive force claims against police officers Matt Holten and Jeff Ellis. Rosillo settled with Ellis, and the district court granted summary judgment in favor of Holten. Rosillo filed a notice of appeal, but the notice incorrectly identified the district court’s approval of his settlement with Ellis as the order being appealed, instead of the order in which the court granted summary judgment to Holten. Despite the fact that the inadvertently designated order was one that Rosillo himself had moved the court to issue, and that Holten acknowledged early on that he understood that Rosillo intended to appeal the district court’s summary judgment order, the Eighth Circuit concluded that it did not have jurisdiction to review the district court’s order granting Holten summary judgment. Rosillo filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court on June 21, 2016, asking the Court to review the case.

On July 22, 2016, Constitutional Accountability Center filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Rosillo’s petition, arguing that the Eighth Circuit’s decision improperly limits access to the federal appellate courts. When the Framers drafted Article III of the Constitution, they granted broad powers to the federal courts to ensure that individuals could pursue legal remedies when their legal rights were violated. Consistent with the constitutional commitment to broad access to the courts, and the long-standing recognition of the importance of the appellate courts to our Article III judicial system, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure were designed to facilitate, not impede, access to the appellate court system. The Eighth Circuit’s decision is, accordingly, inconsistent with the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and undermines the appellate courts’ important role in fulfilling Article III’s promise of broad access to the courts.

On October 11, 2016, the Supreme Court denied Rosillo's petition for a writ of certiorari.

Briefs filed by CAC