TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: January 11, 2018
RE: Rule 12, N.D.R.Juv.P., Discovery
In the 2013 Guardianship of J.S.L.F. case, the Supreme Court held that if the fitness of a parent was at issue in a minor guardianship matter, the case must be heard in juvenile court. In September, Bismarck attorney Micheal Mulloy requested that the committee discuss amendments to Rule 12 that would make it easier to obtain discovery in minor guardianship cases in juvenile court.
The committee discussed the matter at length and there was a consensus that Rule 12 was not the ideal tool to guide discovery in minor guardianship cases. Rule 12 was adopted in 2010 (before the J.S.L.F. holding) and specifically addresses only the "core" juvenile court case types: Deprivation, Termination of Parental Rights, Delinquency and Unruly Child.
The committee instructed staff to contact Mr. Mulloy to see whether he had specific language for an amendment to Rule 12. A committee member also proposed that the most straightforward way to handle discovery in minor guardianship cases would be to allow civil discovery procedures to be used in these cases.
Proposed amendments to Rule 12 adding a new subdivision allowing discovery under the civil rules in minor guardianship cases are attached.