Comedy Club Finds Out there’s Nothing Funny about Appellate Jurisdiction

Even when an appeal arises from a trademark dispute between two parties in the comedy trade, appellate jurisdiction is serious business, as the appellant learns in Comedy Club, Inc. v. Improv West Associates, case no. 05-55739 (9th Cir. Sep. 7, 2007, amended Jan. 23, 2008).

In this trademark license dispute in which the district court dismissed all claims in its order compelling arbitration, the appellant had 180 days to file its notice of appeal because the district court did not enter judgment on this appealable order.  (Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(7)(A)(ii).)  But the appellant waited 287 days, until the arbitration was concluded and the arbitration award was confirmed, to do so.

The appellant was probably under the mistaken belief that no appeal was allowed from the order compelling arbitration and that the order could only be challenged on appeal from an order confirming the arbitration award.  But the district court’s simultaneous dismissal of all claims made the arbitration order final for purposes of appeal.

Appellant nonetheless gets some relief in this case, as it partially succeeds on its appeal from the order confirming the arbitration award.