Scot Vince had long been a confidential informant for Rock County law enforcement. Vince brought a civil rights action against the County and others after he was beaten while in the Rock County Jail. He alleged a violation of his constitutional rights by being placed in the jail's general population, considering his prior cooperation with law enforcement. Summary judgment was entered against him. His Rule 59 motion was denied on February 10, 2010. Vince's counsel filed a notice of appeal on March 12, the last day to do so. The clerk's office advised Vince's counsel that he used the wrong event code on his notice of appeal and asked that he re-file a notice with the proper code. He did so on March 18. The Seventh Circuit staff questioned the timeliness of the notice.
In their opinion, Judges Bauer, Posner, and Evans concluded that the appeal was timely. The Court relied on three rules of appellate jurisdiction to resolve the issue: a) FRCP Rule 83(a)(2) cautions that a non-willful failure to comply with a local form requirement should not cost a party a right, b) FRCP Rule 5(d)(4) directs a clerk to accept papers notwithstanding a nonconformity with local rules, and c) FRAP Rule 3(c)(4) prohibits an appeal's dismissal for "informality" of the form or title on the notice. The Court concluded that Vince's failure to include the proper event code was an error of form and was the only error on the notice. As such, and in conformity with the Court's earlier decision in Carelock, the appeal is timely. The Court concluded with an admonishment to counsel generally to be very careful with electronic transmissions so as to avoid any adverse affects on their appeals.