TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: January 4, 2012
RE: Rule 58, N.D.R.Civ.P., Entry and Notice of Entry of Judgment; Rule 77, N.D.R.Civ.P., District Courts and Clerks; Rule 4, N.D.R.App.P., Appeal- When Taken.
At the September meeting, the Committee discussed Rule 58's requirements related to notice of entry of judgment. The Committee also discussed Unit 2's new policy reducing the clerk's role in giving notice of entry of orders to attorneys and parties.
The Committee took no action to amend Rule 58, but it instructed staff to research the policies of courts statewide in providing notice of entry of orders. The Court Administrator obtained information from courts statewide on their notice of entry policies, and this information is attached. The information shows that most courts do provide notice of entry to attorneys and parties in some way, whether through judicial staff sending out orders generated by judges or clerk staff sending out "courtesy copies" of signed orders and judgments. The Southeast Judicial District, however, reports it has never sent out notice to attorneys.
The Committee also instructed staff to contact the Court Technology Committee to find out two things:
1. whether copy judgments served with the Notice of Entry of Judgment could be listed as "attachments" in Odyssey; and
2. whether notice of entry could be sent out by the clerks by email or through Odyssey, similar to the approach used by the federal courts.
A letter has been sent to the Court Technology Committee posing these questions. No response has yet been received.
At the September meeting, Mr. Plambeck moved to delete the Notice of Entry of Judgment requirement from Rule 58. The motion was defeated, but the Committee asked staff to research the issue and see what changes would be required to implement such a change. Staff reviewed the rules to and found that, while many rules reference "notice of entry," none of these rules discusses who makes this notice. Consequently, the notice of entry requirement could be transferred from the party or attorney to the clerk of court (or whatever official might be appropriate) without substantial amendment of the rules.
Proposed amendments to Rule 58, Rule 77 and N.D.R.App.P. 4 are attached. The proposed amendments to Rule 58 remove the requirement that the prevailing party served Notice of Entry of Judgment; the proposed amendments to Rule 77 require the clerks of court to send notice of entry of orders, decisions and judgments; the proposed amendments to Rule 4 delete a reference in the explanatory note on the party requirement to provide Notice of Entry.
The proposed amendments to Rule 77 are based on Minn.R.Civ.P. 77.04, a copy of which is attached. Since 1957, the Rules of Civil Procedure have required the prevailing party to serve the notice of entry of judgment, reflecting North Dakota practice dating back to at least 1895. See N.D.R.C. 28-2002. The rules seem to be silent on what duty the clerk, court administrator, or judge and chambers staff might have to provide notice of entry of orders, decisions and judgments to the parties.