• April 19, 2016

 

Minnesota Litigator - federal rule changesThe latest from the Minnesota Supreme Court:  New amendments to the rules of civil appellate procedure were just adopted.

As it happens, the amendments were mostly technical.  The amendments correct some inconsistencies in the rules and fine-tune them.

A couple of the amendments are worth some special attention.

Rule 128.03 now clarifies how parties should cite to the record in briefs.  The rule says that cites to the record should refer to the document index number in the Register of Actions (ROA) from the trial court, and to the page number in that document.  So, for example, page 17 of document 22 in the ROA should be cited this way:  Doc. 22 at 17.  The reason for this is simple:  The trial court clerk now transmits the record to the appellate court electronically, not in paper form.  Judges and clerks will be working off that electronic record and can find materials easily using this format.

Where part of the record is included in an addendum, though, the cite should refer to the addendum page.  Like this:  ADD 22.  Or Resp. Add. 43.   Under amended rule 130.02, the addendum must include a table of contents which lists the document index number from the ROA.  This will enable the court to easily check the context of addendum pages.

The goal is to cite to the record concisely in a way that will help the appellate court.

The advisory committee comments to amended rule 128.03 provide additional guidance on citation format, and give a number of helpful examples.

It seems to me that sometimes it will help the court to know the procedural context of a cite.  The advisory committee comments seem to recognize this, and suggest that this kind of format would be allowed:  Motion for Summary Judgment, filed 10/3/12 at 1.

To give the procedural context of a cite where that would be helpful, and make it easy for the court to find cited material, I might cite this way, where that makes sense:  Doc. 14 at 1; Motion for Summary Judgment at 1.  (I should note, though, that the advisory committee comments don’t expressly endorse this kind of double cite.)

A key point emerges:  it is important to paginate all documents filed in the trial court.  That is now required by rule 16 of the General Rules of Practice, which says:

Rule 16.  Pagination of Court Filings and Exhibits

Each document filed with the court must, to the extent feasible, be consecutively paginated from beginning to end, including any attachments. Trial or other exhibits must be similarly numbered.

Documents should be paginated from the very first page to the end.  This will be particularly helpful in citing to affidavits with numerous attachments and to trial exhibits.  (See the advisory committee comment to rule 16.)

Pagination will help everyone find material in the record, including the trial court, the parties, and if a case gets to it, the appellate court.

So, paginate everything!

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