• March 25, 2014

Minnesota Judicial Center   I appreciate the chance to contribute to Minnesota Litigator, and connect with Minnesota Litigator readers!

An area of particular interest for me is appeals. There are some hot new developments on the appellate scene.

Our appellate courts are digitizing. District court records are being submitted to the appellate courts electronically. And, new appellate rules were just released. Those rules will facilitate the efiling and eservice of appellate papers.

Now, district court records will be digitized and sent to the appellate courts in that form. And, a pilot project will require electronic submissions for criminal appeals in Ramsey County from the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and the State Appellate Public Defenders. After any kinks in the process are worked out with the pilot project, efiling of appellate documents will become permissive; eventually, that will be required. The Court will issue orders setting the dates when efiling may be done permissively, and when it must be done by everyone.

The Court also has adopted some amendments to the appellate rules. Appellate lawyers will like most of those changes.

First, there will be no more appendix! They won’t be needed anymore because the appellate court will have access to the full record in electronic form. There was a sense that lawyers were cramming too much into appendices, and now that the court has full access to the record without having to paw through paper files, they aren’t needed.

In addition, addenda will be longer. The rules used to allow 15 “discretionary” pages, in addition to the order or judgment appealed from; now the discretionary part of the addendum may be up to 50 pages. And addenda may be submitted not only with briefs, but also with a variety of other filings: petitions for writ of certiorari, petitions for further review, petitions for discretionary appeal, petitions for accelerated review, and petitions for extraordinary writs. The longer addenda will give the courts handy access to the most important parts of the record.

Another new feature: cost bonds won’t be required! The Court concluded that cost bonds are more bother than they are worth. Parties can request cost bonds in cases where they are needed.

Certified copies of the decision appealed from aren’t needed either. The decision is included in the electronic record the district court will be submitting.

The new rules go into effect on July 1.

(Although, the transition to efiling will take place after the pilot project is completed.)

Stay tuned for further developments.

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