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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. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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