IDP in Sibley denied extra time to appeal

A federal judge has ruled Iowa Drying and Processing, located not far from downtown Sibley, will not be allowed more time to appeal a ruling that did not go its way in U.S. District Court. IDP had claimed in a lawsuit that Sibley’s odor ordinance is vague and unconstitutional.

SIBLEY—A company blamed for causing foul, overpowering odor issues in Sibley will not be allowed more time to appeal a ruling that did not go its way in federal court.

On Aug. 8, U.S. District Chief Judge Leonard Strand denied a motion filed by Iowa Drying and Processing in Sibley and ChemSol, based in Minnetonka, MN, for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal.

The companies had filed a lawsuit against the Osceola County seat city of Sibley on Feb. 16, 2018, in U.S. District Court in Sioux City.

The litigation was dismissed on June 4.

“We’re glad the lawsuit didn’t go against us,” said Sibley city administrator and economic development director Glenn Anderson.

“We want to work with them,” he said. “We want to have them as a community member. We want to do great things with them and move forward.”

The businesses had claimed Sibley’s odor ordinance is vague and unconstitutional and the city has arbitrarily enforced the law against the companies — resulting in several citations for thousands of dollars — and hindered their attempts to sell the IDP facility.

Strand ruled in the favor of Sibley, granting the city’s March 14 request for summary judgment.

IDP and ChemSol had filed a resistance on April 4 to that motion.

Summary judgment is a procedural device used to promptly dispose of a court case without a trial.

Basically, it is one party’s effort to put an end to a lawsuit.

IDP and ChemSol had until July 5 to file a notice of appeal of Strand’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

However, the companies’ notice of appeal was filed on July 8, three days past the deadline.

On Aug. 15, the U.S. Court of Ap­­peals for the 8th Circuit issued the following judgment on the businesses’ appeal: “The court has carefully reviewed the original file of the United States District Court and orders that this appeal be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as untimely.”

The companies filed a motion on July 9 for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal as well as a memorandum in support of their motion.

IDP and ChemSol filed their notice of appeal on July 8 in the event the federal court system was shut down on July 5, the day after the Fourth of July holiday.

The companies on July 9 verified that the federal court system in Iowa was open on July 5, making the notice filed on July 8 untimely, according to court documents.

According to the companies’ memorandum in support of their motion, Scott Carlson of Minneapolis, an attorney for IDP and ChemSol, had the wrong deadline by which to file a notice of appeal.

Carlson realized his error on July 8, when he “received a call from defense counsel confirming that no notice had been filed,” according to court documents.

When noting deadlines for appeals, Carlson simultaneously docketed the deadline for an appeal from a Minnesota district court case along with the Sibley litigation.

“The Minnesota Rules of Appellate Procedure require a notice to be filed within 60 days,” according to court documents, while IDP and ChemSol only had 30 days to file an appeal of Strand’s ruling.

The city of Sibley filed a resistance on July 16 to IDP and ChemSol’s motion for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal.

The companies did not file a reply to the resistance.

According to court documents, “Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5) allows the district court to extend the time to file a notice of appeal when the appeal is untimely if the moving party shows excusable neglect or good cause.

“In an affidavit, plaintiffs’ counsel states that he filed the notice of appeal late because he misdocketed the deadline on his calendar. He states that he simultaneously docketed the deadline for an appeal in a Minnesota district court case and confused the deadlines.”

The city of Sibley contended that this type of error was not excusable neglect.

Strand agreed, comparing the businesses’ late notice of appeal to a similar mistake made in another case that was referred to as “garden-variety attorney inattention,” and denied their motion for an extension of time.