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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. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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