TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
RE: Rule 3.1, N.D.R.Ct., Pleadings
Implementation of Rule 3.1 was discussed at the Committee's April 2005 meeting during the Committee's review of the proposed changes to N.D. Sup. Ct. Admin. R. 41. The discussion revealed that court clerks are informally reviewing documents to see if they contain unredacted personal information. Such review is consistent with Admin. Rule 41's requirement that personal information be exempt from disclosure to the public.
Based on the discussion, Mr. Kapsner proposed that the language (at lines 50-51) stating that "[c]ourt personnel will not review documents for compliance with this rule" be deleted from Rule 3.1. A rule draft containing the proposed amendment is attached. Removal of the language would not impose a duty to review on the clerks, but would instead reflect the reality that clerks are performing some review of documents presented for filing.
The Committee may also want to review the portion of the rule (at lines 17-18) that states: "All pleadings or other documents in an action or proceeding must be filed by the clerk flat and unfolded and each set of papers firmly fastened together." An attorney contacted staff and said this language suggested that documents could not be folded when mailed to the clerk for filing. The language, however, appears to impose a duty on the clerk to file documents unfolded, not to require parties to submit documents unfolded.