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  • Writer's pictureMary Watson Smith

In the First Circuit, That Cover Page Is Counting Against You

I learned something new yesterday. There's a 31 page limit if you're filing an Appellant or Appellee brief in a Louisiana Court of Appeal. See Uniform Rules of Courts of Appeal 2-12.2(D). The Uniform Rules explicitly say that the Table of Contents and Table of Authorities are not counted toward this limit. I have always assumed that the cover page also certainly doesn't count against you, even though the rules are ambiguous on this point.

BUT, when I was going over the First Circuit's “Brief Checklist” yesterday, I was shocked to learn that in the First Circuit the cover page most certainly does count against you. 🤯I had no idea this was a thing so, out of curiosity, I called each of the circuits (including the First Circuit) to see where they fall on the "cover page" controversy. Below is a summary of my results.

First Circuit - Yep, it's included.

Second Circuit - Nope, it's not included.

Third Circuit - Of course, it's not included.

Fourth Circuit - Definitely, not included.

Fifth Circuit - "We don't start counting till you get to the meat of your brief."

There ya have it, folks! You get 31 full pages of "meat" if you're filing a brief in the Second, Third, Fourth, or Fifth Circuits. But, if you file in the First Circuit, the court is counting that cover page against you!

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