Alicia F. Curtis, lawyer at Berman & Simmons

Recent proposed state/federal changes as of May 2018

The Local Rules Advisory Committee proposes a few minor changes to the Maine federal district court’s Local Rules.  The changes primarily affect the procedure under Local Rule 26 to request a hearing when parties are unable to resolve a discovery dispute themselves.  Under the new rule, parties must confer about the exact discovery materials to be submitted with the request for a hearing.  The request itself would be submitted electronically using a form provided by the court, rather than by letter as attorneys currently do.  The discovery hearing would be conducted on the record, although transcripts would only be provided when a party or the court specifically requests one.

In addition to the proposed changes to Rule 26 noted above, Rule 72.1 would be modified to clarify what materials a party must attach to any objection to a magistrate judge’s ruling on a discovery dispute.  The attached documents are limited to discovery materials specifically relating to the objected-to order.

The proposed changes also eliminate a special case management track for toxic tort cases.  These changes affect Local Rules 16.1, 16.2, and 16.3.  Under the proposed Rule 16.1, all civil cases would fall under the standard scheduling track unless they fit within the complex track or the limited number of specialized tracks described in Rule 16.1.

Proposed changes to Rules 16.3 and 72 make it clear that the judge or magistrate judge presiding over a case will not also conduct the settlement conference—a different judge or magistrate judge would conduct the conference.

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