Clerk’s Corner: New Year, New Local Rules

By Chief Clerk of Court John Domurad

As we begin the new year, I thought it would be helpful to discuss some of the modifications made to the Northern District of New York Local Rules of Practice that became effective January 1, 2021. The Local Rules Committee carefully reviewed all of the comments and suggestions from the members of the bar and made many stylistic as well as substantive changes. From a civil practitioner’s perspective, some of the more significant changes to be aware of include L.R. 4.1(e), 7.1, 54.4, and 83.3, which will be discussed below.

Local Rule 4.1(e) was modified to include a provision that any individual, corporation or association defendant that is subject to service under Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 4(e), (f) or (h), and that fails to sign and return a waiver of personal service, not only will be required to pay the expenses incurred by the plaintiff for service, but also may be required to pay the plaintiff attorney’s fees on any motion required to be filed to collect those service expenses.

With regard to Local Rule 7.1, all motions filed in N.D.N.Y. will be taken on submission of the motion papers with no oral argument. Parties may make a written request for oral argument specifying the grounds for the request and the reasons for why oral argument will be helpful to the Court. In addition, the calculation of the deadlines to file a response and reply to a motion have also changed. Any opposition to a motion must be filed within 21 days from the date the motion was filed, and reply papers, if allowed, must be filed within 7 days from the date the opposition was filed.

In response to Sinkler vs. Berryhill, 932 F.3d 83 (W.D.N.Y. 2019), Local Rule 54.4 has been added to extend the time to file a motion for attorney’s fees filed under 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) in Social Security appeals to be filed within sixty (60) days from the date the plaintiff’s counsel of record was notified of the final award at the conclusion of the defendant’s past-due benefit calculation. This rule extends the former fourteen (14)-day deadline for said motion.

Local Rule 83.3 (formerly L.R. 83.4) with regard to attorney discipline has been revamped to include a requirement that all members of the bar report any conviction of a misdemeanor or felony to the Clerk of Court within 14 days of the conviction. It also requires that all attorneys affirm during their biennial registration that they have not been convicted of a crime within the prior two years.

The complete Local Rules can be found on the Northern District of New York’s website at https://www.nynd.uscourts.gov/local-rules. In addition, on February 23, the NDNY Federal Court Bar Association will be sponsoring a CLE program wherein Court personnel and the Hon. Brenda K. Sannes will provide a detailed overview of the Local Rule amendments that became effective on January 1, 2021. More information about this CLE program can be found at https://www.ndnyfcba.org/category/upcoming-events/cle-programs.