Legal Memorandum: Granting an Expedited Appeal

Issue: When is an expedited appeal granted under the Virgin Islands Rules of Appellate Procedure?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Expedited appeals; Showing of exceptional reason
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 97 So. 2d 496; 456 F.3d 109
Cited Statutes: V.I. R.A.P. 5(e)
Date: 10/01/2006

  Rule 5(e) of the Virgin Islands Rules of Appellate Procedure allows for expedited appeals on a showing of “exceptional reason.”  Specifically, the Rule states, “A party who seeks an expedited appeal shall, within fourteen days of the notice of appeal, file with the Appellate Division a motion setting forth the exceptional reason that warrants expedition.”  V.I. R.A.P. 5(e).  The Rule does not define the term “exceptional reason.”  No Virgin Islands case interpreting this term was located.

Courts have held that in the absence of any definition of the intended meaning of words or terms used in a legislative enactment, the word or term will be given its common, ordinary and accepted meaning.  Idahoan Fresh v. Advantage Produce, Inc., 157 F.3d 197 (3d Cir. 1998).  The word “exceptional” is defined as “[t]he rare–the unusual or extraordinary case or circumstance.” Ballentine’s Law Dictionary 426 (3d ed. 1969).*FN1  It is apparent that the Legislature intended to permit expedited appellate review only in unusual or extraordinary cases.  See Cabrera-Perez v. Gonzales, 456 F.3d 109 (3d Cir. 2006) (exceptional circumstances connote beyond control and unforeseeable).  See also Rusu v. Ridge, No. 05-35332 (9th Cir. Aug. 17, 2006) (exceptional circumstances more difficult to satisfy than extraordinary).

The “[m]ere possibilities or threat of inconvenience or hardship will not justify th[e] court in giving preference to any individual suitor upon a crowded calendar.”  Atlas Travel Serv., Inc. v. […]

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