Legal Memorandum: Right to Appeal a Civil Contempt Order

Issue: Is a civil contempt order appealable in the Third Circuit?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Civil contempt order; Right to appeal
Jurisdiction: Federal, Pennsylvania
Cited Cases: 423 F.3d 137; 182 F.3d 201; 739 F.2d 1149; 951 F.2d 166
Cited Statutes: § 1292(a)(1)
Date: 01/01/2007


A party has no right to appeal a civil contempt finding until a final order is entered.  Fox v. Capital Co., 299 U.S. 105, 107-08 (1936).  There also is no legal basis for appellate jurisdiction unless an order meets the stringent standard for interlocutory appeal.  See U.S. Fire Ins. Co. v. Asbestospray, Inc., 182 F.3d 201, 207 (3d Cir. 1999) (appellate jurisdiction does not extend to orders interpreting or clarifying injunctions).  See also Weight Watchers Int’l v. Luigino’s, Inc., 423 F.3d 137, 141-142 (2nd Cir. 2005) (“An order reconsidering or interpreting a preliminary injunction consequently is not appealable.”); Mikel v. Gourley, 951 F.2d 166, 168-169 (8th Cir. 1991) (“A mere clarification of an injunction is not a final appealable order.”); Motorola, Inc. v. Computer Displays Int’l, Inc., 739 F.2d 1149, 1155 (7th Cir. 1984) (“Orders that merely interpret or clarify an injunction are not appealable under § 1292(a)(1).”).


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