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Bar News - July 16, 2014

Federal Practice & Bankruptcy: Know Your Local Federal Rules of Civil Procedure


New Hampshire’s federal court has local rules that address unique aspects of New Hampshire practice. This article briefly summarizes some of the more commonly encountered rules.

LR 5.1(a) (Filing Format). Filings must be on 8.5 x 11-inch paper with one-inch margins. Font should be no less than 10 characters/inch or, if a proportionately spaced font is used, no less than 12 point. Pages should be numbered at the bottom center, and double-spaced.

LR 5.1(c) (Extraordinary Relief). Requests for extraordinary relief should be noted on the filing’s first page immediately beneath or to the right of the caption.

LR 5.1(d) (Certificate of Service). Certificates of service must state the name/address of the attorney or party served, and the manner of service.

LR 5.1(f) (Affidavits). Affidavits must identify the filing that they support or oppose by title.

LR 7.1(a) (Motions). Motions must contain the word “motion” in the title. Motions cannot request multiple distinct forms of relief; instead, separate motions are required. A memorandum with supporting authorities must accompany every motion or objection (or an explanation as to why a memorandum isn’t necessary). Non-dispositive motions/objections are limited to 15 pages; dispositive motions/objections may be up to 25 pages.

LR 7.1(b) (Objections). Objections to motions shall be filed within 14 days from the motion is served except that, for summary judgment motions, 30 days is permitted.

LR 7.1(c) (Concurrence). Motions (except for summary judgment) must certify that a good faith effort to obtain concurrence was sought. If concurrence is obtained, that should be stated in the body of the motion, and the words “assented-to” should be in the motion’s title.

LR 7.1(d) (Argument). If oral argument is desired, the motion should include a statement summarizing why such would assist the court. Absent contrary order, oral argument is 15 minutes per side.

LR 7.1(e) (Replys/Surreplys). For dispositive motions, a 10-page reply is permitted of right within 14 days after objection, limited to rebuttal of issues raised in the objection. Notice of intention to file a reply must be given to the court and opposing counsel within three days of the objection.

Replys are not permitted for non-dispositive motions absent leave. A motion to file a reply must be filed within 14 days of the objection. A copy of the proposed reply, limited to five pages, shall be attached. Notice of an intention to file such motion must be given to the court and opposing counsel within three days after the objection.

Surreplys are not permitted absent leave. A motion to file a surreply must be filed within 14 days of the reply. A copy of the proposed surreply, limited to five pages, shall be attached. Notice of an intention to file such motion must be given to the court and opposing counsel within three days after the objection.

LR 15.1 (Amendments). If a party seeks to amend a filing, he or she must attach the proposed amendment to the motion, identify any new factual allegations, legal claims, or parties, and explain why they were not originally included. If plaintiff properly amends a complaint after a motion to dismiss is filed for failure to state a claim, the motion is deemed denied without prejudice and the amendment should be responded to in the usual course.

LR 26.2 (Protective Orders). Absent leave, protective orders addressing the confidentiality of discovery material must conform to Civil Form 5.

LR 37.1 (Motions to Compel). Discovery motions must include a verbatim recitation of each interrogatory, request, answer, response, and objection, or a copy of that portion of the discovery document at issue.

LR 39.1 (Courtroom Practice). Counsel are expected to stand when addressing the court or when examining witnesses. Counsel must state only the basis for an objection and shall not elaborate or present arguments or make reference to other evidence. Non-argumentative opening statements of 30 minutes are permitted. Closing arguments are limited to one hour and only one attorney per party shall argue.

LR 42.1 (Related Cases). Related cases (as defined by the rule) shall be identified as such upon filing/removal. This is a continuing duty.

LR 54.1 (Costs). Bills of costs should be filed within 21 days after the appeal period expires or service of the appellate mandate. They must be supported by a memorandum of law, and verified by oath stating that the items are correct, the costs are legally allowable, the services were actually/necessarily performed, and the disbursements necessarily incurred. Objections shall be filed within 14 days thereafter.

LR 56.1 (Summary Judgment). Memoranda in support shall incorporate a concise statement of material facts, with record citations, as to which it is contended there is no genuine issue to be tried. Opposition memoranda shall contain a similar statement. Any such properly supported material fact that is not opposed is deemed admitted.

LR 65.1 (Injunctions). Motions for an injunction or TRO must include a proposed order.

LR 81.1 (Removed Actions). State court motions should, following removal, be refiled. Within 14 days after removal, the removing party must file a certified/attested copy of the state court record.

LR 83.2 (Pro Hac Vice). Attorneys who are members of any federal court, or of the highest court of any state, may appear following motion. The sponsor shall remain associated with the admitted attorney and all papers shall be served on the sponsor. The sponsor shall sign all filings and attend all proceedings. An affidavit from the proposed admittee must accompany the motion stating: 1) his/her office address/phone number; 2) the courts to which he/she has been admitted and admission dates; 3) that she/he is in good standing and eligible to practice in those courts; 4) that she/he is not currently suspended/disbarred in any jurisdiction; 5) the nature/status of any previously or pending discipline, as well as prior criminal convictions; and 6) any prior denials/revocations of pro hac vice status in any court.

LR 83.12 (Sealed Documents). Motions to seal must be filed conventionally, together with the item to be sealed. They must explain the basis for sealing, the proposed duration, and whether the material is to be sealed at Level 1 (can be viewed by any appearing attorney without leave) or Level 2 (absent leave, can be viewed only by the filer or, in the case of an order, the person to whom the order is directed). Materials submitted under seal or requesting sealed status must also be submitted pursuant to Administrative Procedure for Electronic Case Filing 3.3. The documents and compact disc must be sealed in an envelope with a copy of the document’s cover page affixed along with a conspicuous notation such as “Documents under seal,” “Documents subject to protective order.” If the basis for sealed status is not apparent, an explanatory cover letter should also be attached.

LR 83.14 (Exhibits/Witness Lists). Not later than one week before a case is set for trial/hearing, counsel shall give the clerk a list of all exhibits to be offered, stating whether the exhibit is to be admitted by agreement or marked for identification. Original marked exhibits should also be filed.

Donald Frechette is a partner in the Hartford office of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP. He has been a member of the New Hampshire bar since 1983, and practices primarily in the field of commercial litigation.

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