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Local Civil Rules
Local Civil Rule 1. Authority; scope; construction
1.1 Authority - These rules are promulgated pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2071 and Rule 83 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Amendment of these rules is governed by Rule 83 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
1.2 Short title - These rules may be cited and referred to individually as "W.D. Mich. LCivR ________."
1.3 Amendments - These rules may be amended by a majority vote of the district judges in conformity with Rule 83 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. These rules include amendments through January 1, 2019.
1.4 Applicability - These rules apply to all civil proceedings in this court.
1.5 Scope - These rules govern the procedure in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, govern the practice of attorneys before this court, and supersede all previous rules promulgated by this court or any judge thereof. Administrative orders and single-judge standing orders shall be maintained by the clerk on the court’s website or made available upon request. All such orders shall be consistent with these rules and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
1.6 Construction - These rules shall be construed to achieve an orderly administration of the business of this court and to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action. References to statutes, regulations or rules shall be interpreted to include all revisions and amendments thereto. References to the clerk shall be interpreted to mean the clerk of this court or any deputy clerk. Wherever used in these rules, the term "party," whether in the singular or plural, shall include all parties appearing in the action pro se and the attorney or attorneys of record for represented parties, where appropriate.
II. COMMENCING AN ACTION; SERVICE OF PROCESS; PLEADINGS, MOTIONS, AND ORDERS
Local Civil Rule 3. Commencing an action; assignment to division and judge
3.1 Fee Payment - The fee provided by 28 U.S.C. § 1914 shall be paid to the Clerk of Court. The clerk may require that any payment be in cash or certified check, or made electronically under LCivR 5.7(c).
3.2 Assignment of cases to divisions - This district is composed of a Northern Division and a Southern Division. The residence of corporations, partnerships, and unincorporated associations shall be the division where the principal place of business is maintained. The Southern Division comprises the counties of Allegan, Antrim, Barry, Benzie, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Charlevoix, Clinton, Eaton, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Ottawa, Saint Joseph, Van Buren, and Wexford. The Northern Division comprises the counties of Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, and Schoolcraft. 28 U.S.C. § 102(b). All cases shall be assigned to a division by application of the following order of priorities:
- if an action is removed from state court, the division embracing the county in which the case was pending in state court;
- in bankruptcy appeals, the division in which the bankruptcy matter is pending;
- if the action is local in nature, the division in which the real property is located;
- in prisoner civil rights cases, the division in which the claim arose;
- the division in which all plaintiffs reside;
- the division in which all defendants reside;
- the division in which the claim arose;
- in a case in which a defendant is an officer or employee of the United States or any agency thereof acting in an official capacity, or under color of legal authority, or an agency of the United States, the division in which an office of a defendant is located; or
- the division in which the case is filed.
3.3.1 Assignment of cases to district judges
- Method - Each civil action (except Social Security cases) and each bankruptcy appeal, shall be assigned to a district judge, who shall continue in the case or matter until its final disposition, except as hereinafter provided. Each Social Security action shall be assigned at random to a magistrate judge at the time of filing. The parties will thereafter be given an opportunity to consent voluntarily to the dispositive jurisdiction of the assigned magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). If all parties do not timely consent, the case will be assigned to a district judge at random and will be referred to the originally assigned magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
- Sequence - At the commencement of each civil case, the clerk shall assign the case a sequential case number and assign the case to a judge in accordance with LCivR 3.3.1(c). The numbering and assignment of each case shall be completed before processing of the next case is commenced.
- Procedure - The clerk shall assign new cases to judges at random, in the proportions established from time to time by administrative order. The clerk shall mark or the electronic filing system shall identify the name of the assigned judge on the first document of the case. The clerk shall preserve a record of such assignments.
- Refilings - If a case is dismissed or remanded to state court and later refiled, either in the same or similar form, upon refiling it shall be assigned or transferred to the judge to whom it was originally assigned.
- Subsequent proceedings - Subsequent proceedings in cases shall be assigned to the judge assigned to the original case, if that judge is still hearing cases.
- Related cases - Cases related to cases already assigned to a judge shall be assigned or transferred as set out below.
- Definition - Cases are deemed related when a filed case (1) relates to property involved in an earlier numbered pending suit, or (2) arises out of the same transaction or occurrence and involves one or more of the same parties as a pending suit, or (3) involves the validity or infringement of a patent already in suit in any pending earlier numbered case.
- Determination - When it appears to the clerk that two or more cases may be related cases, they shall be referred to the magistrate judge designated under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) to assist in the earliest case to determine whether or not the cases are related. If related, the cases will be assigned to the same judge. If cases are found to be related cases after assignment to different judges, they may be reassigned by the Chief Judge to the judge having the related case earliest filed.
- Miscellaneous docket - The miscellaneous docket of the court shall be assigned at random to a magistrate judge at the time of filing. If a miscellaneous docket matter is contested and requires proceedings conducted before a district judge, the case will be randomly reassigned to a district judge and a new civil action number will be assigned. If a miscellaneous docket matter requires decision by a district judge, a district judge will be assigned at random.
- Effect - This rule is intended to provide for an orderly division of the business of the court and not to grant any right to any litigant.
- Duty of parties - All parties shall notify the court in writing of all pending related cases and any dismissed or remanded prior cases.
3.3.2 Reassignment of cases
- Reassignment of cases on grounds of geographic convenience - Promptly after all parties have appeared in any civil action, the parties may file a stipulation and motion requesting transfer of the action to a judge located in a different city, on the basis of the convenience of counsel, the parties, or witnesses. Reassignment of the action shall be at the discretion of the court and shall require the consent of all parties and of both the transferor and transferee judge.
- Reassignment to promote judicial economy - The court may reassign cases from one district judge to another (i) to equalize and balance workloads among judges; (ii) to assign cases to senior or visiting judges or remove cases from their dockets as necessary; or (iii) for other reasons of judicial economy. Any case may be reassigned under this rule from one judge to another judge with the consent of both judges. Cases may also be reassigned by administrative order of the Chief Judge if approved by a majority of active district judges.
- Reassignment of cognate cases
- Definition - Cognate cases are pending civil actions involving the same or similar questions of fact or law such that their assignment to a single judge is likely to effect a substantial saving of judicial effort and to avoid wasteful and duplicative proceedings for the court and the parties.
- Procedure for reassignment - When any judge determines that reassignment of cognate cases would serve the interests of justice and judicial economy, the judge will contact all other judges to whom cognate cases have been assigned. If all those judges agree to reassignment, the Chief Judge will enter an administrative order reassigning such cognate cases to the judge with the earliest numbered case. The administrative order may also provide for automatic assignment of future cognate cases to that judge, and for an adjustment in future case assignments to that judge to compensate for the increased workload.
3.4 In forma pauperis proceedings
- Motion and supporting documents - All persons applying to proceed in forma pauperis in this court or on appeal shall file with their complaint or notice of appeal a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis supported by the financial affidavit required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). In addition, any person incarcerated under a state or federal criminal conviction shall submit a certified copy of the prison trust fund account statement for the prisoner for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint or notice of appeal, obtained from the appropriate official of each prison at which the prisoner is or was confined. The statement shall disclose (i) the amount then in the trust fund account; (ii) all deposits and withdrawals from the account during the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint or notice of appeal as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).
- Determination of pauper status - A petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis shall be presented by the clerk to the assigned magistrate judge. If the financial affidavit discloses that the person is unable to pay the full filing fee or fees for service of process, the magistrate judge shall grant the petition for pauper status. The magistrate judge shall nevertheless order that a prisoner pay, within a specified period, an initial partial filing fee and make monthly payments thereafter in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). If the person fails to comply with the order for payment of all or any part of the filing fee, the complaint may be dismissed by a district judge or the appeal may be dismissed for want of prosecution by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Local Civil Rule 4.1. Fee payment to marshal
4.1.1 A deposit in a sum deemed sufficient by the marshal to cover fees for the service to be performed shall be made in every instance in which the marshal is required to perform service. The marshal may require that any payment be by certified check.
Local Civil Rule 5. Serving and filing pleadings and other papers
5.2 Proof of service - Proof of service of all pleadings and other papers required or permitted to be served shall be filed promptly after service and may be made by written acknowledgment of service, by affidavit of the person making service or by written certification of counsel. Proof of service shall state the date and manner of service. Proof of service is unnecessary for documents filed and served electronically under LCivR 5.7(i).
5.3 Filing of discovery materials
- Interrogatories, requests for production or inspection, requests for admissions, and responses or objections shall be served upon other parties, but shall not be filed with the court. Only a proof of service shall be filed with the court. The party responsible for service of these discovery materials shall retain the original and become the custodian.
- Transcripts of depositions shall not be filed with the court.
- If discovery materials are to be used at trial, relevant portions of the materials to be used shall be filed with the clerk at or before trial. If discovery materials are necessary to any motion, relevant portions of the materials shall be filed with the clerk with the motion or response.
5.4 Place of filing - Paper pleadings and other papers that may not be filed electronically under LCivR 5.7(d)(ii) may be filed with the clerk at any divisional office during walk-in business hours. If a hearing is scheduled, it is incumbent upon the party to insure that the presiding judge receives a copy of the pleadings or other papers on the day they are received by the clerk, or in no event later than three (3) business days prior to the hearing.
5.5 Rejection of filings - The court may order the rejection of any pleading or other paper that does not comply with these rules or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure unless such noncompliance is expressly approved by the court. The clerk shall return any rejected filing to the party tendering it, along with a statement of the reasons for rejection.
5.6 Pleadings and other papers in particular cases
- Actions by prisoners - Habeas corpus petitions or complaints brought under the Civil Rights Acts by prisoners proceeding pro se shall be in the form specified by the court. The clerk shall make such forms available to prisoners desiring to file such actions.
- In pro per petitions - Absent good cause, in all proceedings brought in propria persona or in forma pauperis, the petition or complaint shall not be accepted for filing unless it is accompanied by a copy or copies in number sufficient for service on the respondent(s) or the defendant(s).
5.7 Filing and service by electronic means
- General information; definitions - Pursuant to Rule 5(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the clerk will accept pleadings and other papers filed and signed by electronic means in accordance with this rule. All papers filed by electronic means must comply with technical standards, if any, now or hereafter established by the Judicial Conference of the United States.
This rule shall apply to all civil actions maintained in the court’s electronic case filing system. All documents, whether filed electronically or on paper, will be placed into the electronic case filing system, except as provided below. Attorneys must file and serve all documents electronically by use of the ECF system unless (1) the attorney has been specifically exempted by the court for cause or (2) the document is not eligible for electronic filing under this rule.
As used in these rules, the term:
- "ECF system" means the electronic case filing system maintained by this court;
- "registered attorney" means an attorney who is authorized pursuant to LCivR 5.7(b) to file documents electronically and to receive service on the ECF system;
- "initial pleading" means the complaint, petition or other document by which a civil action is initiated;
- "electronically filed document" means any order, opinion, judgment, pleading, notice, transcript, motion, brief or other paper submitted electronically to the ECF system;
- "paper filed document" means a pleading or other paper submitted to the clerk in paper form for filing;
- "NEF" means the Notice of Electronic Filing generated by the ECF system;
- "nonelectronic means of service" means one of the methods of service authorized by Rule 5(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, except electronic service under Rule 5(b)(2)(E).
- Mandatory registration; resources
- Every attorney practicing in this court must register to file and serve documents electronically by the ECF system.
- To be entitled to register as a user of the ECF system, an attorney must be admitted to practice in this district, be a member in good standing, and have filed with the clerk a completed ECF attorney registration form.
Detailed registration information is available on the court’s website (www.miwd.uscourts.gov). A registered attorney may not knowingly cause or allow another person to file a document using the attorney’s login name and password, except for members of the attorney’s staff. Authorized use of an attorney’s login name and password by a staff member is deemed to be the act of the attorney. However, a registered attorney must not allow an unregistered attorney, even a member of the same firm, to use his or her login name and password.
- The court will provide on its website references and instructions on the use of the ECF system. Law firms are encouraged to have individuals responsible for electronic filing (attorney, paralegal or automation specialist) make use of the materials available on the website. The ECF Help Desk is available during business hours to assist.
- Initial pleading - All attorneys must submit complaints and other initial pleadings in civil cases electronically, unless the pleading is exempt from electronic filing under LCivR 5.7(d)(ii), or the attorney is granted an exception by the Chief Judge for good cause shown. Filing fees must be paid (or a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis must be filed) electronically at the time the initial pleading is electronically submitted. A civil case is not commenced until the initial pleading has been accepted by the ECF system and a Notice of Electronic Filing has issued. Unrepresented parties must file initial pleadings and pay the filing fee (or seek in forma pauperis status) on paper.
- Electronic filing
- Mandatory electronic filing - All attorneys must file all pleadings and other papers permitted by the federal rules and the local rules of this court electronically in all civil cases, subject to the exceptions set forth below. All electronically filed documents must be in PDF format and submitted in accordance with the instructions set forth on the court’s website.
- Papers that may not be filed electronically - The following documents must not be filed electronically, but must be submitted in paper form:
- documents submitted by a person who is not a registered attorney (for example, a pro se litigant who is not registered under the "Pro Se E-Filing and Service Protocol,” posted by the clerk on the court’s website);
- documents that are required by statute to be filed in camera, such as complaints and certain other filings submitted under the Federal False Claims Act or analogous state statutes;
- papers filed in cases that have been sealed in their entirety, except as authorized under LCivR 10.7; and
- garnishee disclosures and other documents submitted by unrepresented third parties in response to writs or other court process.
- Electronic filing of affidavits and other original documents - The following documents must be filed electronically by submission of a scanned PDF version of the original document:
- affidavits in support of or in opposition to a motion (this rule does not apply to affidavits of service);
- declarations under penalty of perjury; and
- certified copies of judgments or orders of other courts.
The electronically filed version of such documents must bear a scanned image of all original manuscript signatures. The filer must meet the requirements of LCivR 5.7(e)(viii) regarding evidence of an original signature.
- Deadlines - An electronically filed document is deemed filed upon completion of the transmission and issuance by the court’s system of an NEF. In situations where LCivR 5.7(d)(vii) requires that attachments to an electronically filed document be submitted in paper form, the electronic document is deemed filed upon issuance of the NEF, provided that the paper exhibits are filed and served within seventy-two (72) hours thereof. All electronic transmissions of documents must be completed (i.e., received completely by the clerk’s office) prior to midnight, Eastern Time, in order to be considered timely filed that day. Where a specific time of day deadline is set by court order or stipulation, the electronic filing must be completed by that time.
- Technical failures - The clerk shall deem the court’s website to be subject to a technical failure on a given day if the site is unable to accept filings continuously or intermittently over the course of any period of time greater than one hour after 12:00 noon (Eastern Time) that day, in which case, filings due that day which were not filed due solely to such technical failures shall become due the next business day. Such delayed filings must be accompanied by a declaration or affidavit attesting to the filer’s failed attempts to file electronically at least two times after 12:00 noon separated by at least one hour on each day of delay because of such technical failure. The initial point of contact for any practitioner experiencing difficulty filing a document electronically shall be the ECF Help Desk, available via phone at (616) 456-2206 or (800) 290-2742, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Official record; discarding of paper filed documents - For purposes of Rule 79 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the record of filings and entries created by the ECF system for each case constitutes the docket. The official record of all proceedings in civil cases is the electronic file maintained on the court’s ECF system. The clerk's office will discard all paper filed documents after they have become part of the electronic record, unless the document produces a low-quality electronic file.
- Exhibits and attachments
- Oversized documents - The file size limit is posted by the clerk on the court’s website. No PDF document exceeding the file size limit may be filed in the CM/ECF system. Filers must divide such documents into component parts, each part not to exceed the posted limit, for purposes of electronic filing. The docket entry must clearly indicate that the document is filed in parts. An exhibit may be filed on paper only if it is exempt from electronic filing under LCivR 5.7(d)(ii).
- Requirements - Filers must not attach as an exhibit any pleading or other paper already on file with the court, but shall refer to that document by the ECF No. identified thereon, found in the document header displayed at the top of the electronically filed document. All exhibits and attachments must contain on their face a prominent exhibit number or letter as set forth in LCivR 10.8. If one or more attachments or exhibits to an electronically filed document are not being submitted electronically under this rule, the electronically filed document must contain a notice of that fact in its text.
- Attorneys - A registered attorney’s use of the assigned login name and password to submit an electronically filed document serves as the registered attorney’s signature on that document for purposes of Rule 11 and for all other purposes under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the local rules of this court. The identity of the registered attorney submitting the electronically filed document must be reflected at the end of the document by means of an “ s/ [attorney’s name] ” block showing the attorney’s name, followed by the attorney’s business address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Graphic and other electronic signatures are discouraged.
- Multiple attorney signatures - The filer of any electronically filed document requiring multiple signatures (e.g., stipulations, joint status reports) must list thereon all the names of other attorney signatories by means of an “ s/ [attorney's name] ” block for each. By submitting such a document, the filer certifies that each of the other attorneys has expressly agreed to the form and substance of the document, that the filer has their actual authority to submit the document electronically, and that the requirements of LCivR 5.7(e)(viii) regarding evidence of original signature have been met. This paragraph does not apply to pro se or unrepresented parties, whose manuscript signature, in original or scanned form, must appear on the face of the document.
- Court reporters and transcribers - The electronic filing of a transcript by a court reporter/transcriptionist by use of their assiged login name and password shall be deemed the filing of a signed and certified original document for all purposes.
- Judges - The electronic filing of an opinion, order, judgment or other document by a judge (or authorized member of the judge’s staff) by use of the judge’s login and password shall be deemed the filing of a signed original document for all purposes.
- Clerk of Court or deputy clerks - The electronic filing of any document by the clerk or a deputy clerk of this court, of the bankruptcy court of this district, or of any circuit court of appeals by use of that individual’s login and password shall be deemed the filing of a signed original document for all purposes.
- U.S. Marshals Service - The U.S. Marshals Service for this district is authorized to file and serve documents electronically. The electronic filing of any document by the U.S. Marshals Service by use of the assigned login and password shall be deemed the filing of a signed original document for all purposes.
- Officers of the court - If the court has appointed a special master, monitor, or other court adjunct who is required to make regular filings, the court may authorize the officer to file and serve documents electronically. The officer of the court shall complete a registration form, and upon assignment of a login and password to the system, has authority to file and serve documents electronically in the case in which the officer was appointed. The electronic filing of any document by a court officer by use of the assigned login and password shall be deemed the filing of a signed original document for all purposes.
- Evidence of original signature - Filers of documents containing signatures authorized by LCivR 5.7(e)(ii) (multiple attorney signatures) must maintain any records evidencing concurrence, and filers of documents containing signatures authorized by LCivR 5.7(d)(iii) (electronically filed affidavits, etc.) must maintain the documents bearing the original manual signature for subsequent production to the court or for inspection by a party until one year after the final resolution of the action (including appeal, if any). A non-filing signatory or party who disputes the authenticity of a signature on an electronically filed document must file an objection to the document within fourteen (14) days after service of that document.
- Proposed pleadings - Except for proposed sealed filings, if the filing of an electronically submitted document requires leave of court, such as an amended complaint or brief in excess of word count or page limits, the proposed document must be attached as an exhibit to the motion seeking leave to file. If the court grants leave to file the document, the clerk will electronically file the document without further action by the attorney. Requests to file documents under seal are governed by LCivR 10.7.
- Proposed orders - Proposed orders may be submitted electronically. All proposed orders must be in PDF format and must be: (1) attached as an exhibit to a motion or stipulation; or (2) contained within the body of a stipulation; or (3) submitted separately. Do not include the word proposed in the caption or title of the proposed order. If the judge approves the proposed order, it will be refiled electronically under a separate document number.
- Court orders, judgments, writs and other process - Judgments and orders may be filed electronically by the court or authorized court personnel. Any document filed electronically without the image of the manuscript signature of the judge or clerk has the same force and effect as a document bearing an original signature. The clerk may electronically affix the seal of the court on writs, summons, and other process, which shall have the same legal force and effect as process bearing an imprinted seal.
- Service of electronically filed documents
- Summons and initial pleading - Summons, writs and other court process may be issued in electronic form with electronically affixed signatures and seal. Service of the summons and complaint or other initial pleading must be made by one of the methods allowed by Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
- Service on registered attorneys - By registering under this rule, an attorney automatically consents to electronic service by both the court and any opposing attorney of any electronically filed document in any civil action in which the registered attorney appears. Consequently, service of an electronically filed document upon a registered attorney is deemed complete upon the transmission of an NEF to that attorney under LCivR 5.7(i)(iv) and no separate certificate of service should be filed. Paper filed documents and sealed documents must be served on registered attorneys by nonelectronic means of service. A proof of service must be filed.
- Service on unregistered attorneys and pro se parties - Counsel filing any pleading or other paper must serve attorneys not registered under this rule and pro se parties not registered under the “Pro Se E-Filing and Service Protocol,” posted by the clerk on the court’s website, by nonelectronic means of service under Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A proof of service must be filed.
- Method of electronic service - At the time a document is filed either electronically or by scanning paper submissions, the court’s system will generate an NEF, which will be transmitted by e-mail to the filer and all registered attorneys who have appeared on that case. The NEF will contain a hyperlink to the filed document. The attorney filing the document should retain a paper or digital copy of the NEF, which serves as the court’s date-stamp and proof of filing. Except in the case of sealed documents (see LCivR 10.6(d)) and ex parte filings (see LCivR 10.5(a)), transmission of the NEF to the registered e-mail address constitutes service of an electronically filed document upon any registered attorney. Only service of the NEF by the court’s system constitutes electronic service; transmission of a document by one party to another by regular e-mail does not constitute service.
- Remote access to electronically stored documents - The general public, as well as any party to the litigation, may access and download any electronically stored document, with the following exceptions: (1) remote access to documents filed in Social Security and immigration cases is restricted as required by Rule 5.2(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; (2) access to certain documents may be restricted to the court or to the parties of record, by order or local rule; and (3) the court may restrict access to other classes of documents in conformity with resolutions of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
- Facsimile transmissions - The clerk will not accept for filing any pleading or other paper submitted by facsimile transmission.
III. PLEADINGS AND MOTIONS
Local Civil Rule 7. Motion practice
7.1 Motions in general
- Briefs - All motions, except those made orally during a hearing or trial, shall be accompanied by a supporting brief. Any party opposing a written motion shall do so by filing and serving a brief conforming to these rules. All briefs filed in support of or in opposition to any motion shall contain a concise statement of the reasons in support of the party's position and shall cite all applicable federal rules of procedure, all applicable local rules, and the other authorities upon which the party relies. References to the record shall comply with LCivR 10.9. Briefs shall not be submitted in the form of a letter to the judge.
- Supporting documents - When allegations of facts not appearing of record are relied upon in support of or in opposition to any motion, all affidavits or other documents relied upon to establish such facts shall accompany the motion. All discovery motions shall set forth verbatim, or have attached, the relevant discovery request and answer or objection. Exhibits and attachments in support of or in opposition to a motion shall comply with LCivR 5.3 and LCivR 5.7(d)(vii)(B). Absent leave of court, the number of pages of exhibits and attachments that may be filed in support of a motion is limited to either 1) two hundred (200) pages per party, or alternatively, 2) five hundred (500) pages, provided the parties meet and confer and jointly file the agreed upon exhibits and attachments. If leave of court is granted to exceed the page limits established for attachments, the parties will be permitted to file the record they deem appropriate with a joint appendix. The joint appendix shall identify the documents attached and identify the specific documents or portion thereof, that the parties believe the court should review.
- Modification of limits - In its discretion, the court may in a particular case shorten or enlarge any time, word count, or page limit established by these rules, with or without prior notice or motion.
- Attempt to obtain concurrence - With respect to all motions, the moving party shall ascertain whether the motion will be opposed. In addition, in the case of all nondispositive motions, counsel or pro se parties involved in the dispute shall confer in a good-faith effort to resolve the dispute. All nondispositive motions shall be accompanied by a separately filed certificate setting forth in detail the efforts of the moving party to comply with the obligation created by this rule.
- Motion for expedited consideration - Where the relief requested by a motion may be rendered moot before the motion is briefed in accordance with the schedules set forth herein, the party shall so indicate by inserting the phrase “EXPEDITED CONSIDERATION REQUESTED," in boldface type, below the case caption, and shall identify in the motion the reason expedited consideration is necessary.
- Unavailability of district judge - If it appears that any matter requires immediate attention, and the district judge to whom the case has been assigned, or in the usual course would be assigned, is not available, the matter shall be referred to the assigned magistrate judge, who shall decide the matter if it is within the magistrate judge's jurisdiction. If the matter can only be decided by a district judge, the magistrate judge shall determine whether the matter can be set for a hearing at a time when the assigned district judge is available. If the matter is determined by a magistrate judge to require an immediate hearing before a district judge, the case will be referred to the Chief Judge, or in the Chief Judge’s absence, the next available district judge by seniority for decision or reassignment to an available district judge. After disposition of this emergency matter, the case will be returned to the originally assigned district judge. If the parties have consented to proceed before the magistrate judge under LCivR 73, and that magistrate judge is not available to attend to the emergency matter, it will be referred to the duty magistrate judge for determination.
7.2 Dispositive motions
- Definition - Dispositive motions are motions for injunctive relief, for judgment on the pleadings, for summary judgment, to dismiss or to permit maintenance of a class action, to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, to involuntarily dismiss an action, and other dispositive motions as defined by law. Motions for dismissal as a sanction pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 16 or 37 shall be subject to the briefing schedule for nondispositive motions.
- Length - Briefs filed in support of or in opposition to a dispositive motion that are produced on a computer shall not exceed ten thousand eight hundred (10,800) words, to include headings, footnotes, citations and quotations. Not to be included in the word count limit are the case caption, cover sheets, any table of contents, any table of authorities, the signature block, attachments, exhibits, and affidavits. Any such brief that is hand-written or produced on a typewriter shall not exceed twenty-five (25) pages in length, similarly including and excluding items previously identified.
- Certificate of compliance - The brief must be accompanied by a certificate of compliance, indicating the number of words in the document as defined by LCivR 7.2(b)(i), as well as the name and version of the word processing software that was used to generate the word count. The word count provided by the word processing software used to create the brief may be relied upon for purposes of the certificate of compliance.
- Courtesy copy - The court may require one paper courtesy copy of all dispositive motion papers, including responses, replies and all accompanying exhibits, which must be submitted directly to the presiding judge’s chambers. It shall consist of a printed copy of the document after filing (with the header), and an NEF must be attached to the front of the paper. Any exhibits must be properly tabbed and all papers firmly bound as required by LCivR 10.2. A printed copy of the NEF must be attached to the front of the paper. The courtesy copy must be hand delivered or sent via first class mail to chambers within twenty-four (24) hours of filing the original.
- Briefing schedule - Unless otherwise ordered, any party opposing a dispositive motion shall, within twenty-eight (28) days after service of the motion, file a responsive brief and any supporting materials. The moving party may, within fourteen (14) days after service of the response, file a reply brief. A reply brief produced on a computer shall not exceed four thousand three hundred (4,300) words, to include any headings, footnotes, citations and quotations. Not to be included in the word count limit are the case caption, cover sheets, any table of contents, any table of authorities, signature block, attachments, exhibits, and affidavits. Any reply brief that is hand-written or produced on a typewriter may not exceed ten (10) pages. The court may permit or require further briefing.
- Oral argument - Any party desiring oral argument shall include a request for oral argument in the caption and the heading of the party's brief. In its discretion, the court may schedule oral argument or may dispose of the motion without argument.
7.3 Nondispositive motions
- Definition - Nondispositive motions are all motions not specifically listed in LCivR 7.2(a).
- Length - Briefs filed in support of or in opposition to a nondispositive motion that are produced on a computer shall not exceed four thousand three hundred (4,300) words, to include any headings, footnotes, citations and quotations. Not to be included in the word count limit are the case caption, cover sheets, any table of contents, any table of authorities, the signature block, attachments, exhibits, affidavits and other addenda. Any such brief that is hand-written or produced on a typewriter shall not exceed ten (10) pages in length, similarly including and excluding items previously identified.
- Certificate of compliance - Briefs in support or in opposition to nondispositive motions exceeding one thousand (1,000) words shall be accompanied by a certificate of compliance, indicating the number of words in the document as defined by LCivR 7.3(b)(i), as well as the name and version of the word processing software that was used to generate the word count. The word count provided by the word processing software used to create the brief may be relied upon for purposes of the certificate of compliance.
- Briefing schedule - Unless otherwise ordered, any party opposing a nondispositive motion shall, within fourteen (14) days of service of the motion, file a responsive brief and supporting materials. Reply briefs may not be filed without leave of court.
- Oral argument - Any party desiring oral argument shall include a request for oral argument in the caption and the heading of the party's brief. In its discretion, the court may schedule oral argument or may dispose of the motion without argument.
7.4 Motions for reconsideration
- Grounds - Generally, and without restricting the discretion of the court, motions for reconsideration which merely present the same issues ruled upon by the court shall not be granted. The movant shall not only demonstrate a palpable defect by which the court and the parties have been misled, but also show that a different disposition of the case must result from a correction thereof.
- Response to motions for reconsideration - No answer to a motion for reconsideration will be allowed unless requested by the court, but a motion for reconsideration will ordinarily not be granted in the absence of such request. Any oral argument on a motion for reconsideration is reserved to the discretion of the court.
Local Civil Rule 8. General rules of pleading
8.1 Complaints in Social Security cases - Complaints filed pursuant to § 205(g) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), for benefits under Titles II, XVI and XVII of the Social Security Act shall contain, in addition to what is required under Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the following information: (1) a statement that the action is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); (2) the identification of the final decision to be reviewed, including any identifying designation provided by the Commisioner with the final decision; (3) the name, as well as the county of residence, of the person for whom benefits are claimed; (4) in cases involving claims for retirement, survivors, disability, or health insurance, the last four digits of the social security number of the worker (who may or may not be the plaintiff) on whose wage record the application for benefits was filed; (5) in cases involving supplemental security income benefits, the social security number of the plaintiff; and (6) the type of benefits claimed.
- Electronic service - The Clerk of Court shall, within seven days of the filing of the complaint, notify the Commissioner of the commencement of the action by transmitting a Notice of Electronic Filing to the appropriate office within the Social Security Administration's Office of General Counsel and the United States Attorney for the district where the action is filed.
- Other service - If the complaint was not filed electronically, the Clerk of Court shall, within seven days of the filing of the complaint, notify the plaintiff of the transmission.
- Service of summons and complaint - The plaintiff need not serve a summons and complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 4.
8.2 Answers and replies - Except in Social Security cases as provided in LCivR 8.3 and cases brought by a pro se plaintiff, a responsive pleading under Rule 8(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure shall recite verbatim that paragraph of the pleading, or amended pleading, to which it is responsive, followed by the response. Upon request, an attorney must provide to opposing counsel a copy of the complaint or other pleading to which a response is due, in native word processing format, so that opposing counsel may comply with this rule.
8.3 Answers in Social Security cases - In all Social Security cases filed under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), defendant shall have sixty (60) days after notification of the commencement of the action to file and serve upon plaintiff a certified copy of the administrative record of the proceedings, which shall constitute defendant’s answer, or otherwise move against the complaint. No separate answer need be filed. Unless the court sets a different time, servicing a motion under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12 alters the time to answer as provided by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(a)(4).
8.4 Presenting an action for decision - An action under § 405 is presented for decision by the parties' briefs. A brief must support assertions of fact by citations to particular parts of the record by PageID, in accordance with LCivR 10.9.
- Plaintiff's brief - The plaintiff shall file and serve on the Commissioner a brief for the requested relief within thirty (30) days after the answer is filed or thirty (30) days after entry of an order disposing of the last remaining motion filed under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12, whichever is later.
- Commissioner's brief - the Commissioner shall file a brief and serve it on the plaintiff within thirty (30) days after service of the plaintiff's brief.
- Reply brief - The plaintiff may file a reply brief and serve it on the Commissioner within fourteen (14) days after service of the Commissioner's brief.
Local Civil Rule 10. Form of pleadings and other papers; filing requirements
10.1 Document size and format - All documents must be double spaced in 8 ½ x 11 inch format with writing on only the face of each sheet. Type must be no smaller than twelve (12) point type and all margins must be at least one inch. Electronically filed documents must be in rendered PDF digital format. Exhibits and attachments, not authored by the filer, may be in scanned PDF format.
10.2 Binding - All paper filed pleadings and other papers that have numerous pages must be bound with a fastener. Originals should be stapled or bound on the top margin with a two-hole fastener. Copies of paper filed documents may be bound in the same manner as originals or in a binder. Judges’ courtesy copies shall be presented book style, in a binder, unless otherwise specified in a particular judge’s judicial guidelines. Paper clips and other types of clips shall not be used; fasteners shall pass through the pages.
10.3 Date and contact information - All pleadings and other papers shall contain the date of signing and the address, telephone number and e-mail address of the signing attorney or pro se party.
10.4 Number of copies - All paper filed documents must be filed in duplicate -- the original and one copy. If service of any paper is to be made by the United States marshal, sufficient additional copies shall be supplied for service upon each other party. If file stamped copies of documents are requested to be returned to the offering party, sufficient copies for this purpose and a suitable self-addressed, postage paid envelope shall be supplied.
10.5 Ex parte submissions
- Filing of ex parte submissions - If the law allows a party to submit a pleading or other paper ex parte, the party may file the document with the clerk without serving a copy on any other party. The document shall be properly identified on its face as Ex Parte. A registered attorney must submit any ex parte filing electronically by use of the appropriate CM/ECF event. An NEF will be generated for the ex parte document and will be transmitted to all parties. Unless modified by the filer, the NEF and docket entry will identify the document only as "Ex Parte Document" or "Ex Parte Motion."
- Access to ex parte filings - The docket entry and the NEF for any ex parte filing will be available for public viewing. Unless the court specifically orders otherwise, access to ex parte documents will be available only to the party submitting the filing (or that party’s registered attorneys) and to the personnel of this court and the court of appeals, but not to the public or any other party.
- Filings by the court - The court may issue restricted access orders in response to ex parte filings. Access to these orders will be restricted to the moving party, the personnel of this court and the court of appeals. The docket entry and the NEF for any restricted access order will be identified as such and available for public viewing.
- Sealed cases - If an entire case has been sealed, either by order or by operation of statute, then neither the ex parte submission nor any docket entry relating thereto will be available for public viewing, until such time as the court orders otherwise.
10.6 Sealed documents
- Policy - To preserve the qualified, common-law presumption of public access to judicial files in civil cases, the filing of documents under seal should be the exception. Sealing is to be limited to information that is truly proprietary or confidential. The court strongly resists the sealing of entire civil pleadings, motions or briefs, as it is rare that the entire document will merit confidential treatment. In lieu of seeking leave to file an entire document under seal, parties should incorporate the confidential material in a separate document and seek leave to file only that document under seal.
- Requests to seal - The procedures set forth in this rule apply to cases that have not been sealed in their entirety. Documents may be submitted under seal only if authorized by statute or by the court for good cause shown. A person seeking leave to file a document under seal must file a motion requesting such relief, unless the court has entered a previous order authorizing the submission of the document under seal or submission under seal is authorized by statute. The motion seeking leave to file under seal should generally be a public filing, unless the submitting party believes in good faith that public access to the motion will compromise the confidential matter. A proposed sealed document submitted by a registered attorney must be submitted electronically under seal as a separate document, under a separate docket entry, by use of the appropriate CM/ECF event. The docket entry and the NEF for any sealed document will be available for public viewing; the description of the sealed document should therefore be general in nature (e.g., sealed affidavit, sealed exhibit). The proposed sealed document shall be appropriately identified on its face as sealed, but should not contain the word "proposed." Proposed sealed documents submitted by persons other than registered attorneys must be filed in a sealed envelope bearing the case caption and number, the identity of the party submitting the documents, and a general description of the contents; the proposed sealed document will be scanned and maintained electronically under seal. If the court denies the motion to seal in whole or in part, the proposed sealed document will remain sealed, but the court may order the submitting party to tender a modified document, either sealed or not under seal, as the court directs. If the court grants leave to file the document under seal, the clerk will modify the docket entry to remove reference to "proposed."
- Access to sealed documents - A document filed under seal may be accessed electronically only by authorized personnel of this court and the court of appeals and not by the public or any attorney or party, except as authorized under LCivR 10.7.
- Service of sealed documents - A party submitting a document under seal must serve it by non-electronic means of service on all other parties.
10.7 Sealed cases - The court may enter an order sealing an entire civil case file only if:
- sealing is required by statute or court rule, or
- sealing is justified by a showing of extraordinary circumstances and the absence of narrower feasible and effective alternatives (such as sealing discrete documents or redacting specific information), such that sealing an entire case file is a last resort.
Any order sealing an entire case file under LCivR 10.7(b) must contain specific findings justifying sealing. The order may be vacated on motion of any party or on the court’s own motion when the reason for sealing has ended. Government attorneys of record in miscellaneous cases involving grand jury matters will be afforded remote electronic access to the miscellaneous case.
10.8 Exhibits - All exhibits or attachments to pleadings, motions, briefs, or other papers must contain on their face a prominent exhibit number or letter.
10.9 Referencing the court record - A sequential pagination of the electronic court record initiates with the first filing in a case. The sequential page identification, referred to as the PageID, is applied by the ECF system and is found in the document header displayed at the top of every page of every electronically filed document. The PageID clearly, uniquely, and permanently identifies each page of the court record. Any reference by a registered attorney to a portion of the record in which it is to be electronically filed shall be made by reference to the PageID identified thereon, following the cite form identified on the court’s website. Pro se litigants are exempt from this requirement.
Local Civil Rule 16. Civil pretrial conferences; Alternative Dispute Resolution
16.1 Early scheduling conference - The court may order that an early scheduling conference be held before a judge either in open court, in chambers, or at the discretion of the court, by telephone. Following this conference, the court will issue a case management order establishing a timetable for disposition of the case. Parties may refer to the court’s website for judicial guidelines on the court’s pretrial and trial practice.
16.2 Alternative Dispute Resolution: General provisions
- ADR favored - The judges of this district favor alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods in those cases where the parties and the court agree that ADR may help resolve the case. The ADR methods approved by these rules include Voluntary Facilitative Mediation (LCivR 16.3); Early Neutral Evaluation (LCivR 16.4); Case Evaluation (LCivR 16.5); and Settlement Conferences (LCivR 16.6). In addition, the court will consider other ADR methods proposed by the parties (e.g., Summary Trials).
- Court administration of the ADR program
- Program description and administration - Each ADR program is governed by these rules and the provisions of a program description, which is incorporated into these rules by reference. The program description for each ADR method is available on the court’s website and is published in a form suitable for reference by attorneys and their clients. The ADR program is administered by the clerk’s office. Problems are initially handled by the ADR Administrator.
- Consideration of ADR in appropriate cases - In connection with the conference held pursuant to Rule 26(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, all litigants and counsel must consider and discuss the use of an appropriate ADR process at a suitable stage of the litigation.
- Confidentiality - All ADR proceedings are considered to be compromise negotiations within the meaning of Fed. R. Evid. 408.
- Status of discovery, motions and trial during the ADR process - Any case referred to ADR continues to be subject to management by the judge to whom it is assigned. Parties may file motions and engage in discovery. Selection of a case for ADR has no effect on the normal progress of the case toward trial. Referral of a case to ADR is not grounds to avoid or postpone any deadline or obligation imposed by the case management order unless so ordered by the court.
- Qualifications for neutrals - To be qualified to act as a neutral (i.e., facilitative mediator, early neutral evaluator, case evaluator, or arbitrator), an attorney must satisfy all special requirements applicable to a particular ADR program as identified in the program description available on the court’s website.
- Attorneys’ responsibility for payment of fees - The attorney or law firm representing a party participating in ADR is directly responsible for fees payable to the court or to neutrals. Pro se parties are personally responsible for fees. To the extent consistent with ethical rules, the attorney or firm may seek reimbursement from the client. If any attorney or pro se party is delinquent in paying any fee required to be paid to a neutral under these rules, the neutral may petition the court for an order directing payment, and any judge assigned to the case may order payment, upon pain of contempt.
- Pro bono service - In cases in which one or more parties cannot afford the fees of a neutral, the court may request that the neutral serve pro bono, by waiving or reducing the fee for the indigent party. All other parties are expected to pay the full fee.
16.3 Voluntary Facilitative Mediation
- Definition - Voluntary Facilitative Mediation (VFM) is a flexible, nonbinding dispute resolution process in which an impartial third party—the mediator—facilitates negotiations among the parties to help them reach settlement. VFM seeks to expand traditional settlement discussions and broaden resolution options, often by going beyond the issues in controversy. The mediator, who may meet jointly and separately with the parties, serves as a facilitator only and does not decide issues or make findings of fact. Cases will be assigned to VFM only if the presiding judge is satisfied that the selection of VFM is purely voluntary and with full approval of all parties.
- Program description - Procedures and other details regarding the VFM process are governed by the program description, available on the court’s website.
16.4 Early Neutral Evaluation
- Definition - Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is a flexible, nonbinding dispute resolution process in which an experienced neutral attorney meets with the parties early in the case to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and the value that it may have, and also attempts to negotiate a settlement.
- Program description - Procedures and other details regarding the ENE process are governed by the program description, available on the court’s website.
16.5 Case Evaluation
- Definition - The case evaluation program affords litigants an ADR process patterned after that extensively used in the courts of the State of Michigan. See Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 600.4951-.4969; Mich. Ct. R. 2.403. Case evaluation principally involves establishment of the settlement value of a case by a three-member panel of attorneys. The court may order that any civil case in which damages are sought be submitted to case evaluation; certain tort cases in which the rule of decision is supplied by Michigan law must be submitted to case evaluation, unless the parties unanimously agree to submit the case to voluntary facilitative mediation.
- Program description - Procedures and other details regarding the standard and blue ribbon case evaluation processes are found in the program description, available on the court’s website.