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Court clarifies rules relating to filing deadlines

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Filing deadlines are important for attorneys in any case.

But some recent confusion in a child custody appeal brought to light some uncertainty about how the state’s appellate rules compute some of those deadlines when “non-business days” or “calendar days” are applied to the motions practices before the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order Jan. 14 that delves into those issues and offers some guidance for attorneys whose court filings may hinge on a single day when determining if they’re timely or not.

Justices issued the order in the case of Allan C. Bir v. Cynthia Bir, No. 06A01-1009-DR-449, which involves a post-divorce child custody dispute that’s on appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals. The father had filed an emergency request for transfer in November, and the mother on Dec. 10 filed her response to that request.

But following that, Allan C. Bir and his attorneys sought leave to file a reply in support of the earlier motion for emergency transfer and that’s where the appellate rules overlapped and created confusion for the attorneys representing the father.

The mother filed the document Dec. 10, and the father filed a reply request on Dec. 21 – one day past the date the clerk’s office determined was the deadline according to the Indiana Appellate Rules 25 and 34(D).

Determining the father’s reply was untimely, the clerk’s office refused to file it but the attorneys then asked for permission to file a belated document in the case. The rules at issue are 25(C) regarding an automatic extension of an “additional three days from the date of deposit in the mail or with the carrier,” as well as 25(B) that discusses computing time as “non-business days” and 34(D) which says replies must be filed within five days of service of the response.

Specifically, the attorneys for Allan Bir questioned whether “non-business days” or “calendar days” should be applied to the deadlines in this case.

“Appellant contended that the rule was unclear on this point and, therefore, he should be permitted to file his motion belated if the Clerk’s interpretation of the rules was correct,” the Supreme Court order says. “Appellant’s counsel also suggested that ‘[i]t would be a great benefit to appellate practitioners for this Court to issue a published order clarifying the operation of Rules 25 and Rule 34(D).”

Following that suggestion, the court published the order that clarifies how 25(B) and (C) operate and relate to determining a due date on a Rule 34(D) motion. Justice Steven David didn’t participate in the matter as he’d handled the child custody issue at the trial level when still on the Boone Circuit bench.

“Specifically, when a response to a motion is served by mail, three calendar days are immediately added to the service date per Appellate Rule 25(C)…,” the court wrote. “The five non-business days expressed in Rule 34(D) are then counted from that third calendar day if it is a business day, or are counted from the next business day if the third day of the 'additional three days' falls on a non-business day.”

As applied to the Bir case, the justices determined that the clerk’s office correctly interpreted the appellate rules and refused to file the reply. But it granted the belated document filing as a result of the confusion.

Ultimately, the court declined the emergency transfer request in this case and left jurisdiction with the Indiana Court of Appeals.

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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