M E M O
To:Joint Procedure Committee
RE:Rule 5, N.D.R.Civ.P.; Filing
The Committee has a request from Judge Leclerc for discussion regarding the types of documents which should be filed and constitute the record on appeal. The request is in response to the recent case of Ratajczak v. Ratajczak, 1997 ND 122.
In Ratajczak, the issue was whether a letter written by the defendant's attorney to the district court should have been included in the record. In the letter, the defendant's attorney commented about the proposed findings of facts, conclusions of law, and order for judgment prepared by the plaintiff's attorney. The Ratajczak Court stated: "It is an original paper sent to the district court and, therefore, should be part of the record." Id. at 9.
Should all original papers sent to a district court be required to be filed?
The North Dakota Clerk of Court Manual indicates papers are processed according to whether they have long term retention value (filed papers) or not (received papers). Received papers are defined as having value only as long as the case is active; and include for example, correspondence not pertaining to the substance of the case. Received papers are not file stamped or entered on the court record. In contrast, filed papers are stamped "filed," date stamped, and entered on the register of actions.
Is an amendment to the rules of procedure needed to define what papers a clerk of court must file as part of the record?