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Federal Bar Update: Northern, Southern District courts cleaning up local rules

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Federal Bar Update

Local Rule amendments are in the works in the Northern District and Southern District of Indiana, with amendments to take effect Jan. 1. In the Northern District, the court has issued formal notice of its proposed amendments, inviting comments by Nov. 18. The amendments are posted on the website, but include the following of note:

Local Rule 6-1(b) on extensions of time would have no substantive change, but be cleaned up as follows with italics showing additions:

(b) Automatic Initial Extension. The deadline for filing a responsive pleading or a response to a written request for discovery or admissions will automatically be extended upon filing a notice of the extension with the court if: to respond to a pleading or a discovery request – including requests for admission – is automatically extended when an extension notice is filed with the court and:

(1) the deadline has not been extended before;

(2) the extension is for 28 or fewer days; and

(3) the party has diligently attempted to contact opposing attorneys to get their agreement to the extension;

(4) all opposing attorneys the party could reach have agreed to the extension; and

(5) the notice states:

(A) the original deadline and the requested deadline;

(B) the new deadline; that all opposing attorneys the party could reach have

agreed to the extension;
and

(C) that all opposing attorneys the attorney could reach agreed to the extension; or that the party could not reach any other opposing attorneys despite due diligence.

The amendment would also add subsection (c) to clarify no application to pro se parties, reading, (c) Pro Se Parties. The automatic initial extension does not apply to pro se parties.

In the Southern District, a similar cleanup to its Local Rule 6-1(b), along with several other modest Local Rule amendments, will be considered by the court and released for public comment.

Separately, the Northern District has posted for public comment a new set of Local Patent Rules. Although there are only six such rules proposed, they are lengthy and significant. Any patent litigators should review them and offer comments.

New magistrate judge

The Northern District of Indiana recently announced its selection of John Martin to succeed Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich in the Hammond Division effective March 1 after Judge Rodovich’s retirement. Martin is a graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law and currently serves as deputy federal community defender in Hammond. He previously served as an associate with Salberg & Weiss, representing civil litigants. In 1988, he became a deputy prosecuting attorney with the Porter County Prosecutor’s Office. In 1990, Martin became an associate with the Law Offices of James V. Tsoutsouris & Bertig. During his years with Tsoutsouris & Bertig, he was appointed a part-time deputy public defender in the Porter Superior Court. While with the Porter County Public Defender’s Office, Martin served as the chief appellate public defender.

Interesting opinion on ‘expert witnesses’

In Goesel v. Boley Int’l Ltd., 2012 WL 5269234 (N.D. Ill Oct. 24. 2012), Judge Milton I. Shadur addressed various motions in limine, which are not noteworthy. What caught this author’s eye, however, was Judge Shadur’s description of “opinion witnesses” with a footnote to a five-paragraph appendix in which he explains that he “does not permit the label ‘expert witness’ to be used in its trials, nor does that label appear in its opinions. That stance is not a mere idiosyncrasy, and this Appendix . . . explains why.” (emphasis in original). Judge Shadur then describes his work as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence where this issue was discussed, and he also notes that in the 7th Circuit Pattern Jury Instructions, there is no use of the term “expert.”

Judge Shadur’s approach is novel and interesting. For practitioners seeking to keep an opposing party’s expert from being described as such in trial, a source for consideration.

Save the date

The annual Federal Civil Practice 3-hour CLE seminar will be Thursday, Dec. 20, from 1:30 – 4:45 p.m. in Indianapolis, with federal judges from the S.D. of Indiana as panelists. Register online through Indiana Lawyer at http://www.theindianalawyer.com/events.

__________

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. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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