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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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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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