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Civil Litigation No. 02-0548, 5/1/2003. Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: William Hone and Falk & Fish L.L.P., the petitioners, sued Bernard Hanafin, and others, for fraudulent inducement and attorneys’ fees. Hanafin answered by special appearance. After a Feb. 21 hearing, the trial court advised the parties that it would sustain Hanafin’s special appearance. Ten days later, the petitioners requested findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial court signed an order sustaining Hanafin’s special appearance on May 9, and issued findings of fact and conclusions of law on May 17. Petitioners allege, however, that they did not receive notice of the trial court’s May 9 order until May 31, when they received a faxed copy from Hanafin’s counsel. The next day, petitioners filed their notice of appeal, challenging the trial court’s interlocutory order granting Hanafin’s special appearance. Hanafin challenged the court of appeals’ jurisdiction to consider the appeal, contending that, because Petitioners filed their notice of appeal 22 days after the trial court’s May 9 order, they failed to perfect their appeal timely. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal. The court recognized that, pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 26.3, an appellate court may extend the time to file a notice of appeal if, within 15 days after the deadline for filing the appeal notice, the party files a notice of appeal in the trial court and a motion for extension of time in the court of appeals. The court also acknowledged that, under this court’s decision in Verburgt v. Dorner, 959 S.W.2d 615 (Tex. 1997), a motion for extension of time is implied when an appellant, acting in good faith, files an appeal notice within rule 26.3′s 15-day period permitting an appellant to move to extend the filing deadline. The court of appeals concluded, however, that because the petitioners only provided explanations “for why their notice of appeal was timelyfiled,” they failed to “offer any explanation for their failureto timely file their notice of appeal.” The court of appeals held that the petitioners failed to satisfy rule 26.3′s extension requirements and dismissed their appeal. HOLDING: Reversed and remanded. In National Union Fire Insurance Co. v. 9th Court of Appeals, 864 S.W.2d 58, 60 (Tex. 1993), this court implicitly rejected any requirement that an appellant admit its mistake in order to provide a reasonable explanation for its untimely filing. There, the appellee contended that, because National Union’s motion failed to contain a reasonable explanation for its late filing, National Union could not assert confusion about the law as a justification for not complying with the rules. The court stated: “[W]e are unwilling to hold that a party confused about the law is prohibited from having such confusion serve as a reasonable explanation unless through a fleeting lucid moment or jurisprudential epiphany, the party suddenly realizes its mistake or confusion. Such a requirement would nearly eliminate “mistake” from those excuses which this court has repeatedly held suffice as reasonable explanation.” The reasoning in National Unionapplies equally in this case. A court of appeals cannot require appellants to admit that their filings were untimely if they offer a plausible good faith justification for filing their notice of appeal when they did. Absent a finding that an appellant’s conduct was deliberate or intentional, the court of appeals should ordinarily accept the appellant’s explanations as reasonable. Courts and scholars disagree about whether filing a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law extends the deadline for perfecting an appeal when the appeal is accelerated. The rule does not clearly state that such a request does not extend the time period within which to file a notice of appeal. Under these circumstances, the court holds that the petitioners could have plausibly assumed that their request for findings of fact and conclusions of law would extend the time for filing a notice of appeal under rule 26.1(a)(4). The respondent does not address, nor does this court, whether the trial court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law “could properly be considered” by the court of appeals. Based on the liberal standard established by this court for considering untimely appeals, the court holds that the court of appeals erred by imposing a requirement that Petitioners concede their appeal was untimely. OPINION: Per curiam.

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