TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: September 7, 2012
RE: Rule 3.1, N.D.R.Ct,, Pleadings
In January, the committee approved amendments to Rule 3.1, modifying longstanding language requiring parties to "attach" proof of service to documents presented for filing with new language requiring that proof of service "accompany" documents submitted for filing.
This amendment has created some degree of confusion and concern among the clerks of court, in part because the old requirement that proof of service be attached to filed documents was not being followed in all counties. The clerks have pointed out that in some cases, specifically small claims court matters, pleadings must be filed before they are served.
In its proposed amendments to N.D.R.Civ.P. 5, which are now pending before the court, the committee included language requiring proof of service to be filed with documents submitted for filing "unless otherwise authorized by rule or statute." The committee did not include this language in Rule 3.1 because the intent of the changes to the rule was to modernize it, not to change it.
In order to address the concerns expressed by the clerks, proposed amendments to Rule 3.1 are attached that would insert language in the rule similar to the language the committee approved for inclusion in N.D.R.Civ.P. 5.
The committee may wish to consider whether to send the amendments to Rule 3.1, if approved, directly to the Court, given that similar amendments to N.D.R.Civ.P. 5 are now before it.