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New planning report form now in use in Northern District

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FedBarMaley-sigEffective Aug. 14, the Northern District of Indiana has a new form for the “Report of Parties’ Planning Meeting” that is required to be submitted after the parties’ Rule 26(f) planning conference. This new form is to be used going forward.

The new and improved form is the result of work by the magistrate judges and the Local Rules Advisory Committee, with the goal of making the form simpler, consistent with federal and local rules, and reflective of current practices.

As an example of recognizing the realities of modern practice, the form starts off with this statement acknowledging that often times these schedules are worked out among counsel by email, “The parties [held a planning meeting] [conferred via electronic mail] under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(f) and agreed to this report on __________.”

The new form will be simple and easy for practitioners to use. It is available in Word and Wordperfect format on the court’s website.

Federal rule amendments take effect Dec. 1

This term the Supreme Court of the United States approved amendments to various federal rules. Barring action by Congress blocking the amendments (extraordinarily unlikely), the amendments take effect to cases commenced on or after Dec. 1, and to cases pending as of that date “to the extent just and practicable.”

The key change affecting federal civil practitioners will be a significantly revised Rule 45 on subpoenas. More detailed guidance on the new rule will follow later this year, but the key changes are: (a) the notice requirement to opposing counsel on subpoenas is more prominent; (b) the amendment clarifies that the 100-mile rule indeed applies; (c) the new rule allows transfer of subpoena issues to the court where the matter is pending upon the consent of the person receiving the subpoena, or for extraordinary circumstances; and (d) issuing subpoenas will now show only the caption from the court where the action pends, even if the subpoena is going out of district.

Proposed future rule amendments open for public comment through Feb. 15

The Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules has issued proposed amendments to Rules 1, 4, 6, 16, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, 37, 55 and 84. The proposals with commentary are available at www.uscourts.gov in the “Rulemaking” section. Most of the proposals stem from discussions and ideas at the so-called 2010 Duke Conference where three main themes were repeatedly stressed: (a) proportionality in discovery; (b) cooperation among lawyers; and (c) early and active judicial case management.

For instance, Rule 4(m)’s 120-day service period would be reduced to 60 days. Rule 26 would be amended to allow early document requests prior to the 26(f) conference. Rule 26 would also be amended to limit the scope of discovery so that it must be proportional to the needs of the case considering the amount in controversy, the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Also, the presumptive limit on number of depositions would be five rather than 10, and the time limit reduced from seven hours to six hours.

Practitioners are encouraged to review the proposals and provide comment to the advisory committee.

Save the date – The annual Federal Civil Practice 3-hour CLE seminar will be Thursday, Dec. 19, from 1:30 – 4:45 p.m. in Indianapolis.

Golf with other attorneys – The 5th Annual Joseph Maley Foundation golf outing is set for Sept. 20 at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Indianapolis. This event is well attended by area attorneys. To register or sponsor, visit www.josephmaley.org.•

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John Maley – jmaley@btlaw.com – is a partner with Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, practicing federal and state litigation, employment matters, and appeals.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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