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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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