With some years of preparation, some delays in initiation, and many a quirk in its early implementation, MSPB last month brought forth a new e-Appeal system while simultaneously retiring its legacy e-filing process. Exceptional assistance from Board regional office staff, aided by those anonymous but appreciated souls responding to trouble tickets, allowed Board employees and practitioners to maintain, with a semblance of sanity, their ability to manage Board litigation when the new system went live, and lively it was and is.
Ushered in with the new system was a new regulation—a natural development in the administrative state—explaining when the e-Appeal system must be used, who must use it, and what exceptions are allowed to its use.
Summarized, the Board’s newly-minted e-Appeal regulation, amending 5 CFR 1201.14, explains:
Agency representatives and appellant attorney representatives must register as e-filers;
The e-Appeal system is exclusive for those who use (or must use) it; no pleadings will be accepted by email; pleadings filed by non-electronic means may be rejected;
The e-Appeal system is used for filing pleadings and new appeals within the Board’s appellate jurisdiction and complaints within its original jurisdiction; enforcement petitions; counsel fee requests; damages requests; designations, revocations, and changes in representatives.
E-filing is not used for requests for or opposing class appeals; service of subpoenas; pleadings with SSI or classified information; requests for intervention or amicus participation.
A new feature of the e-Appeal system is immediate access by representatives to all of their cases, similar to the system that EEOC uses. The panel of cases is referred to by the Board as a dashboard—a suitable appellation. A representative logs on and there magically appears each case in which that representative is designated; one may hop from appeal to appeal. And for each appeal there is embedded the repository of pleadings and orders or decisions associated with the case.
The e-Appeal systems (old and new) were unavailable for much of September and most of October of 2023; during that time when the Board was off-line, deadlines were suspended. Board announcements calculated, announced, recalculated, and re-announced the initial case suspension period and several extensions. There are a few statutory filing deadlines for Board appeals; doubtless those will be addressed as new appeals are filed beyond those deadlines.
On its website the Board posts users’ guides; they are mercifully succinct; they should be read. Although the e-Appeal system is straightforward, it has its nuances; they are explained in the guides.
Also to be reviewed is the Board’s Federal Register notice announcing the change in the regulation governing the a-Appeal system and explaining the need for the change in the e-filing operation. 88 F.R. 67055 (September 29, 2023).
For those who are new to the e-Appeal process, or for old hands using the new system for the first time, remember:
Yes sir, when there is a wrong to right
Mighty Mouse will join the fight.
On the sea or on the land,
He gets the situation well in hand.[*]
More to the point, when there’s a problem, call the regional office where the appeal is lodged (or to be lodged) and seek assistance from the employees there who by now have seen it all, or almost all, and who, like lighthouse keepers of eld, can guide you safely to port.
[*] With thanks: music by Philip Scheib; lyrics by Marshall Barer.