Why the LASC sometimes denies meritorious writ applications
Civil appeals in the U.S. 5th: What are the odds?

Changes are coming to the FRAPs

As many of you probably know, several amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure are scheduled to kick in on December 1. You can read the amendments, as transmitted to Congress by the Supreme Court by following this link. Here is a skinny on the amendments most likely to affect civil appellate practitioners.

Rule 4(a)(4). Under this rule, the filing of certain post-trial motions suspends the time to file a notice of appeal. The amended rule makes clear that, to suspend the time to appeal, the motion must be filed timely according to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Rule 5(c), governing petitions for permission to appeal, is one of several amendments establishing word limits in lieu of page limits for papers filed in a court of appeals. Under the current rule, the petition is subject to a 20-page limit. Under the amended rule, the 20-page limit applies only to handwritten or typewritten petitions. A petition produced by computer is subject to a 5,200 word limit.

Rule 21(d), governing petitions for mandamus and other extraordinary writs, has been similarly amended. Under the current rule, the petition is subject to a 30-page limit. Under the amended rule, the 30-page limit applies only to handwritten or typewritten petitions. A petition produced by computer is subject to a 7,800 word limit.

Rule 26(c), governing computation of time, allows 3 extra days when service of a paper starts the clock and service is effected “unless the paper is delivered on the date of service stated in the proof of service.” The current rule is an anomaly; it says that a paper served electronically “is not treated as delivered on the date of service stated in the proof of service.” The amendment deletes the word “not.” The practical effect of this amendment is that parties who are served electronically will have 3 fewer days to file their appellee briefs and their reply briefs.

Rule 27(d)(2) governs the length of motions, responses to motions, and replies to responses. Under the current rule, motions and responses are subject to a 20-page limit, and replies are subject to a 10-page limit. Under the amended rule, the page limits apply only to handwritten papers. Motions and responses produced on a computer are subject to a 5,200 word limit, and replies are subject to a 2,600 word limit.

Rule 28.1(c), governing briefs in cross-appeals, has been amended to reduce the word limits. The word limit for the appellant's principal brief and appellant’s response and reply brief has been reduced from 14,000 words to 13,000 words. The word limit for the appellee’s principal and respons brief has been reduced from 16,500 words to 15,300 words.

Rule 29, governing amicus briefs, has been substantially revised to allow for filing of amicus briefs during the time the court is considering a petition for rehearing. New Rule 29(a), governing amicus briefs filed during the court’s initial consideration of a case, repeats the substance of current Rule 29. New Rule 29(b) governs amicus briefs filed after a party has petitioned for rehearing.

Rule 32, governing the form of briefs, has been amended to reduce the word limits. The word limits for a principal brief has been reduced from 14,00o words to 13,000 words. The word limit for a reply brief has been reduced from 7,000 words to 6,500 words (half of 13,000). If you have trouble squeezing your brief into these reduced word limits, there is some consolation: under new Rule 32(f), the signature block no longer counts against the word limit.

Rule 35 and 40, respectively governing petitions for en banc and panel rehearing, have been amended to establish word limits in lieu of page limits for petitions produced by computer. Under the old rules, all petitions for rehearing were limited to 15 pages. Under the new rule, the 15-page limit applies only to handwritten or typewritten papers. A petition produced by computer is subject to a 3,900 word limit.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)