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Federal Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure Changing Dec. 1

For federal civil and appellate practitioners, there are a few rule changes coming next week that you might want to make sure you're ready for.

One involves some significant changes to FRCP Rule 23 involving class actions, and the FRAP also has a big change to the rules for amicus briefs, and an extended due date for reply briefs. You can read more about some of the changes below.

Civil and Class Action Procedure

The federal rules now expressly prohibit interlocutory appeals on class certification decisions that are not either a denial or grant of class certification. Preliminary certification and the issuing of class member notices upon preliminary cert are no longer appealable matters. Also, for class actions, the rules have been amended to specifically allow electronic notices to be sent to class members when appropriate, via electronic means, which likely includes email, or potentially even via social media. Additionally, new factors for consideration of whether a settlement is approvable have been outlined.

Further changes to the civil rules include the requirement that all represented parties use electronic filing, and the prohibition of judgments being enforced for 30 days after issuance, in order to provide the losing part adequate time to prepare post-judgment motions.

Appellate Procedure

While the appellate court surely appreciates all the extra arguments it receives in the form of amicus briefs, the rules now allow a judge to strike an amicus brief if its filing would result in the judge needing to recuse themselves.

However, perhaps the most significant change comes in the form of an extension of time to file reply briefs. Now instead of 14 days, parties have 21 days. Also, like the rules for federal district courts, the federal appellate courts now mandate all represented parties use electronic filing.

If you do federal appeals, you probably want to familiarize yourself with all the changes, which you can see in detail here, since the above just scratches the surface.

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