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Chief Justice Order Amended Today

This evening Oregon Chief Justice Walters issued amended CJO 20-006.

In addition to continuing the Level 3 health restrictions already in place, the Chief Justice is seeking legislative authority to (1) extend or suspend timelines currently set by statute or rule, and that apply after the initiation of both criminal and civil cases; and (2) ensure the ability to appear in court by telephone or other remote means in most circumstances. If that authority is granted, a supplemental order will be issued.

With exceptions, proceedings and trials scheduled to begin earlier than June 1, 2020, are postponed, and no trials will be scheduled to begin before June 1, 2020.

The Chief Justice also ordered temporary suspension of collection fees and amended UTCR 21.090 and repealed UTCR 21.120. The net result of this change is to permit the use of electronic signatures by declarants if created with secure software.

Read the full press release here.

Filing Fees and Other News

Filing Fees, Courthouse Staffing, Courthouse Projects, and Legal Aid

The July 2 edition of Capitol Insider included this announcement regarding filing fees, which increase effective October 1, 2019:

Increase in Filing Fees – HB 3447 increases most civil filing fees by six percent. Examples include filing, motion, settlement conference, trial, document, and marriage solemnization fees. The increase in filing fees will go into effect on October 1, 2019. Almost $300,000 of the increase will be directed to the State Court Technology Fund this biennium with the remainder deposited into the state’s General Fund.

In addition, public bodies and local governments will contribute to eCourt funding via “case initiation fees” effective immediately. Other good news includes increased revenue allocation for Legal Aid, courthouse staffing, and courthouse projects.

Approved Changes to the UTCR Effective August 1

The latest changes to the Uniform Trial Court Rules are now available online. The updates address the Certificate of Document Preparation, streamlined civil jury cases, consumer debt collection cases, family law procedures, exhibits in juvenile cases, filing of the DMV record, extreme risk protection orders, notice of filing expedited matters, and statewide post-conviction relief (PCR) rules.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

 

 

Proposed 2019 UTCRs

Comments are due by February 22, 2019 on the latest round of proposed changes to the UTCRs. These include:

New UTCRs

Proposed New UTCR 5.010 – Consumer Debt Collection Cases

Applies to cases filed by debt buyers and debt collectors acting on their behalf. Requires inclusion of identifying information in the action title, the body of the initiating pleading, and a completed Consumer Debt Collection Disclosure Statement (CDCDS). Directs the court to issue a 30-day notice of dismissal if the plaintiff fails to provide a CDCDS. When seeking a default, requires plaintiff to include a declaration under penalty of perjury that the plaintiff has complied with certain pleading requirements. Note: a sample CDCDS form will be made available by the OJD on its website. See proposed form on pages 70-73 of the Notice Seeking Public Comment on Proposed Uniform Trial Court Rules Changes for 2019.

Proposed New UTCR 11.110 – Exhibits in Juvenile Cases

Cedes power to local courts for creating a process to submit exhibits in juvenile cases. If electronic filing is permitted by SLR or order of the presiding judge, requires maintenance of an exhibit log, eFiling in conformance with UTCR 21.040, and a timeline for submission. Also see proposed amendments to UTCR 6.050, 6.120, 21.020, and 21.070; 11.120 (new).

Proposed New Chapter 24 – PCR Cases

Creates statewide rules for post-conviction relief (PCR) cases; replaces current SLRs on post-conviction relief. The proposed UTCRs would address case initiation; the defendant’s motion, demurrer, or answer; scheduling in complex cases with appointed counsel; exhibits; additional motions, briefings, and exhibits; disclosure of witnesses; appearance at hearings and trial; continuances; presiding post-conviction judge; and trial scheduling.

Repealed UTCRs

Repealed UTCR 2.010(7) – Certificate of Document Preparation

Removes the certificate of document preparation, which indicates whether a
litigant received assistance in completing the document and whether they paid
for that assistance.

Amended UTCRs

Amended UTCR 2.010(9) – Foreign Language Exhibits

Requires a person submitting a foreign language exhibit to simultaneously submit an English translation with a declaration signed by the translator. Forbids court interpreters from translating or interpreting exhibits during the course of a proceeding; allows interpreters to interpret oral testimony regarding the content of an exhibit.

Amended UTCR 2.010(13) – Format of Case Citations

Changes the format for case name citations from underlined to italicized to align trial court citations with the citation format used in the appellate courts.

Amended UTCR 5.150 – Streamlined Trials (Formerly Expedited)

Implements improvements to time to trial, pretrial conferences, written discovery agreements, limitations on discovery, deadline for completion of discovery, discovery disputes, trial stipulations, and the related forms.

Amended UTCR 8.010 – Declaration in lieu of Affidavit

Allows the use of a declaration as an alternative to notarized affidavits for filings in
certain family law proceedings. Also see proposed amendments to UTCR 8.040.

Amended UTCR 8.090 – Certificates Re Child Support Proceedings, Orders, or Judgments

Requires certificate to be placed at the end of the motion or petition, immediately above the declaration line; adds new information to certificate. A model form containing the required information is available on the OJD website.

Amended 10.020 – DMV Record

Requires the DMV to electronically file the record when a final order of suspension is appealed to a circuit court; would allow each circuit court to adopt its own SLR describing how and in what form the DMV record must be submitted. Also see proposed deletion of UTCR 21.070(3)(k) removing DMV records from the list of documents that must be conventionally filed.

Amended 21.070(3) – Conventional Filing of ERPO Petitions

Adds extreme risk protection order (ERPO) petitions, and supporting affidavits, to the list of documents that must be conventionally filed.

Amended 21.070(5) – Allowing Local Courts to Adopt SLR Requiring Separate Notice of Expedited Filings

Allows local courts to adopt an SLR requiring that filers separately notify the court that an expedited filing has been submitted.

Amended 23.020 – Complex Litigation Cases

Removes the requirement that parties to a case assigned to the Oregon Complex
Litigation Court (OCLC) must share the cost of copying and providing the trial
court file to the assigned OCLC judge, but allows the OCLC judge to direct the
parties to provide copies of documents, in a manner the judge specifies.

Commenting on the Proposed UTCRs

Comments can be submitted online, via email, or by traditional mail.

Online
Go to the Notice Seeking Public Comment on Proposed Uniform Trial Court Rules Changes for 2019 and click on the button next to the item of interest.

Email
utcr@ojd.state.or.us.

Traditional mail
UTCR Reporter
Supreme Court Building
1163 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301-2563

To attend the spring meeting of the committee on March 8, 2019 contact the UTCR Reporter at utcr@ojd.state.or.us or Bruce C. Miller at 503-986-5500 to schedule a time for your appearance. Recommendations that are adopted by the Chief Justice will take effect August 1, 2019.

All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2019

 

Mastering Motions to Compel

Celia C. Elwell, the Researching Paralegal, recently pointed to an excellent article in the ABA Journal entitled “6 Keys to Acing Discovery.” The article focuses on preparing for and arguing motions to compel. Post author, Katherine A. Hopkins, cites the following as keys to success:

  1. Avoid canned briefs
  2. Research the court procedures
  3. Research the judge hearing your motion
  4. Research opposing counsel
  5. Make the judge’s life easy
  6. Finally, don’t be a jerk

Read the full article here.

Your first reaction may be: this sounds like a lot of work for a “simple” motion to compel. Perhaps it is. On the other hand, research is something you only need to do once. If you’re in a firm or have a network of fellow practitioners, it should be easy to make a few phone calls about an unfamiliar judge or opposing counsel.

Knowing the court procedures? You better know the court procedures! If it’s been a while or you are new to a particular judicial district in Oregon, start with the OJD Rules Center. Scroll the page to find UTCRs, SLRs, and “other rules,” including the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure. If you are a Multnomah County practitioner, the new updated 2018 Attorney Reference Manual is now available on the Multnomah Bar Association website. Get it toot sweet!

I can heartily vouch for the tips about making the judge’s life easy and not being a jerk. No one likes the latter. Don’t take the bait if the other side is contentious. Keep your cool and your reputation intact.

As for the judge, put yourself in his/her position. A straightforward, well-organized motion with clearly marked exhibits is a great start. Your argument should be the same.

All Rights Reserved 2018 Beverly Michaelis