Federal Rule Amendments Take Effect December 1, 2016

After a festive Thanksgiving holiday, this month’s blog is a reminder that effective December 1, 2016, various amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Bankruptcy Rules and Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure take effect. The rules and orders adopting the rules are available on the website of the Supreme Court of the United States under the Orders for April 28, 2016 (http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/ordersofthecourt/15). For this month’s blog, just a short note to highlight the changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (hereinafter the “Rules”) for Rules 4 and 6.

Rule 4(m) entitled “Time Limit for Service” has been amended to clarify that the time limit for service of 90 days after the complaint is filed does not apply to service in a foreign country under Rule 4(f), 4(h)(2), or 4(j)(1). ┬áPrior to the amendment, the Court was required to dismiss a case without prejudice or enter an order that service be made within a specified time if a plaintiff was able to show good cause for the failure to serve within 90 days. The amendment to Rule 4 is simply intended to resolve any confusion about service in a foreign country under Rule 4(f), 4(h)(2), or 4(j)(1).

Rule 6 (d) which deals with additional time after certain kinds of service has been amended to exclude service by electronic means from the additional three-day extension which adds three days to response deadlines based on the method of service. Rule 6 (d) has also been amended to clarify the meaning of the term “after service” by changing the language to “being served.” ┬áThe changes to Rule 6 (d) were made as the concerns about delays in electronic transmissions or lack of skill is no longer a cause for concern. Also, many of the rules of have been changed to allow easier “day-of-the-week” counting and the addition of three days unnecessarily complicated counting when there was electronic service.

The opinions in this blog are solely the author’s and any comments, suggestions or replies can be sent to john@jrjoneslaw.com.