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Federal Bar Update: ND requires e-filing; SD launches hyperlink pilot

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FedBarMaley-sigEffective Feb. 24, all new complaints and removals in the Northern District of Indiana must be e-filed. The court has a lengthy manual on this process on its website, along with training modules. The clerk’s office has a help desk in each division available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Counsel should work through the kinks of this process well before the deadline for filing.

In the Southern District of Indiana, new complaints and removals may be filed electronically, but can still optionally be paper-filed.

Hyperlinks in briefs – In the Southern District of Indiana, a new pilot program is underway for including hyperlinks in briefs. Hyperlinks will allow the reader (the court, counsel, etc.) immediate access to the referenced materials, such as CM/ECF filings, case and statute citations, attachments, and exhibits. This is an emerging trend in federal courts and might become mandatory in courts in the future.

The court’s notice provides: “During the initial phase of the pilot program, the Court will be issuing a limited number of entries and orders containing hyperlinks. The hyperlinks may be page-specific. For instance, an order may contain a hyperlink to a specific page of a specific affidavit – accessible with one click. Access to Court-issued documents will continue to be available via the Notice of Electronic Filing (‘NEF’) email system. NOTE: Even though attorneys can utilize the one ‘free look’ to the e-filed documents associated with the NEF – accessing other CM/ECF hyperlinked documents contained within the main document will be subject to normal PACER fees, and any hyperlinks to Westlaw or LexisNexis citations will require attorneys to login to those services.

The next, and most important, phase of the pilot program will involve a small group of attorneys e-filing documents with hyperlinks. When utilized by attorneys, hyperlinks in briefs and other court filings will provide quick, easy, and pinpoint access to particular sections of a case, or to specific filings in the court’s record, adding another level of persuasion to their writing. Hyperlinking will also be a great benefit to the Court, allowing Judges to quickly and easily review case-supporting materials.

Once this pilot program has been tested and meets the Court’s expectations, detailed information will be available for all attorneys to use in future filings.”

Finality not impacted by fee petition – The Supreme Court recently resolved a split in the Circuits on finality when a non-statutory fee petition is filed. Long ago the court held in Budinich v. Becton Dickinson & Co., 486 U. S. 196 (1988), that statutory fee claims do not affect finality. In a January decision, Ray Haluch Gravel Co. v. Central Pension Fund, No. 12-992, the court held that the filing of any type of fee petition does not affect finality. Thus, the appeal clock is running regardless of a fee petition.

The court’s opening paragraph succinctly summarizes this important holding and the court’s reasoning:

“Federal courts of appeals have jurisdiction of appeals from ‘final decisions’ of United States district courts. 28 U. S. C. § 1291. In Budinich v. Becton Dickinson & Co., 486 U. S. 196 (1988), this Court held that a decision on the merits is a ‘final decision under §1291 even if the award or amount of attorney’s fees for the litigation remains to be determined.’ The issue in this case is whether a different result obtains if the unresolved claim for attorney’s fees is based on a contract rather than, or in addition to, a statute. The answer here, for purposes of §1291 and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, is that the result is not different. Whether the claim for attorney’s fees is based on a statute, a contract, or both, the pendency of a ruling on an award for fees and costs does not prevent, as a general rule, the merits judgment from becoming final for purposes of appeal.”

Save the date – The 2014 annual Federal Civil Practice Seminar will return Dec. 19 this year; mark your calendars.•

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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. He chairs the Local Rules Advisory Committee for the S.D. of Indiana and is a member of the Local Rules Advisory Committee for the N.D. of Indiana. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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