Click here to view diagram.

Well, here’s an interesting story out of the Second Circuit. In the long-running, and very complex, matter In re: Worldcom, another of the parties involved (CNI) filed, and lost, an appeal back in 2010. Findlaw explains what happened then:

The rulings were entered on the electronic docket, and notice was automatically emailed to CNI’s sole counsel of record, W. Mark Mullineaux, at the email address which he previously had registered with the clerk’s office for the purpose of receiving such notifications. But that was an old email address.

Though Mullineaux had included his updated email address on one of the motions, he failed to update his contact details in the electronic case files system. Consequently, the court’s notification went unseen to his previous address, and he wasn’t able to file a notice of appeal on time. Once he learned of the error, the attorney filed a motion to excuse the late filings, which a district court granted in 2011, concluding that “that MCI had shown no prejudice from Mullineaux’s untimely filing.”

In late January, though, the matter reached the Second Circuit, and they were not as forgiving of Mullineaux’s oversight. Sitting by designation, District Court Judge Kaplan wrote:

CNI’s failure to receive notice was due entirely to Mr. Mullineaux’s violation of the “clear dictates of a court rule,” as the clerk’s office properly transmitted notice of the entry of judgment to the email address in Mr. Mullineaux’s profile, and it was plainly Mr. Mullineaux’s sole obligation to keep that profile updated. Updating his profile would have taken exceedingly minimal diligence on Mr. Mullineaux’s part, and he had every reason to be aware of any problem. It is remarkable that Mr. Mullineaux could fail to take these most basic steps to receive proper notifications, while at the same time relying entirely on such notifications to ensure that he filed a timely notice of appeal. In these particular circumstances, we conclude that it was not within the district court’s discretion to provide relief. CNI’s failure to receive Civil Rule 77(d) notice was entirely and indefensibly a problem of its counsel’s making, and Rule 4(a)(6) was not designed to reward such negligence.

Ouch. Mullineaux will not be allowed to appeal the matter any further. Let this be a lesson: always keep your contact information current! Seems like it’s an easy thing to do, but this ought to emphasize the importance of doing so.