THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Cite as Jonas vs. Mobil Oil Micronesia Inc.,
2 FSM Intrm. 164 (App. 1986)

 [2 FSM Intrm. 164]

BILLY JONAS et al.,
Appellants,

vs.

MOBIL OIL MICRONESIA INC., et al.,
Defendants.

APPEAL NO. P2-1984
From:  Civil 1982-028 (Pon.)
Soll, J. Decided July 17, 1984

Decided September 5, 1985
Opinion Issued February 27, 1986

Before:
     Hon. Edward C. King, Chief Justice, FSM Supreme Court;
     Hon. Richard H. Benson, Justice, FSM Supreme Court;
     Hon. Mamoru Nakamura, Temporary Justice, FSM Supreme Court*;

     *Chief Justice, Republic of Palau, on this Court for this case by designation.

APPEARANCES:
     For the Appellants:        John K. Rechucher
                                             Attorney-at-Law
                                             P.O. Box 445
                                             Koror, Palau 96940

                                            Jack Petry
                                            Attorney-at-Law
                                            P.O. Box 129
                                            Kolonia, Pohnpei 96941

     For the Appellees:       Thomas C. Sterling
                                           Attorney-at-Law
                                           Klemm, Blair, & Barusch
                                          1008 Pacific News Building
                                          238 O'Hara Street
                                          Agana, Guam 96910

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[2 FSM Intrm. 165]

HEADNOTES
Appeal and Certiorari
     Upon showing of excusable neglect or good cause, Rule 4(a)(5) permits extension of time for filing notice of appeal, upon motion made within 30 days after expiration of the 42 days prescribed in Rule 4(a)(1).  Jonas v. Mobil Oil Micronesia, Inc., 2 FSM Intrm. 164, 166 (App. 1986).

Appeal and Certiorari
     Rule 26(b) provides for enlargement of time for doing most acts but explicitly excludes enlargement of time to file notice of appeal.  Court can grant no relief under Rule 26 for late filing of a notice of appeal.  Jonas V. Mobil Oil Micronesia, Inc., 2 FSM Intrm. 164, 166 (App. 1986).

Appeal and Certiorari
     The interest protected by having exact time limits is in preserving finality of judgments.  Jonas v. Mobil Oil Micronesia, Inc., 2 FSM Intrm. 164, 166 (App. 1986).

Appeal and Certiorari
     Court has no authority to grant enlargement of time to file notice of appeal pursuant to motion filed after the maximum period of 72 days.  Jonas v. Mobil Oil Micronesia, Inc., 2 FSM Intrm. 164, 166 (App. 1986).

*       *        *       *

COURT'S OPINION
PER CURIAM:
     This matter came before the court on September 19, 1985, pursuant to notice, on the appellee's motion for an order dismissing the appeal of Billy Jonas, Ahm Fred and Songko Bridge on the ground that the appellants failed to file a timely notice of appeal.

     The appellees appeared by counsel.  The appellants Billy Jonas, Ahm Fred and Songko Bridge did not appear.

     The issue presented is whether the court has jurisdiction of an appeal in which the notice of appeal was filed 81 days after the filing of the judgment, in which the appellants acknowledge receiving the judgment on the 46th day, and in which no enlargement of time was requested prior to the filing of the notice of appeal.

     We concluded that the notice of appeal was not timely filed and that the court did not acquire jurisdiction.  The appeal was therefore dismissed by order dated September 19, 1985.

     The judgment in this case was filed on July 23, 1984.  On the same day the appellants were served by mail.  Prompted by an August 29, 1984 mailed inquiry from the attorney for the appellants, a second copy of the judgment was mailed to him.

[2 FSM Intrm. 166]

     Appellant's attorney acknowledges receiving the judgment on September 7, 1984.

     On October 12, 1984 the plaintiffs filed their notice of appeal together with a motion for enlargement of time pursuant to Rule 4(a) of the Federated States of Micronesia Supreme Court Rules of Appellate Procedure.

     Rule 4(a)(1) states that the notice of appeal in civil cases "shall be filed...within 42 days after the date of the entry of the judgment or order appealed from."  The 42nd day was September 3, 1984.  Since that was a legal holiday, the time extended to September 4, 1984.  FSM App. R. 26(a).

     Rule 4(a)(5) permits the extension of time for the filing of a notice of appeal not exceeding 30 days upon motion filed within 30 days of the expiration of the 42 days prescribed in Rule 4(a)1), upon a showing of excusable neglect or good cause.

     The 30 days allowed in Rule 4(a)(5) expired on October 4, 1984.  Assuming that the appellants were entitled to an additional six days because of the service by mail of the judgments the time expired October 10, 1984.  As mentioned above, the appellants filed on October 12, 1984.  The filing was late.

     Rule 26(b) provides generally for the enlargement of time for the doing of any act upon a showing of good cause.  That rule however explicitly excludes from its operation enlargement of time to file a notice of appeal.  The court can thus grant no relief from the late filing.

     Rule 3(a) provides that an appeal shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal within the time allowed by Rule 4.  The second sentence of Rule 3(a) reads, "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 . . . ."

     The interest protected by having exact time limits is in the finality of judgments. There are several reasons why courts see this interest in preserving the final effect of judgments as important.  First, the final resolution of a legal conflict should be useful in ending festering and troublesome disputes and restoring order between the disputants and those around them. Second, the final determination of rights frees the prevailing party to exercise the rights which were at issue and allows any contested resource to be used efficiently.  Third, finality is intended to prevent both the parties and governmental institutions from devoting still more resources to the dispute itself.

     While the paramount goal is to provide a full and fair opportunity for the parties to be heard and to reach an enlightened result understandable to all of the parties, an important subsidiary goal is to end the litigation itself and to reach a final decision.

     In this case the parties have had a full trial of their dispute before

[2 FSM Intrm. 167]

this Court's trial division.  The losing parties at the trial level were given an opportunity to appeal but failed to do so within the time limits specified in our rules.

     The result here is not harsh since the appellants failed to file a motion for enlargement alleging good cause (not receiving the judgment when first mailed) promptly after receiving the judgment on September 7, 1984.  Assuming there was good cause up to that date, there was no cause shown for further delay.  In any event, the filing occurred at a time beyond which the court had any authority to grant relief.

     For the reasons stated the motion was granted and the appeal dismissed.

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