NRCP 6 – Timing: When to File Court Documents

When filing pleadings and other court documents in Nevada state court, timing is of the utmost importance. If an attorney waits too long to file with the court, or fails to properly answer a complaint in a timely matter, then a case may be decided before it even begins. The Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (NRCP) guide parties in regards to time allotted when filing with the court. NRCP 6 is broken down into four sections, each dealing with a different aspect of timing.

How to Compute the Deadline to File Documents

The first section provides a broad description of how to compute the correct and accurate deadline to file documents with the court or to comply with court orders.1 Excluded from being included as a deadline is any Saturday, Sunday, or non-judicial day,2 such as Nevada Day.3 Computation is arguably the most important part of NRCP 6 and is quite similar to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.4 Several cases in the Nevada Supreme Court have dealt with applying NRCP 6(a) to statute of limitations and filing deadline questions.5 In Romaine v. State Farm, the Supreme Court of Nevada held that if the appropriate statute of limitations ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or non-judicial day, then 6(a) is applied to extend the deadline to the next judicial day.6 In Williams v. Clark County District Attorney, the Nevada Supreme Court held that when the Nevada Revised Statues (NRS) does not specify how to compute a period, then 6(a) should be used as a supplemental method.7 In Williams, the defendant argued that the challenge to his candidacy was not filed in the appropriate five-day window.8 The Court in Williams held that, “when a statute does not specify how to compute a particular time period, NRCP 6(a) governs the computation.”9

It is important to understand that in 2004, NRCP 6(a) was revised and the Nevada Supreme Court has overturned part of the rulings regarding computing time using 6(a) and 6(e) in conjunction. In Morrow v. Eighth Judicial District Court of Nevada, the court held that 6(a) “applies to the computation of any period of time prescribed or allowed by the NRCP, local rules of the district court, by an order of the court, or by any applicable statute.”10 This decision allows NRCP 6(a) to work alongside Supreme Court Rule 4, which only discusses “non-judicial days” and does not discuss Saturdays and Sundays.11 The Nevada Supreme Court ruled in both Williams and Morrow that when a Nevada Statute is silent in regards to computing deadlines, NRCP 6(a) can be used to fill the gap left.

Computed Time Period Extension

The next section is related to the extension or enlargement of the specified computed time period.12 Enlargement of a period is important because it could give parties more time to prepare or respond to a motion. The first way that a specified time may be enlarged is through written agreement between both parties.13 Another option is for the court to decide to enlarge the period with or without the request of the parties any time prior to the original deadline, or the court may enlarge a period after the deadline has passed, when the party that missed the deadline did so out of excusable neglect and filed a motion with the court.14 However, even the court may not extend missed deadlines for NRCP 50(b), 50(c)(2), 52(b), 59(b), (d) and (e), and 60(b), barring conditions stated in those particular rules.15 Even outside of the enumerated limitations, the court may be fettered when attempting to enlarge periods under NRCP 6(b). In Culinary & Hotel Serv. Workers Union v. Haugen, the Nevada Supreme Court held that 6(b), “limits the right of the court to enlarge the time for filing motion for new trial or notice of appeal…”16 This decision reinforces that once the deadline to file for a new trial is passed, even the court cannot extend the deadline.

Time Period for Notices to be Delivered to Opposing Counsel

The third category sets a definite period in which notices and notices of hearing must be delivered to the opposing counsel, and it also requires that any supporting affidavits shall be served with the motion or opposition as well.17 NRCP 6(d) requires that any written notice or notice of hearing be served no later than five days prior to the hearing, unless only one party need be present at the hearing.18 6(d) later goes on to say that when a written motion or opposition is supported by an affidavit, then the applicable affidavit must be included with the written motion when served.19 These requirements are of course subject to different periods under other NRCPs or rule of the court.20

Additional Days for Service by Mail/Electronic Means

Finally, the last section provides an additional three days to the period for any time a party is served by mail or electronic means, excluding process.21 The common usage of mail and electronic delivery has necessitated that a special rule be added to NRCP 6. NRCP 6(e) allows for the addition of three days to the prescribed period that parties are allotted when required to act, has a right to act, or is required to take proceedings.22 When the three additional days in 6(e) should be applied in relation to 6(a) has been grounds for debate in the Nevada Supreme Court.

In Custom Cabinet Factory of N.Y., Inc. v. Eighth Judicial District Court, the Court held that the three additional days under 6(e) should be applied prior to examining if 6(a) would be factored in as well.23 This was contrary to a ruling in the Federal District Court for the District of Nevada, which ruled that the FRCP equivalent of NRCP 6(a) should be applied first and then the additional time from the FRCP equivalent of NRCP 6(e) should be applied after.24 At the time, the Nevada Supreme Court found that this would produce absurd results and lead to an excessive amount of time to be added. However, in 2004 when NRCP 6(a) was revised and excluded intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and nonjudicial days for periods of less than eleven days, the Nevada Supreme Court changed their mind.25 In Winston Prods. Co. v. Deboer, the Nevada Supreme Court held that with the amendment to 6(a), it should be applied to periods prior to adding the three additional days from 6(e).26 The Nevada Supreme Court further held in Winston that, “We therefore reverse our decisions in Custom Cabinet and Ross to the extent that they require that filing periods be computed by adding the 3 days for service by mail under NRCP 6(e) to the prescribed period before applying NRCP 6(a).”27 By reversing the decision from Custom Cabinet and Ross, the Nevada Supreme Court held that, “the 10-day time period for filing motions for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial should be calculated first under NRCP 6(a), excluding intermediate Saturdays, Sundays and nonjudicial days. If service was made by mail or electronic means, 3 days should thereafter be added pursuant to NRCP 6(e).”28 This decision is now in line with the Federal District Courts decision to compute filing periods in the same fashion. It is also worth noting that in Mikohn Gaming v. Espinosa, the Nevada Supreme Court held that deposit of mail in an internal mail system does not constitute mailing for purposes of calculating the running of the time period and that date runs from the date the item is placed in an external, public mail system.29 The Court went on to hold that, “a document is not mailed . . . until it is placed in the care of a business providing general delivery services or deposited with the United States Postal Service.”30

The Safest Method for Filing

When filing a complaint, motions, answers, or other court documents, it is vital to everyone involved that these documents be submitted and served in a timely matter. There can be room for enlargement of periods, however, the safest bet is to file with plenty of time before the deadline to avoid any mistakes that may harm the parties involved.