Report of investigation into Dobbs leak

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a report of its investigation into last year’s leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Court’s investigation was conducted by the Office of the Marshal and reviewed by The Chertoff Group, headed by Michael Chertoff. While the marshal’s report does not identify the leaker, it does refer to some “gaps in the Court’s security policies,” which, together with “[t]he pandemic and resulting expansion of the ability to work from home, ... created an environment where it was too easy to remove sensitive information from the building and the Court’s IT networks, increasing the risk of both deliberate and accidental disclosures of Court-sensitive information.” To read the full public report, follow this link.

Technical difficulties at La. 1st Circuit

Yesterday I learned of this notice posted on the La. First Circuit’s website:

All documents to issue by mail (not email)

Wednesday, December 21 2022

The court is experienceing significant technical diffculties with its email system. Therefore, UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE ALL DOCUMENTS TO BE ISSUED BY THE COURT will be issued by U.S. mail only. The court is unable to to reliably issue document via its electronic notification system at this time.

The court's ENotification service is cancelled until further notice.

If you have questions, please contact the Clerk's Office at (225) 382-3000.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Last Updated on Thursday, December 22 2022

A suggested New Year’s resolution for La. appellate lawyers

If you’re a Louisiana lawyer with substantial experience in appellate advocacy, here’s a goal to consider for 2023: becoming a board-certified specialist in appellate practice. The window to apply for certification is open until February 28, 2023. Here are the basic requirements:

  1. Active membership in good standing with the Louisiana State Bar Association.
  2. Minimum five years experience practicing law full time.
  3. Minimum 25% of your practice on appellate advocacy during at least four of the last five years.
  4. Serving as lead counsel or having substantial responsibilty in 25 or more appellate matters.
  5. At least five oral arguments under your belt.
  6. During the application year (ending Dec. 31, 2023), 15 hours of appellate CLE.
  7. Taking and passing a written examination.

For a complete copy of the standards for achieving and maintaining certification, follow this link.

Right now, there are just 15 certified appellate specialists in Louisiana. If you meet the criteria, consider making it 16. For more information on how to apply, follow this link.

New forms for LASC writ applications

The Louisiana Supreme Court has updated its forms for the civil writ-application filing sheet and (for expedited writ applications) the civil priority filing sheet. The formats of both have been revised to make them easier to read—no more tiny type. The writ-application filing sheet has a few new questions to look out for. Both forms no longer require mailing addresses or land-line phone numbers; instead they require names, bar roll numbers, email addresses, and cell-phone numbers. The civil priority filing sheet requires the names, email addresses, and cell-phone numbers of the lower court judge and judge’s law clerk. There’s also a fill-in version of the civil priority filing sheet, so no need to fill it out by hand or typewriter anymore.

The new forms became effective December 15, so don’t wait until the end of the year to start using them. Start now.

Coming Jan. 1, 2023: Amendments to Uniform Rules

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about a comprehensive set of amendments to the Uniform Rules of Louisiana Courts of Appeal to take effect January 1, 2023. As I wrote back then, the amendments appear to be intended to do three things:

  1. to update the rules to account for electronic filing (now available in all five circuits); 
  2. to implement uniformity in certain style choices; and
  3. to abolish rules that have become obsolete.

For my own use, I created a redline document illustrating the amendments, which I’m happy to share with anyone who’s interested. To do that, I copied the current Uniform Rules from the La. Fifth Circuit’s web site and pasted them into a Word document. Starting with that document, I made another document of the rules to take effect on January 1, using the Louisiana Rules of Court pamphlet published by Thomson Reuters (the folks at Westlaw) as a source to manually make an updated version of the Uniform Rules. I then used the compareDocs program to generate a redline document showing the differences between the current version of the rules and the updated version to take effect on January 1.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to a downloadable PDF of the redline. No warranties: the redline is an unofficial document; it’s subject to human error (mine); plus I’m just a user of compareDocs, not its developer. Come January 1, please don’t rely on my work product; instead consult an official and more reliable source for the new Uniform Rules.

Defendant’s right to appeal summary judgment in co-defendant’s favor

Let’s say that Plaintiff sues Defendants A and B, and each defendant pleads the comparative fault of the other defendant. Defendant A moves for and is granted summary judgment, and Plaintiff decided to forgo an appeal. Can Defendant B appeal? This question has divided the Louisiana courts of appeal, with the Fourth Circuit recently holding that Defendant B cannot appeal. Today the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed that judgment and held that Defendant B can appeal, regardless of whether Plaintiff also appeals. Amedee v. Aimbridge Hospitality LLC, 2020-OC-1906 (La. 10/21/22). To hold otherwise, the Court explained, would be patently unjust, as it would deprive Defendant B of the right to assert Defendant A’s fault as an affirmative defense.

My presentation today at the LSBA’s “Bridging the Gap” seminar

Today I’m giving a one-hour presentation on appellate practice at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Bridging the Gap seminar for newly sworn-in lawyers (mostly those who took the July 2022 bar exam). For anyone who’s interested, here are links to my written materials and my slide show. The written materials are substantially revised, not only to update them but also to reorganize them for easier reading. I hope they’re helpful.

Important information for email subscribers

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