Seventh Circuit Rule 28(a) governs the content of the jurisdictional statement in the appellant’s opening brief. The Court is looking for very specific information. This rule should be read very carefully. When a brief is initially filed electronically, a staff member at the Court reviews the brief to make sure all the correct components are present and that the brief is a native pdf. A short time later, another staff member at the Court will review the jurisdictional statement specifically. If your jurisdictional statement is considered deficient, your brief will be rejected at this later date after the second review. By this time, you may have already filed your paper copies with the Court. You will then need to correct the brief, refile it electronically and, once it has been accepted, refile the paper copies. That is a lot of work to go through. Therefore, focusing on the jurisdictional statement in the beginning can save you a lot of work later.
Main components to the jurisdictional statement
The main components to the jurisdictional statement are broken down into two categories: district court jurisdiction and appellate court jurisdiction. You also need to make sure you include all the necessary dates and that you are able to show the appeal was timely made. The rule goes into specifics dealing with different scenarios that may apply to your appeal. I will not go into each example here, but will instead highlight one of the most common mistakes I encounter. This has to do with jurisdiction which depends on diversity of citizenship. It is necessary to not only identify the amount in controversy, but also the citizenship of all parties to the litigation. If the party is a corporation, you must identify the state of incorporation and the state in which the corporation has its principal place of business. If the party is an unincorporated association or partnership, the statement needs to identify the citizenship of all the members. There have been many times that I have seen some or all of this information missing.
How does this rule apply to an appellee?
Don’t think if you are an appellee in the Seventh Circuit that you have escaped the requirements of the jurisdictional statement. Circuit Rule 28(b) applies to the appellee. The appellee is required to have a jurisdictional statement that includes one of the following two statements:
• The appellant’s jurisdictional statement is complete and correct.
• The appellant’s jurisdictional statement is not complete and correct.
If you choose to assert the latter statement, you, as the appellee, are required to set out a full jurisdictional statement as if you were the appellant. It is incorrect to simply point out the mistakes in the appellant’s jurisdictional statement. If the appellee does not fully set forth the jurisdictional statement when they are claiming the appellant’s jurisdictional statement is not complete and correct, their brief will be rejected and a deficiency will be issued.
The advice to take away from this is to pay attention to the jurisdictional statement in your brief whether you are representing the appellant or appellee. The Court focuses on this section of the brief and wants you to review the circuit rule on the subject.
If you have any questions or need assistance with preparing and filing your appeal, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Counsel Press provides a full spectrum of appellate services. My colleagues and I at Counsel Press’ office in Chicago specialize in the rule-compliant appellate filings in the Illinois Appellate Court (all districts), Illinois Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Supreme Court and Indiana Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.