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Federal Bar Update: Comments sought for changes to local rules

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Federal Bar UpdateNorthern District of Indiana

The Northern District of Indiana has posted on its website its proposed amendments to its local rules, welcoming public comment by Dec. 1. The proposed changes are stylistic not substantive, but nonetheless significant and include: (a) altering the numbering convention from L.R. 1.1 to L.R. 1-1; and (b) stylistic modifications consistent with style changes to federal rules in recent years. These amendments are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The renumbering is aimed at avoiding confusion when a corresponding federal rule such as Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.1 uses a decimal. Under the old system, the N.D Ind. Local Rule was 5.1.1. Under the new system, the N.D. Ind. Local Rule will be 5.1-1. This will allow easier numbering and tracking going forward as the federal rules seem to be adding “.1” rules periodically to existing federal rules.

The restyling is aimed at trimming unnecessary verbiage in the local rules, and also using the same style and language used in the revised federal rules (FRCPs, FRAPs, etc.). Terms like “should, shall, may, and must” are addressed, with shall being deleted in favor of must when the rule requires something to be done. Practitioners and local rule committee members Tom Vetne and Brian Kubicki, in particular, deserve thanks and praise for hundreds of hours of work on this multi-year project.

Southern District of Indiana

The Southern District is in the process of amending its local rules as well, probably effective January 1 pending court action. The Southern District is likewise considering the same renumbering as the Northern District, and similar restyling. Watch for further notices on this front in this column and on the court’s website.

Fee Increases

Various court fees have increased effective Nov. 1 and are available on court websites. Meanwhile, per page costs on PACER are scheduled to increase from $.08 per page to $.10 per page on April 1.

Federal Civil Practice Seminar

The Annual Federal Civil Practice Seminar will be held Friday, Dec. 16 in Indianapolis, starting at 1:30 p.m. Three hours CLE will be provided. Panelists include Chief Judge Richard Young and Magistrate Judges Mark Dinsmore and Denise LaRue from the Southern District of Indiana, along with Clerk Laura Briggs and Don Wall from the 7th Circuit. See www.theindianalawyer.com for information and to register.•
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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. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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