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Rule Changes: 11th Cir. Hikes Fees, Adopts Fed. Changes, and More

By William Peacock, Esq. on December 06, 2013 2:57 PM

Did you wonder how that whole shutdown nonsense was going to affect you? If you guessed "fee hikes," you get a cookie. Well, not really, those aren't in the budget. But you do get to pay more for filing a case in the Eleventh Circuit, unless, of course, you work for a government agency.

(Government causes shut down. Government gets free cases. Private citizens pay the tab. God Bless 'Merica.)

And if you were just settling in to Eleventh Circuit practices, procedures, and rules, we have more bad news: the rules just changed, both locally and federal system-wide.

Mo Money

After the federal court system survived on fumes and fees during the shutdown, we probably should've seen this coming. Starting this month, the fee for docketing appeals, reviews, or any other procedure is bumped from $450 to $500.

If you need court records, prepare for the real pain. Instead of a flat fee of $53, the charge is now $64 for the first box -- and $39 for any additional boxes. And finally, because nobody uses checks anymore, instead of charging $53 for a bounced check, the fee applies to any failed payment due to insufficient funds.

Local Rule Changes: Speak Now or ...

The amendments to the local rules can be summed up in two categories: clarifications and rules that were changed because of federal system-wide changes.

The Eleventh Circuit has been kind enough to provide a chart of some of the wholly-local proposed changes, which are almost all clarifications to the Electronic Case Filing procedures. (Apparently, even with electronic filing, you're still required to file paper copies of briefs and petitions for rehearing and en banc consideration. And if you're exempt from using ECF, then no, you aren't actually required to "upload" your brief to the court's website.)

Also, interestingly enough, the court amended R. 22-4(a)(7) to state that when a certificate of appealability is issued in a capital case, the panel "may" grant a stay to prevent the case from becoming moot, which may be the nicest way ever of saying, "we'll hold the execution for a few weeks so that you don't die before we hear your case."

Federal Changes Trickle Down

As for the remainder of the changes, they mostly come from the system-wide amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Those changes include merging the statement of the case and the statement of facts into a single section (bravo!). There are also a few clarifications on tax court procedures, including cleaning up some language that implied that the tax court was an executive administrative agency (whoops!).

And finally, if someone is applying to proceed in forma pauperis, the form has been slightly tweaked.

If you're a federal court regular, we'd recommend checking out the redlined text of the rule changes, and if you have any comments or concerns about the rule changes, they are to be sent, via snail mail, by January 3, 2014, to:

John Ley
Clerk of the Court
56 Forsyth Street, NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

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