Alicia F. Curtis, lawyer at Berman & Simmons

Recent Proposed State/Federal Rules Changes as of September 2017

On September 1, 2017, new, re-styled Appellate Rules of Procedure went into effect.  The changes are intended to modernize the language of the rules, and make them easier for judges, lawyers, and the general public to understand and apply.  Long paragraphs addressing multiple topics have been broken up into separate sub-paragraphs, with each sub-paragraph addressing a discrete rule, direction, or order.

Relevant substantive changes to the Appellate Rules are summarized below:

When filing a Notice of Appeal, parties no longer need to state the potential issues on appeal.

Former Appellate Rules 2(b)(2) and 2(b)(3) are now Rules 2(B)(b) and 2(B)(c) and clarify that a party who has filed timely post-judgment motions, listed in the Rule, is not required to appeal from the original judgment while those motions are pending.  The appeal deadline runs from denial of the post-judgment motion, and any appeal filed will be considered an appeal of both the original judgment and denial of the post-juddgment motion.  In the alternative, a notice of appeal can be filed before filing of any post-judgment motions, and the post-judgment motions do not render the notice of appeal ineffective.  When the appeal is taken, it will be considered an appeal of the both the original judgment and denial of the post-judgment motion.

Rule 2(c)(A) is clarified to state that an appellee must file a cross-appeal whenever the appellee seeks a change in the judgment.

Under the new Rule 3(c)(4), appeals from a motion to dismiss that does not dispose of all the counts in a case, is treated the same as an appeal from a summary judgment order that does not dispose of all claims. 

The page limit for appellate briefs has been reduced from 50 pages for the principal brief to 40, and from 20 pages for the reply brief to 15.

Rule 7A has been changed so that filing an electronic copy of the brief is now obligatory, and it is possible to sign the electronic copy with an electronic signature.

All briefs and motions must be in 14 point font.

The restyling contains other substantive changes not discussed here.  The entire restyled Rules of Appellate Procedure can be found at:  http://www.courts.maine.gov/rules_adminorders/rules/amendments/2017_mr_7_appellate.pdf

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