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Federal Bar Update: Southern District amends civil and criminal rules

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Federal Bar UpdateEffective Jan. 1, the Southern District of Indiana amended three local rules affecting civil practice, plus Local Criminal Rule 13.1 affecting criminal practice and sentencing (see the court’s website for the text of all rule changes).

On the civil front, Local Rule 23.1 relating to class actions was amended. Under the prior version of Local Rule 23.1(b), within 90 days of filing of the complaint in a class action, absent an extension for good cause the plaintiff was to file a separate motion for class certification. That provision was deleted entirely in the Jan. 1 amendment.

As explained by the notes to the amendment: “Subsection (b) amended January 1, 2011 to remove requirement that a separate motion seeking class certification must be filed within the 90 days of filing of a complaint in a class action, leaving the timing of such a motion to be determined within the Case Management Plan for each case.”

Separately, Local Rule 37.1 addressing resolution of discovery disputes before court intervention was redrafted with Local Rule 37.3 deleted. The new Local Rule 37.1 provides:

(a) Prior to involving the court in any discovery dispute, including disputes involving depositions, counsel must confer in a good faith attempt to resolve the dispute. If any such dispute cannot be resolved in this manner, counsel are encouraged to contact the chambers of the assigned magistrate judge to determine whether the magistrate judge is available to resolve the discovery dispute by way of a telephone conference or other proceeding prior to counsel filing a formal discovery motion. When the dispute involves an objection raised during a deposition that threatens to prevent completion of the deposition, any party may recess the deposition to contact the magistrate judge’s chambers.

(b) In the event that the discovery dispute is not resolved at the conference, counsel may file a motion to compel or other motion raising the dispute. Any motion raising a discovery dispute must contain a statement setting forth the efforts taken to resolve the dispute, including the date, time, and place of any discovery conference and the names of all participating parties. The court may deny any motion raising a discovery dispute that does not contain such a statement.

(c) Discovery disputes involving pro se parties are not subject to Local Rule 37.1.

The notes to the new Local Rule 37.1 indicate that “most” discovery disputes can be resolved or narrowed with good faith efforts of counsel and intervention of the magistrate judge without briefing. Also, the notes indicate that the prior requirement of a “separate statement” reciting the good faith efforts to resolve the dispute is no longer required; instead the motion itself must contain a recitation of those efforts.

Finally, Local Rule 83.7 is amended to require that upon withdrawal of an attorney’s appearance, the petition “must also include the client’s contact information, including a current address and telephone number.”•
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John Maley – jmaley@btlaw.com – is a partner with Barnes & Thornburg practicing federal and state litigation, employment matters, and appeals. Any opinions expressed in this column are the author’s.

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. 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

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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