Maine’s federal district court has adopted the proposed rules that were circulated at the end of September. The rule changes are summarized below.
Local Rule 7(f) provides no automatic right to oral argument on a motion, and gives the Court complete discretion over oral argument. It has discretion to schedule oral argument when neither party has requested it, or deny argument to a requesting party. The revised rule continues to vest the same level of discretion in the Court, except when federal rule or statute requires otherwise.
Former Local Rule 16.2(e) required that a party wishing to amend the Court’s proposed scheduling order must file a proposed discovery plan and must request a conference with the Court. The Court then had discretion to schedule the conference or not. The new rule gives the attorney more choice in how she requests changes to the scheduling order. The attorney may file a proposed discovery plan with a detailed explanation for each change requested, or simply request a conference with the Court, or both.
Local Rule 54.3, which contains requirements for filing a bill of costs, was amended so that it no longer applies when the costs are part of an application for statutorily permitted attorney’s fees under Local Rule 54.2.
Local Rule 83.1 was amended to require the Court’s permission for an attorney admitted pro hac vice to appear in any proceeding without local counsel. The amendment directs the Court to freely excuse local counsel from appearing. The amendment may not signal a trend towards requiring local counsel to appear in more proceedings; it appears to be simply a procedural mechanism to ensure the issue is before the Court, before the actual proceeding occurs.