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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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