TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: January 11, 2018
RE: Rule 56, N.D.R.Civ.P., Summary Judgment
At the September meeting, the committee approved amendments to Rule 56 imposing a time limit for reply briefs. The amendments were based on the federal local rule language. The committee instructed staff to research page limits for summary judgment briefs and bring the rule back for further discussion.
Judge McCullough spoke at the September meeting about how he imposed page limits by order in one of his cases. He was guided in part by the Florida case of Schwenn v. State, which found no abuse of discretion in a district court imposing page limits based on appellate page limits.
Proposed amendments to Rule 56 are attached including a new paragraph (c)(2) that imposes page limits based on those in N.D.R.App.P. 32, allowing a principal brief of 32 pages and a reply brief of 8 pages.
Staff researched what trial court page limits have been imposed in other states. As discussed in September, the U.S. District Court in dispositive motion matters imposes page limits of 40 pages for a principal brief and 10 pages for a reply brief. California limits summary judgment principal briefs to 20 pages and reply briefs to 10. Hawaii imposes similar limits. Minnesota allows 35 pages and also provides that the total length of a principal brief and reply brief together cannot exceed 35 pages.