CLE – Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and SDFL Local Rules

On Thursday, November 5, 2015, the South Florida Chapter of the FBA along with the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers held a sold out to capacity CLE lunch on Thursday, November 5, 2015, at Holland & Knight, LLP. Our distinguished panelists discussed key features of the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida which take effect on December 1, 2015. We were thrilled to present U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert A. Mark, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley as our panelists.

Judge Altonaga led off with a macro look at the rule changes, stressing that the theme of cooperation between the parties themselves and the court are now prominent throughout. Early case management is also a new focus. And a dominant theme of discovery is proportionality. Judge Altonaga noted that the Magistrates handle discovery disputes almost exclusively, and that parties should put their best foot forward when in front of the Magistrate because the standards of review to the District Court are stringent. Judge Altonaga also highlighted some of the changes to our local rules, including the timing of when motions can be filed in comparison to when the Complaint is filed, and the altered process for filing emergency motions and sealed pleadings.

Judge McAliley focused her discussion on the new discovery rules, noting that the intent of the new proportionality standard is to narrow the scope of discovery. She discussed the new rules’ affect on the timing of document requests, and how the rules have now been tailored to conform with common law, particularly when parties make objections to discovery requests. Clarity and transparency will now be required. Judge McAliley also discussed the rules’ affect on the preservation of electronically stored information, and the varying levels of sanctions if ESI is not preserved depending on the level of intent.

Judge Mark discussed the nuances to the changes in the appellate rules in Bankruptcy Court, and how the appellate process in Bankruptcy Court affects the District Court and the assignment of a case number. Judge Mark highlighted issues with designation of the record for appeal, and the authority the Bankruptcy Court still retains during the appellate process. Judge Mark also opined on his inclination to issue stays pending an appeal.

The Judges were then kind enough to open the forum to questions. Our attendees were actively engaged with the judges, and multiple issues for discussion, debate, and potentially future litigation were discussed.

The FBA would like to thank FAWL for the invitation to co-host the event, to the judges who were kind enough to give time out of their busy schedules, and to everyone who attended. Thanks to all!

  • Category: CLEs
  • Date: November 5, 2015