The local federal courts regularly address procedural issues that recur from time to time. Most such decisions get little attention beyond the parties but are often informative for many federal practitioners. Whether and how to proceed under a pseudonym is one such example. Two informative opinions from the Southern District of Indiana provide excellent roadmaps.
The Northern District of Indiana approved amendments to five local rules effective Feb. 25, specifically to Local Rules 5-3, 6-1, 7-1, 7-6 and 56-1. Several of the amendments are significant and impact everyday federal civil practice.
Federal rule changes take effect each Dec. 1 and govern all proceedings in cases thereafter commenced and, insofar as just and practicable, all proceedings then pending
Federal practitioners regularly issue and respond to third-party subpoenas for documents. Expansive revisions to Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were made in 2013, but many subpoenas are still issued that do not comply. One of the most common issues is failing to serve parties with the third-party subpoena prior to (or even after) service on the third party.
Case or controversy limitations on judicial power have permeated U.S. judicial history and include standing, ripeness and mootness. Although these core concepts have been fundamental to and well developed in federal court jurisprudence, they continue to arise and evolve, with the Supreme Court taking up and issuing opinions on these case or controversy topics in recent years, and the district and appellate courts addressing these topics repeatedly.
To recover or oppose a costs award, a working knowledge is important of the interplay among federal statutes, federal rules, local rules and caselaw.
Removal from state court to federal court is a routine aspect of federal court practice, though one fraught with procedural pitfalls. Federal judges in Indiana frequently address removal issues, yet errors continue.
Rules governing divisional jurisdiction vary in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, as illustrated by some recent rulings.
Indiana’s federal courts, as well as the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, provide substantial and important practice resources, guidance and forms on their websites. Practitioners should peruse the sites periodically, and in particular with each new case, to see the latest local rules, forms, and practice requirements before the assigned judges.
Each year any federal rule amendments that work their way through the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Supreme Court, and then Congress, take effect Dec. 1. This year several rule amendments are scheduled to take effect on that date, as outlined below.
I’m still processing the news that this morning my court-appointed death-row client, Wesley Purkey, was executed. I was his pro bono counsel on three civil-rights/conditions of confinement claims in the Southern District of Indiana. So as I wrestle now — and hopefully for some time — with the legal and moral aspects of capital punishment that otherwise have been remote, it seems appropriate and timely to discuss the needs and opportunities for pro bono service in civil cases in our local federal courts. Both are robust.
With all the challenges facing bench, bar, and litigants in this difficult time, reflecting on something or someone good seems particularly appropriate for today’s column, rather than the usual nuance of jurisdiction and procedure. Laura Briggs is, by all means, someone good, indeed extraordinary. Most federal practitioners in the Southern District know this well, having benefited from Laura’s dedicated service as clerk since 1998.
Federal courts are limited jurisdiction tribunals. As such, the federal judiciary carefully guards subject-matter jurisdiction, ensuring at multiple stages of a case, and in the trial court and on appeal, that the case is properly in federal court. Examples of jurisdictional issues abound in federal district courts and are scrutinized in the 7th Circuit, as well.
At the recent federal civil practice seminar sponsored by Indiana Lawyer, multiple Indiana federal judges commented on procedural developments.
Effective Dec. 1, several local rule changes will take effect in the Southern District of Indiana. All the amendments are practical, common-sense changes reflecting current practice or otherwise simplifying procedure.
Effective Dec. 1, a package of federal rule changes is scheduled to go into effect. Per federal statute, the amendments apply to cases filed on or after Dec. 1, and otherwise to existing cases to the extent just and practicable.
For years now, all federal courts have been using ECF electronic filing along with electronic service of filings and court orders. This system offers great convenience and efficiencies, but in today’s litigation practices, with the seemingly nonstop, never-ending inflow of email, the risks of missing a court order are increased. This proved painful in a recent 7th Circuit decision.
As federal court practitioners know, in seeking summary judgment, the movant must set forth the facts favorably for the non-movant. In a recent ruling, Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson issued a must-read 44-page opinion reinforcing the importance of this requirement.
The Northern District of Indiana has published proposed Local Rules amendments, with the comment period open through March 31. The Local Rules Advisory Committee has recommended, and the Court has approved for public comment, amendments to Local Rules 1-1, 3-1, 5-1, 5-2 and 7-1.