TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: September 8, 2015
RE: Rule 11, N.D.R.Civ.P., Signing of Pleadings, Motions and Other Papers; Representations to Court; Sanctions; Rule 11.2, N.D.R.Ct., Withdrawal of Attorneys
At the January meeting, the committee first considered a request from the Minority Justice Implementation Committee proposing amendments to Rule 11 and Rule 11.2 regarding limited scope representation. At the April meeting, the committee engaged in a lengthy discussion of the proposed rule amendments with MJIC Chair Judge Donovan Foughty, who was in attendance to answer questions. The April discussion is recorded in the attached minutes.
The committee referred the proposed amendments to Rule 11 back to staff for rewriting in accordance with the discussion. The committee did not have any proposals for additional amendment of Rule 11.2.
In the April discussion, it was pointed out that attorneys had long provided assistance to self-represented litigants by helping in the preparation of pleadings. Members suggested that the proposed new requirement that attorneys include a "prepared by" statement when they assist in preparation of pleadings would discourage attorneys from providing this help. Staff prepared proposed amendments to paragraph (e)(1) that would require a written agreement when attorneys help with pleadings but that also would specify that this type of assistance does not constitute an appearance and that no notice of need be given of it.
Another topic discussed was that attorneys have long given help to self-represented litigants by providing advice and research. The committee may wish to discuss whether this area of "limited representation" needs to be covered in the rule.
The proposed amendments in the draft also separate out the "limited appearance" part of the rule into its own paragraph (e)(2) and clarify that the notice requirements under the rule only apply when an attorney's level of assistance rises to the level of a limited appearance.
Staff also drafted proposed amendments to Rule 11.2 intended to clarify that the procedure under Rule 11.2 only applies when an attorney makes a limited appearance.
The proposed amendments to Rule 11 and 11.2 are attached.