JIMMY A. VENTURA, Appellant,
MCDONALDS WELBURN MANAGEMENT, Appellee.
Submitted December 1, 2016
Decided January 13, 2017 [*]
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Civil
Division (CAB8035-09) (Hon. Erik P. Christian, Trial Judge)
Josselin Saint-Preux for appellant.
BEFORE: BECKWITH and MCLEESE, Associate Judges; and NEBEKER,
case was submitted to the court on the transcript of record
and the briefs filed, and without presentation of oral
argument. On consideration whereof, and for the reasons set
forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby
and ADJUDGED that the judgment of the Superior Court is
McLeese Associate Judge.
Jimmy Ventura challenges the trial court's order denying
his motion for an extension of time to file a notice of
appeal. We reverse.
2009, Mr. Ventura filed a complaint against appellee
McDonalds Welburn Management and Darrell Coles, alleging
among other things that injuries Mr. Ventura suffered during
an altercation with Mr. Coles resulted from McDonalds Welburn
Management's negligence. In 2011, the trial court
dismissed the case for want of prosecution after Mr. Ventura
failed to appear at a scheduling conference. Mr. Ventura
asked the trial court to reopen the case, but the trial court
refused. Mr. Ventura appealed to this court, and in 2012 we
remanded the case to the trial court for further
16, 2014, the trial court again denied Mr. Ventura's
motion to reopen the case, concluding that Mr. Ventura had
not promptly prosecuted the matter, did not demonstrate good
faith, and did not show lack of actual notice of the
proceedings or the court's orders. Mr. Ventura filed a
notice of appeal on August 21, 2014, six days after the
thirty-day deadline to file such a notice under D.C. App. R.
4 (a)(1). This court issued an order to show cause why the
appeal should not be dismissed as untimely. After reviewing
Mr. Ventura's response, this court dismissed the appeal
without prejudice to filing a motion for extension of time in
the Superior Court.
December 2014, Mr. Ventura filed a motion for extension of
time to file a notice of appeal under D.C. App. R. 4 (a)(5),
which permits the Superior Court to extend the time for
filing a notice of appeal if the party (1) files the notice
of appeal no more than thirty days out of time and (2) shows
excusable neglect or good cause. Mr. Ventura explained that
he filed the notice of appeal only six days late, and he
contended that the circumstances surrounding the filing
supported a finding of excusable neglect. Specifically, Mr.
Ventura explained that he attempted to electronically file
the notice of appeal on August 14, the day before the
deadline, but the Superior Court Clerk's Office rejected
the filing after receiving only some of the submitted
documents. Mr. Ventura went to the court on August 15 to try
and remedy the situation, but was unable to resubmit the
notice until the following Monday, August 18. The Clerk's
Office again rejected Mr. Ventura's filing, this time