FOREWORD. This document contains the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to- gether with forms, as amended to December 1, The rules. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (eff. Dec. 1, ) govern civil proceedings in the United States district courts. Their purpose is "to secure the just, speedy. These are the Federal Rules of Evidence, as amended to December 1, Click on any rule to read it. Now with internal cross references.
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On April 26, , the Supreme Court approved amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which will take effect on December 1. These are the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended to December 1, 1. Click on any rule to read it. visory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Judi- cial Conference of the United States, prepared notes explaining the purpose.
For example, a requesting party may choose to request all Microsoft Word documents in Word format, and PowerPoint documents in PowerPoint format. However, a responding party may object to the requested form in favor of a different production format.
If no party specifies a form of production, electronically stored information should be produced in the form in which it is maintained in the ordinary course of business. This can be a drastic change for some companies that might be accustomed to printing out all electronic files and producing them in paper format. If a court determines that a company engaged in bad faith when it failed to preserve information, the company might still be held liable for sanctions. Waiver of Privilege The amended Rules provide relief for a responding party that inadvertently produces privileged material.
The new Rules provide a mechanism for the responding party to notify the requesting party that privileged material has been inadvertently transferred, and the requesting party then must promptly return, sequester, or destroy the material in question, and may not use the information. If the requesting party disputes whether the material is privileged, it may seek a ruling from the court on the issue. If the electronically stored information is determined to be reasonably accessible, and is relevant, that electronic data must be produced to the requesting party.
If the requesting party chooses to object, the responding party must show that the information is not reasonably accessible. This provision allows the court to provide some sort of relief to a responding party required to produce such information, such as shifting some or all of the costs of review and production to the requesting party. Undoubtedly, the amended FRCP will have a significant impact on almost any business involved in litigation. Thirty-five states have adopted procedural codes based on the Federal Rules, but sometimes there are slight variations.
In addition to notice pleading, a minority of states e.
It tends to straddle the gulf between obsolete common-law pleading and modern notice pleading. Code pleading places additional burdens on a party to plead the "ultimate facts" of its case, laying out the party's entire case and the facts or allegations underlying it.
Notice pleading, by contrast, simply requires a "short and plain statement" showing only that the pleader is entitled to relief. FRCP 8 a 2. One important exception to this rule is that, when a party alleges fraud , it must plead the facts of the alleged fraud with particularity. FRCP 9 b. The Field Code , which was adopted between and , was an intermediate step between common law and modern rules, created by New York attorney David Dudley Field.
Field's code, among other reforms, merged law and equity proceedings. There are 86 rules in the FRCP, which are grouped into 11 titles. Listed below are the most commonly used categories and rules.
Title I is a sort of "mission statement" for the FRCP; Rule 1 states that the rules "shall be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. Title II covers commencement of civil suits and includes filing, summons, and service of process. Rule 3 provides that a civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.
Rule 4 deals with procedure for issuance of a summons , when the complaint is filed, and for the service of the summons and complaint on the defendants. Rule 5 requires that all papers in an action be served on all parties and be filed with the court. Rule 6 deals with technical issues, which concern the computation of time, and authorizes the courts to extend certain deadlines in appropriate circumstances.
Title III covers pleadings , motions , defenses, and counterclaims. The plaintiff's original pleading is called a complaint. The defendant's original pleading is called an answer. Rule 8 a sets out the plaintiff's requirements for a claim: It also allows relief in the alternative, so the plaintiff does not have to pre-guess the remedy most likely to be accepted by the court.
Rule 8 b states that the defendant's answer must admit or deny every element of the plaintiff's claim.
Rule 8 c requires that the defendant's answer must state any affirmative defenses. Rule 8 d maintains that each allegation be "simple, concise, and direct" but allows "2 or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically. A party may state inconsistent even mutually exclusive claims or defenses. Rule 10 describes what information should be in the caption the front page of a pleading, but does not explain how such information should actually be organized in the caption.
The FRCP is notoriously vague on how papers should be formatted. Most of the details missing from the FRCP are to be found in local rules promulgated by each district court and in general orders by each individual federal judge.
For example, federal courts in most West Coast states require line numbers on the left margin on all filings to match local practice in the courts of the states in which they sit , but most other federal courts do not. Rule 11 requires all papers to be signed by the attorney if party is represented. It also provides for sanctions against the attorney or client for harassment, frivolous arguments, or a lack of factual investigation. The purpose of sanctions is deterrent, not punitive.
Courts have broad discretion about the exact nature of the sanction, which can include consent to in personam jurisdiction, fines, dismissal of claims, or dismissal of the entire case.
The current version of Rule 11 is much more lenient than its version. Supporters of tort reform in Congress regularly call for legislation to make Rule 11 stricter. Rule 12 b describes pretrial motions that can be filed. The Rule 12 b 6 motion, which replaced the common law demurrer , is how lawsuits with insufficient legal theories underlying their cause of action are dismissed from court.
For example, assault requires intent , so if the plaintiff has failed to plead intent, the defense can seek dismissal by filing a 12 b 6 motion. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true even if doubtful in fact. Twombly , U.
A 12 b 6 motion cannot include additional evidence such as affidavits. To dispose of claims with insufficient factual basis where the movant must submit additional facts to demonstrate the factual weakness in the plaintiff's case , a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment is used. Additionally, because 12 b 1 motions are so fundamental, they may never be waived throughout the course of litigation, and 12 b 6 and 12 b 7 motions may be filed at any time until trial ends.
Rule 13 describes when a defendant is allowed or required to assert claims against other parties to the suit joinder. The law encourages people to resolve all their differences as efficiently as possible; consequently, in many jurisdictions, counterclaims claims against an opposing party that arise out of the same transaction or occurrence compulsory counterclaims must be brought during the original suit, or they will be barred from future litigation preclusion.
Any counterclaims may be brought, even if they are not compulsory permissive counterclaims , however a crossclaim claims against a coparty , while not compulsory, must arise out of the same transaction or occurrence of the original suit or a counterclaim, or it must relate to the property in the original suit.
Rule 14 allows parties to bring in other third parties to a lawsuit.
Rule 15 allows pleadings to be amended or supplemented. Plaintiffs may amend once before an answer is filed, a defendant can amend once within 21 days of serving an answer, and if there is no right to amend, seek leave of court "leave shall be given when justice so requires.
Rule 17 states that all actions must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest, that is, the plaintiff must be person or entity whose rights are at issue in the case. Rule 18 — Joinder of Claims and Remedies — states that a plaintiff who may plead in a single civil action as many claims as the plaintiff has against a defendant, even if the claims are not related, and may request any remedy to which the law entitles the plaintiff.
Of course, each claim must have its own basis for jurisdiction in the court in which it is brought or be subject to dismissal. Rule 19 — Compulsory Joinder of Parties — if a person who is not a party to the suit is "necessary" to just adjudication of the action, under the criteria set forth in subsection a , then upon motion of any party that person shall be made a party, served with suit, and required to participate in the action.
If the person cannot be made a party for any reason, such as lack of jurisdiction, inability to be located, etc. If so, the action must be dismissed.
Rule 20 Permissive Joinder of Parties. Joinder of parties at common law was controlled by the substantive rules of law, often as reflected in the forms of action, rather than by notions of judicial economy and trial convenience.
Permissive joinder of plaintiffs allows the plaintiffs having an option to join their claims when they were not joint. Ryder v. Jefferson Hotel Co. Rule 22 governs the procedure for interpleader.
It allows an interpleader to be brought by a plaintiff who is subject to multiple liability even though 1. A defendant exposed to similar liability may also seek interpleader. Rule 23 governs the procedure for class action litigation. In a class action, a single plaintiff or small group of plaintiffs seeks to proceed on behalf of an entire class who have been harmed by the same conduct by the same defendants. Court approval is required for this procedure to be used. Rule Title V covers the rules of discovery.
Modern civil litigation is based upon the idea that the parties should not be subject to surprises at trial. Discovery is the process whereby civil litigants seek to obtain information both from other parties and from non parties or third parties.
Parties have a series of tools with which they can obtain information:. FRCP Rule 37 oversees the possible sanctions that someone may seek if a failure to preserve data takes place and outlines how courts interpret if one party is at a disadvantage.
Federal procedure also requires parties to divulge certain information without a formal discovery request, in contrast to many state courts where most discovery can only be had by request. Information about any expert witness testimony is also required.
FRCP Rule 26 provides general guidelines to the discovery process, it requires the plaintiff to initiate a conference between the parties to plan the discovery process. The parties should attempt to agree on the proposed discovery plan, and submit it to the court within 14 days after the conference.
Unless all parties agree otherwise, the parties should submit to each other the initial disclosures under Rule 26 a within 14 days after the conference.
As stated above, there is a limitation on number of interrogatories and depositions, but there is no limitation on RFAs and RFPs. Some states, like California, have different limitations set in their Local Rules. FRCP requires that the party to whom the request for Interrogatories, RFA or RFP is directed must respond in writing within 30 days after being served, otherwise the requestor can file a motion to compel discovery and for sanctions.
Title VI deals generally with the trial of civil actions, although some other topics are also included. Rules 38 and 39 deal with the parties' right to a trial by jury and the procedure for requesting a jury trial instead of a bench trial and trials by an advisory jury. These rules must be construed in light of the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution , which preserves a right to jury trial in most actions at common law as opposed to equity cases.
Rule 40 deals in general terms with the order in which cases will be scheduled for trial and has little significance in practice.
Rule 41 deals with dismissal of actions. An action may be voluntarily dismissed at any time by the plaintiff prior to the defendant's filing of an Answer or Motion for Summary Judgment.
With certain exceptions e. An action may also be involuntarily dismissed by the court if the plaintiff fails to comply with deadlines or court orders. Rule 42 deals with consolidation of related cases or the holding of separate trials. Rule 43 addresses the taking of testimony, which is to be taken in open court whenever possible.
Rule 44 governs authentication of official records. Rule 45 deals with subpoenas.