Appeals from the federal district courts in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as from final judgments by magistrate judges in those federal districts, are brought to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Fed. R. App. P. 3; Fed. R. Civ. P. 73(c).
To appeal other orders by magistrate judges, including rulings on motions to quash and contempt citations, the reporter must file objections within 10 days of receiving a copy of the order. The district judge to whom the case is assigned shall then consider the objections and modify or set aside any portion of the order found to be clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72. Likewise, a reporter subpoenaed in an administrative hearing must follow the established administrative appeal procedure before seeking relief from the federal courts. Fed. R. App. P. 15; Maurice v. NLRB, 691 F.2d 182, 183 (4th Cir. 1982) (instructing district court to dismiss case brought by editor who failed first to invoke appeals procedure provided by NLRB regulations).
(a) Petition for Permission to Appeal. An appeal from an interlocutory order may be sought if a substantial basis exists for a difference of opinion on a question of law as to which appellate resolution may:
(1) Materially advance the termination of the litigation and avoid exceptional expense to the parties; or
(2) Protect a party from substantial and irreparable injury; or
(3) Resolve an issue of general importance in the administration of justice.
Appeal from such an order may be sought by filing a petition for permission to appeal with the clerk of the Supreme Court within 21 days after the entry of such order in the trial court with proof of service on the trial judge and all other parties to the action in the trial court.
(b) Content of Petition; Answer. The petition shall contain a statement of the facts necessary to an understanding of the question of law determined by the order of the trial court; a statement of the question itself; a statement of the current status of the case; and a statement as to why the petition for interlocutory appeal is timely. The petition shall further identify all other cases or petitions for interlocutory appeal pending before the appellate court and known to the petitioner which are related to the matter for which interlocutory review is sought. The petition shall include or have annexed a copy of the order from which appeal is sought and of any related findings of fact, conclusions of law or opinion. Within 14 days after service of the petition, the trial judge may file a statement informing the appellate court of any reasons why that judge believes that the petition should or should not be granted, and any adverse party may file an answer in opposition with the clerk of the Supreme Court, with proof of service on the trial judge and all other parties to the action in the trial court. The petition with any statement by the trial judge and answers of all parties responding shall be submitted without oral argument unless otherwise ordered.
(c) Form of Papers; Number of Copies. Four (4) copies of the petition and answer, if any, shall be filed with the original, but the Court may require that additional copies be furnished. The provisions of Rule 27 concerning motions shall govern the filing and consideration of the petition and answer, except that no petition or answer, including its supporting brief, shall exceed 15 pages in length.
(d) Grant of Permission; Prepayment of Costs; Filing of Record. If permission to appeal is granted by the Supreme Court, the appellant shall pay the docket fee as required by Rule 3(e) within 14 days after entry of the order granting permission to appeal, and the record on appeal shall be transmitted and filed and the appeal docketed in accordance with Rules 10, 11, and 13. The time fixed by those rules for transmitting the record and docketing the appeal shall run from the date of entry of the order granting permission to appeal. A notice of appeal need not be filed.
(e) Expedited Proceedings. The Court may in its discretion expedite the appeal and give it preference over ordinary civil cases. If the Court determines that the issues presented can be fairly decided on the petition, response and exhibits presented, the Court may decide those issues simultaneously with the granting of the petition, without awaiting preparation of a record or further briefing.
(f) Effect on Trial Court Proceedings. The petition for appeal shall not stay proceedings in the trial court unless the trial judge or the Supreme Court shall so order.