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New planning report form now in use in Northern District

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FedBarMaley-sigEffective Aug. 14, the Northern District of Indiana has a new form for the “Report of Parties’ Planning Meeting” that is required to be submitted after the parties’ Rule 26(f) planning conference. This new form is to be used going forward.

The new and improved form is the result of work by the magistrate judges and the Local Rules Advisory Committee, with the goal of making the form simpler, consistent with federal and local rules, and reflective of current practices.

As an example of recognizing the realities of modern practice, the form starts off with this statement acknowledging that often times these schedules are worked out among counsel by email, “The parties [held a planning meeting] [conferred via electronic mail] under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(f) and agreed to this report on __________.”

The new form will be simple and easy for practitioners to use. It is available in Word and Wordperfect format on the court’s website.

Federal rule amendments take effect Dec. 1

This term the Supreme Court of the United States approved amendments to various federal rules. Barring action by Congress blocking the amendments (extraordinarily unlikely), the amendments take effect to cases commenced on or after Dec. 1, and to cases pending as of that date “to the extent just and practicable.”

The key change affecting federal civil practitioners will be a significantly revised Rule 45 on subpoenas. More detailed guidance on the new rule will follow later this year, but the key changes are: (a) the notice requirement to opposing counsel on subpoenas is more prominent; (b) the amendment clarifies that the 100-mile rule indeed applies; (c) the new rule allows transfer of subpoena issues to the court where the matter is pending upon the consent of the person receiving the subpoena, or for extraordinary circumstances; and (d) issuing subpoenas will now show only the caption from the court where the action pends, even if the subpoena is going out of district.

Proposed future rule amendments open for public comment through Feb. 15

The Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules has issued proposed amendments to Rules 1, 4, 6, 16, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, 37, 55 and 84. The proposals with commentary are available at www.uscourts.gov in the “Rulemaking” section. Most of the proposals stem from discussions and ideas at the so-called 2010 Duke Conference where three main themes were repeatedly stressed: (a) proportionality in discovery; (b) cooperation among lawyers; and (c) early and active judicial case management.

For instance, Rule 4(m)’s 120-day service period would be reduced to 60 days. Rule 26 would be amended to allow early document requests prior to the 26(f) conference. Rule 26 would also be amended to limit the scope of discovery so that it must be proportional to the needs of the case considering the amount in controversy, the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Also, the presumptive limit on number of depositions would be five rather than 10, and the time limit reduced from seven hours to six hours.

Practitioners are encouraged to review the proposals and provide comment to the advisory committee.

Save the date – The annual Federal Civil Practice 3-hour CLE seminar will be Thursday, Dec. 19, from 1:30 – 4:45 p.m. in Indianapolis.

Golf with other attorneys – The 5th Annual Joseph Maley Foundation golf outing is set for Sept. 20 at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Indianapolis. This event is well attended by area attorneys. To register or sponsor, visit www.josephmaley.org.•

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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.

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