What’s New with the Practices and Procedures?

By  Judge Pamela B. Johnson

When the Court updated its Practices and Procedures in July 2016, you may have found yourself asking “what’s new?” or “what’s different?” Some changes were minimal and likely went unnoticed by most. For example, the phrase “pro se” was changed to “self-represented” for consistency. However, there were a few substantive changes as well. Below are the changes for which you should be aware.

As noted in a previous post, motion practice is on the upswing in our Court, and therefore we have found it necessary to refine or create rules as new situations arise. For example, with Rule 4.01 Dispositive Motions, we added the following: “The moving party shall provide any non-moving self-represented party with a copy of the rule or statute upon which the dispositive motion is based and shall further indicate any deadline and/or requirement to respond.” We have found this especially helpful when a self-represented party is facing summary judgment and needs guidance on how to properly respond.

We made another substantive change to Rule 8.05 Parties’ Signatures on Orders, adding in that, “Any order submitted to the Judge involving a self-represented party must be signed by the self-represented party. An attorney may not sign a self-represented party’s name ‘by permission.'”

The final noteworthy change was the addition of Rule 9.05 Venue, which states: “Absent special circumstances and good cause shown as determined by the Judge, settlements shall be presented to the Judge in the Bureau office closest to where the employee resides.” This is for the convenience of the employee.

Administrative rule changes STILL PENDING

In addition to knowing the Court’s Practices and Procedures, parties and counsel need to be familiar with the Bureau’s Mediation and Hearing Procedures. Stay tuned for upcoming changes to the Mediation and Hearing Procedures as well, which will likely take effect this fall. At the Bureau’s education conference and in a previous blog post, we discussed the upcoming changes. Our Court Clerk has received calls from counsel under the impression that the proposed changes have already taken effect. They have not; we’ll let you know ASAP when they do.

Knowing the rules will guide you through proper handling of your case.


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