Ignore Your Rights and They’ll Go Away #147

People sometimes imagine the law is black and white; things are legal or illegal; apply a set of facts to a given circumstance and, with no human subjective-ness, out pops the result. Like a math equation, plug in the numbers and you get the one and only answer. 2 plus 2 equals 4. But one need only look at any number of U.S. and Wisconsin Supreme Court cases which get decided on a 5 to 4 basis, and it becomes obvious that the law, like most human endeavors, has many shades of grey.

But there is one area where the law is almost always applied in a fairly black and white fashion – deadlines. Vernon and Carolyn Borst learned this in circuit court, and again in their appeal of a decision by the City of New Richmond. See Borst v. City of New Richmond.

The City had issued a raze order on some commercial property owned by the Borsts. Although the appellate decision is sketchy with respect to the facts and the timeline of the events, the court’s decision is clear – if you don’t appeal on time, you lose your right to appeal.

If something is due by a certain date, and you don’t submit it to the proper place by the required date, you lose your case. This can seem harsh when a case is particularly sympathetic or meritorious, but ignoring deadlines in legal actions will usually result in losing your right to appeal.