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

Changes Coming to Oregon eCourt

Two important changes are coming to Oregon eCourt beginning Monday, November 16:

Documents Submitted for Signature by the Court

Beginning November 16, 2015 all circuit courts using the eCourt system will electronically affix the name and title of the individual signing a document below the signature line.

All documents submitted to the court for signature must comply with UTCR 21.040(3):

  • Leave a blank space of not less than 1.5 inches.
  • Create a blank signature line following the last line of text.
  • Do not include a title or name underneath the line.  Specifically, do not add “Circuit Court Judge.”
  • Update your pleading templates to conform to the rule.
  • Follow this example:

10-23-2015 8-39-29 AM

Direct questions to: Daniel Parr, OJD Communication and Outreach Manager at daniel.parr@ojd.state.or.us.

Expansion of Electronic Notifications – Case Management System to Generate Notices of Orders Entered

Beginning Monday, November 16, 2015 all circuit courts using the eCourt system will notify attorneys by email when orders are entered on their cases.

This is a long-awaited improvement to the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) case management system.  Here are the details shared by OJD:

How does it work?

When the court enters an order in the register of actions, the case management system will generate and email a notice to all attorneys on the case. The email will be sent to the email address where the attorney already receives notices of hearings and trials.

What do I need to do?

No action is required. If you are receiving notifications when hearings and trials are set then beginning November 16, 2015 you will start receiving notices regarding entry of orders. The system will send the email from Court_Notification@ojd.state.or.us. Make sure this email address is whitelisted in your email settings. If you need notifications to be directed to others within your office look into the option of auto-forwarding through your email provider.

Does the email include the signed order?

No, the email will only include a basic court notice form telling you the case number and what order was signed, based on how the order is entered in the register of actions (such as Order – Show Cause). To access the signed order, you will need to either access the case through the Oregon eCourt Case Information (OECI) system over the internet through an online subscription or otherwise go to the courthouse and access the case through a court terminal. More information about subscription services to OECI can be found here.

Will I be notified when other documents are entered into the system?

Not at this time. On November 16 attorneys will only be notified when orders are entered. OJD is evaluating expanding the capacity for similar notifications in the future.

Provided courtesy of Daniel Parr, OJD Communication and Outreach Manager

 

Oregon Civil Procedure – Amendments Coming to UTCR 5.100

Out-of-cycle amendments are coming to UTCR 5.100, which governs submission of proposed orders and judgments.  The amendments will affect conventional filers and eFilers, but are designed to address the following concerns raised by judges who sign proposed orders and judgments using the new eCourt system:

  • It is difficult, if not impossible, to know whether proposed orders or judgments are ready for judicial signature;
  • A sufficient and uniform time period to object to proposed orders or judgments is presently lacking;
  • Opposing parties need clear instructions on how to object to proposed orders or judgments; and
  • Protocols are necessary to ensure that parties work to resolve objections before submitting disputed orders and judgments.

For clarity, the proposal to amend UTCR 5.100 breaks the rule up into three parts:

Service

“As amended, the service component … requires service on the opposing party, and an opportunity for objection, as to any proposed order or judgment unless an exception applies. The rule is no longer limited to only those proposed orders and judgments submitted “in response to a ruling of the court.” The purpose of the updated wording is to ensure that the opposing party has a reasonable opportunity to object. The service component also sets out specific notice requirements and lengthens the time between service and submission.”  Read more here.

Objection

The objection component is new and requires service of a written, dated, and signed objection within 7 days of the date that the proposed order or judgment was sent to the opposing party.  If an objection is served by the opposing party, the drafting party must make a reasonable effort to resolve the objection before submitting the proposed order or judgment to the court. However, opposing parties are also permitted to file objections directly with the court.

Practice Tip:  Opposing parties who file an objection directly with the court are required to include in the caption “Objection to Proposed [Order/Judgment]” and must describe the nature of the proposed order or judgment.  If the opposing party requests oral argument, the request must be stated in the caption.

More details are available here.

Submission

The submission component:

  • Retains the Certificate of Service requirement
  • Adds a “Certificate of Readiness” requirement
  • Clarifies that a proposed order or judgment may be submitted sooner than the 7-day period for objection, if:
    • the opposing party has stipulated to or approved the order or judgment, or
    • the opposing party has objected and the objections are resolved or ready for resolution.

The “Certificate of Readiness” certifies that the proposed order or judgment is ready for judicial signature or that objections are ready for resolution, and provides the “readiness” reason.  It will eliminate the need for judges to access multiple documents in the eCourt system to ensure that a proposed order or judgment is ready for signature.

Practice Tip:  UTCR 5.100(3)(c) sets out the language to be used in a “Certificate of Readiness.”  Filers are required to use substantially the same form.  When the rule is adopted, maximize efficiency by copying and pasting the “Certificate of Readiness” language into a template that you can re-use each time you submit a proposed Order or Judgment.

Read more here.

This is the second go-around in the proposed amendment process for UTCR 5.100.  Public comment on proposed revisions will be accepted until August 17.  Since the intention is to amend the rule out-of-cycle, expect an effective date around or before September 1.

[All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2015]