The North Dakota Supreme Court has approved amendments to the procedural rules that will take effect March 1.
Attorneys should pay particular attention to the amendments to Civil Procedure Rule 6 on computing and extending time, which will eliminate the "three day rule" for documents filed and served electronically. Similar amendments were made to Criminal Procedure Rule 45 and Appellate Procedure Rule 26.
Because attorneys are required to file and serve most documents electronically, self-represented parties and prisoners will be the main court users who can continue to take advantage of the three added days to act after being served by mail or commercial carrier. The Supreme Court recognized that eliminating the "three day rule" might lead to problems in some cases. The explanatory note for the changes states that "[e]lectronic service after business hours, or just before or during a weekend or holiday, may result in a practical reduction in the time available to respond. Extensions of time may be warranted to prevent prejudice."
In another rule change related to electronic filing and service, a new Appendix K to the Rules of Court was adopted to list filing requirements for electronic documents submitted to the court under Rule of Court 3.5. Rule 3.5 itself was amended to require compliance with the filing guidelines in Appendix K.
Amendments were made to Civil Procedure Rules 7 and 10 to align them with the new Appendix K standards. The Rule 7 amendments eliminate language allowing a motion to be stated as part of a notice of motion while the amendments to Rule 10 allow a document filed in conjunction with a pleading to become part of the pleading. These amendments are intended to encourage the filing of separate documents separately in the Odyssey electronic filing system rather than as attachments to other documents.
Rule 3.5 was also amended to require counsel to use the Attorney Subscription Management System to receive notice of documents filed by the court. The system was developed by the court system's information technology department and allows attorneys to subscribe to emails that notify them of new events, such as the filing of a document, in any district court case in which they are an attorney of record.
Because courts do not generally use the Odyssey File and Serve system when they file documents, notice of filing is provided in other ways, such as an e-mail message to the parties from the clerk. Once all attorneys subscribe to the management system, however, they will receive automatic notice of court filings. The IT department has been making continued improvements to the system and the automatic notice emails now include a link that allows quick access to a webpage listing all recent events in an attorney's cases.
Other rule changes of note include amendments to Civil Procedure Rule 11 that will change affidavit practice in court. Under the amendments, notarization will no longer generally be required for documents filed in civil actions. Instead, the amendments provide a method for parties to use unsworn statements made under a penalty or perjury in situations when affidavits are not specifically required by law.
In addition to the rule amendments, the Court adopted a new Rule of Court 8.3.1 to provide a procedure for case management when unmarried parties with children are seeking a determination of parental rights or a change of residential responsibility. The Court also adopted a new informational statement form and a model scheduling order form to supplement the rule.
February 12, 2018