TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Andy Forward
DATE: March 30, 2010
RE: Rule 15, N.D.R.Civ.P., Amended and Supplemental Pleadings
Staff has prepared amendments to Rule 15 based on the time computation amendments made to the federal rules. The principal simplifying innovation is to count all days, including intermediate weekends and holidays, in computing time periods under the procedural rules. Under the previous rules, intermediate weekends and holidays were omitted when computing short periods but included when computing longer periods. Under the amended rules, intermediate weekends and holidays are counted regardless of the length of the specified period.
To further simplify time-counting, the federal advisory committees proposed changing most periods of less than 30 days to multiples of 7 days. The advisory committees adopted 7, 14, 21, and 28-day periods when possible, so that deadlines will usually fall on weekdays.
In subparagraph (a)(1)(B), line 9, the time period for amending a pleading was increased from 20 days to 21 days.
In paragraph (a)(3), line 17, the time period to respond to an amended pleading was increased from 10 days to 14 days.
Amendments were also made to Rule 15 based on amendments to the federal rule, which became effective December 1, 2009. The amendment to Rule 15(a)(1)(A) and (B), on lines 6-10, limits the time when a party may amend a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required once as a matter of course. The amendment eliminates the distinction drawn by present Rule 15(a), under which a responsive pleading immediately cuts off the right to amend, while a Rule 12 motion does not cut off the right and prolongs the time to amend a pleading until the motion is resolved. Significant problems can arise when a party files an amended pleading as a matter of right on the eve of a court’s ruling on a dispositive Rule 12 motion. Under the amendment, a party may file an amended pleading without leave of court within 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a Rule 12 motion, whichever is earlier. After that, a party may file an amended pleading only with leave of court.
The proposed amendments to Rule 15 are attached, along with a copy of Fed.R.Civ.P. 15. The proposed amendments are highlighted.