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Federal Bar Update: Rule changes, 7th Circuit procedural decisions

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Federal Bar UpdateAs federal practitioners know, each Dec. 1 new federal rule amendments take effect. In most recent years there have been significant changes to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure each December. This year, however, there are no amendments that took effect to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence or the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. The only federal rule changes that took effect Dec. 1 were to Bankruptcy Rules 1007, 2015, 3001, 7054 and 7056, Criminal Rules 5 and 15, and new Rule 37.

As for Local Rules, as noted in my last column, the Northern District of Indiana has passed modest Local Rule amendments that take effect Jan. 1. The Southern District’s proposed Local Rule amendments are likewise modest, and if approved by the court as anticipated would take effect Jan. 1. Those amendments are largely stylistic and in the nature of housekeeping cleanups, but Local Rule 83-5 and 83-6 on court admission and pro hac vice admission are significantly rewritten.

7th Circuit developments

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a number of significant procedural decisions addressing key appellate issues, including the following:

• In Heinen v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 671 F.3d 669, 670 (7th Cir. 2012), the court ordered defendant to amend its jurisdictional allegations in its notice of removal, noting, “When we raised this issue at oral argument, counsel for both sides were surprised to learn that ‘citizenship’ for the purpose of 28 U.S.C. § 1332 depends on domicile rather than residence.” The court added, “Lawyers have a professional obligation to analyze subject-matter jurisdiction before judges need to question the allegations.”

• In Feldman v. Olin Corp., 673 F.3d 515, 516 (7th Cir. 2012), the court held that if the District Court orders the party’s attorney (not the party itself) to pay sanctions, the appeal must be made in the attorney’s own name.

• In Sterk v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, 672 F.3d 535, 536 (7th Cir. 2012), the court addressed a discretionary interlocutory appeal, which are not frequently accepted in the 7th Circuit. Although the court did accept this particular interlocutory appeal, it wrote, “Interlocutory appeals are frowned on in the federal judicial system. They interrupt litigation and by interrupting delay its conclusion; and often the issue presented by such an appeal would have become academic by the end of the litigation in the district court, making an interlocutory appeal a gratuitous burden on the court of appeals and the parties, as well as a gratuitous interruption and retardant of the district court proceedings.”

• In Dynegy Marketing & Trade v. Multiut Corp., 648 F.3d 506, 513 (7th Cir. 2011), the court noted that in an earlier appeal, it had dismissed the appeal for lack of finality because prejudgment interest had not been determined. The court wrote, “We dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, however, because the district court’s judgment did not specify the amount of pre-judgment interest the defendants owed and was therefore not final. See Osterneck v. Ernst & Whinney, 489 U.S. 169, 175-76 (1989).”

Finally, the Seventh Circuit Practitioner’s Handbook has been updated this year. The 145-page reference is online at www.ca7.uscourts.gov, and is an invaluable reference for all appellate practitioners.

Mark Your Calendars – The 7th Circuit Judicial Conference is set for May 5-7 in Indianapolis.•

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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. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

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  5. 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

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