On January 7, 2022, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina notified the public of proposed amendments to the Local Civil, Criminal, and Admiralty Rules of Practice and Procedure. These changes went into effect May 31, 2023 and can be found on the Eastern District’s website.
This Article summarizes the substantive amendments. It omits minor stylistic modifications.
Local Civil Rules
Local Civil Rule 1.2 on “Definitions” was added to clarify definitions of terms that would be used throughout the Civil Rules. These terms include:
- Person: any human being or entity.
- Party: a person who asserts a claim or has a claim being asserted against him/her. A represented party shall act through its attorney unless a rule says otherwise.
- Nonparty: any person other than a party, an attorney, a judge, or a court staff member who is acting in that capacity. A represented nonparty shall act through their attorney unless a rule says otherwise.
- Attorney: any attorney of record for a person.
- Unrepresented Party: a person during any time when the person is proceeding without an attorney.
- Incarcerated Unrepresented Person: an unrepresented person who is currently imprisoned, jailed, civilly committed, or otherwise detained.
- Movant: refers to a person who makes a motion.
Local Civil Rule 5.1(f)(1) concerning “Documents Excluded from Electronic Filing” was amended to reflect the 2018 amendments to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5 and the district court’s Standing Order 18-SO-5 concerning the electronic service of documents filed by unrepresented litigants. The Rule now states that “a document filed in paper form shall be deemed filed on the date it is received by the clerk except that for incarcerated unrepresented persons a document filed in paper form is deemed filed on the date that it is deposited in the institution’s mailing system.”
Local Civil Rule 6.1(a) concerning “Motions for an Extension of Time to Perform Act” was amended to require a good faith consultation with a non-incarcerated party or nonparty whose interests could be affected by a motion for an extension of time. Additionally, a motion for an extension of time must “identify the views of each party or nonparty consulted, as well as the efforts to consult with any parties and nonparties who did not respond.” Before this amendment, the rule required consultation with opposing counsel only.
Local Civil Rule 54.1 on “Application for Costs”:
- Changed the deadline for applying a bill of costs from 14 days after a final judgment to 30 days after “the expiration of time allowed for appeal of a final judgment or decree” OR “receipt by the clerk of the mandate or other order terminating the action on appeal.”
- Removed the requirement that parties opposing such an application file a motion for disallowance.
- Made clear that a prevailing party to an application can be awarded deposition costs.
Local Civil Rule 54.2 on “Taxation of Juror Costs” concerning a settlement before trial and before verdict states that juror costs may be assessed against the parties, their attorneys, or both after giving them an opportunity to be heard. The separate deadline for notification of settlement in asbestos litigation was also removed.
Local Civil Rule 72.3 regarding the “Authority of a Magistrate Judge” added the use of the term “district judge” to clarify when actions are taken by district judges. The rule was further amended to note that magistrate judges are authorized to exercise contempt authority per 28 U.S.C. § 636(e).
References to the Federal Boat Safety Act were updated to reference the correct statutory authority and state that a magistrate judge can “conduct proceedings for the collection of civil penalties of not more than $200.00 assessed under the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971, per 46 U.S.C. §§ 4311(e) and 12309(c).”
The provision in the former rules relating to a magistrate judge’s ability to “conduct proceedings for initial commitment of narcotics addicts under Title III of the Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act” was removed.
Local Civil Rule 81.2 on “Habeas Corpus Actions”:
- Made clear that a respondent is not required to respond to a post-conviction motion unless directed by the court.
- Clarified that Local Civil Rules 7.1 and 7.2 govern motion practice in a postconviction motion for relief.
- Noted that a petitioner has 21 days to file a reply in a post-conviction proceeding.
Local Criminal Rules
Local Criminal Rule 1.2 on “Definitions” was added to include thesame definitions of terms used in Local Civil Rule 1.2.
Local Criminal Rule 5.3 on the “Authority of a Magistrate Judge” added the use of the term “district judge” to clarify when actions are taken by district judges and noted that magistrate judges are authorized to exercise contempt authority similar to Local Civil Rule 72.3. Subsection (e) under the previous rules concerning prisoner civil rights actions was also deleted.
Local Criminal Rule 12.1 on the “Time Period for Filing Pretrial Motions” was amended to include the phrase “within such other time as ordered by the court” to align with the current practices in the district, which allow scheduling orders to establish distinct deadlines for the filing of pretrial motions and their corresponding responses.
Local Criminal Rule 16.1 on “Motions Related to Discovery and Inspection”was amended to include the phrase “within such other time as ordered by the court” in section (b)to align with the current practice in the district, which allows scheduling orders to establish varying deadlines for the criminal pretrial conference.
Local Criminal Rule 47.1 on “Motion Practice” amended subsection (h) to require consultation in good faith with a non-incarcerated party or nonparty whose interests may be affected by a motion for an extension of time. Additionally, the motion must “identify the views of each party or nonparty consulted, as well as the efforts to consult with any parties and nonparties who did not respond.” Before this amendment, the rule required consultation with opposing counsel only.
Local Criminal Rule 49.1 on “Filing and Service of Papers” was amended to reflect the 2018 amendments to the Fed. R. Crim. P. 49 and this district’s Standing Order 18-SO-5 concerning electronic service of documents filed by unrepresented litigants.
Local Admiralty Rules
Local Admiralty Rule A.3 was added to include the same definitions of terms used in Local Civil Rule 1.2.
Local Admiralty Rule E.2 regarding “Process” was amended to limit the verification requirement to admiralty cases involving arrest, attachment, or in rem claims under Supplemental Rules B, C, or E. Previously, this rule required every complaint and claim in any action filed under the Supplemental Rules to be verified.
Many thanks to summer clerk, Hinal Patel, for her contributions to this article.
 The “Summary of Amendments” guide prepared by the Clerk’s Office states that subsection (a) was amended, but the only apparent changes are in subsection (h).