Search The Library
(As proposed and commented on October, 1995)
Rule 9. Pleading Special Matters
* * * * *
(h) Admiralty and Maritime Claims. A pleading or count setting forth a claim for relief within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction that is also within the jurisdiction of the district court on some other ground may contain a statement identifying the claim as an admiralty or maritime claim for the purposes of Rules 14(c), 38(e), 82, and the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims. If the claim is cognizable only in admiralty, it is an admiralty or maritime claim for those purposes whether so identified or not. The amendment of a pleading to add or withdraw an identifying statement is governed by the principles of Rule 15. The reference in Title 28, U.S.C. 1292(a)(3), to admiralty cases shall be construed to mean admiralty and maritime claims within the meaning of this subdivision (h) A case that includes an admiralty or maritime claim within this subdivision is an admiralty case within 28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(3).
Section 1292(a)(3) of the Judicial Code provides for appeal from "[i]nterlocutory decrees of ... district courts ... determining the rights and liabilities of the parties to admiralty cases in which appeals from final decrees are allowed."
Rule 9(h) was added in 1966 with the unification of civil and admiralty procedure. Civil Rule 73(h) was amended at the same time to provide that the 1292(a)(3) reference "to admiralty cases shall be construed to mean admiralty and maritime claims within the meaning of Rule 9(h)." This provision was transferred to Rule 9(h) when the Appellate Rules were adopted.
A single case can include both admiralty or maritime claims and nonadmiralty claims or parties. This combination reveals an ambiguity in the statement in present Rule 9(h) that an admiralty "claim" is an admiralty "case." An order "determining the rights and liabilities of the parties" within the meaning of 1292(a)(3) may resolve only a nonadmiralty claim, or may simultaneously resolve interdependent admiralty and nonadmiralty claims. Can appeal be taken as to the nonadmiralty matter, because it is part of a case that includes an admiralty claim, or is appeal limited to the admiralty claim?
The courts of appeals have not achieved full uniformity in applying the 1292(a)(3) requirement that an order "determin[e] the rights and liabilities of the parties." It is common to assert that the statute should be construed narrowly, under the general policy that exceptions to the final judgment rule should be construed narrowly. This policy would suggest that the ambiguity should be resolved by limiting the interlocutory appeal right to orders that determine the rights and liabilities of the parties to an admiralty claim.
A broader view is chosen by this amendment for two reasons. The statute applies to admiralty "cases," and may itself provide for appeal from an order that disposes of a nonadmiralty claim that is joined in a single case with an admiralty claim. Although a rule of court may help to clarify and implement a statutory grant of jurisdiction, the line is not always clear between permissible implementation and impermissible withdrawal of jurisdiction. In addition, so long as an order truly disposes of the rights and liabilities of the parties within the meaning of 1292(a)(3), it may prove important to permit appeal as to the nonadmiralty claim. Disposition of the nonadmiralty claim, for example, may make it unnecessary to consider the admiralty claim and have the same effect on the case and parties as disposition of the admiralty claim. Or the admiralty and nonadmiralty claims may be interdependent. An illustration is provided by Roco Carriers, Ltd. v. M/V Nurnberg Express, 899 F.2d 1292 (2d Cir. 1990). Claims for losses of ocean shipments were made against two defendants, one subject to admiralty jurisdiction and the other not. Summary judgment was granted in favor of the admiralty defendant and against the nonadmiralty defendant. The nonadmiralty defendant's appeal was accepted, with the explanation that the determination of its liability was "integrally linked with the determination of non-liability" of the admiralty defendant, and that "section 1292(a)(3) is not limited to admiralty claims; instead, it refers to admiralty cases." 899 F.2d at 1297. The advantages of permitting appeal by the nonadmiralty defendant would be particularly clear if the plaintiff had appealed the summary judgment in favor of the admiralty defendant.
It must be emphasized that this amendment does not rest on any particular assumptions as to the meaning of the 1292(a)(3) provision that limits interlocutory appeal to orders that determine the rights and liabilities of the parties. It simply reflects the conclusion that so long as the case involves an admiralty claim and an order otherwise meets statutory requirements, the opportunity to appeal should not turn on the circumstance that the order does or does not dispose of an admiralty claim. No attempt is made to invoke the authority conferred by 28 U.S.C. 1292(e) to provide by rule for appeal of an interlocutory decision that is not otherwise provided for by other subsections of 1292.
Rule 26. General Provisions Governing Discovery; Duty of Disclosure
* * * * *
(c)(1) Protective Orders. Upon On motion by a party or by the person from whom discovery is sought, accompanied by a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with other affected parties in an effort to resolve the dispute without court action, and for good cause shown, the court in which where the action is pending or and alternatively, on matters relating to a deposition, also the court in the district where the deposition is to will be taken may, for good cause shown or on stipulation of the parties, make any order which that justice requires to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including one or more of the following:
(1A) that precluding the disclosure or discovery not be had;
(2B) that specifying conditions, including time and place, for the disclosure or discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions, including a designation of time or place;
(3C) that the discovery may be had only by prescribing a discovery method of discovery other than that selected by the party seeking discovery;
(4D) that excluding certain matters not be inquired into, or that limiting the scope of the disclosure or discovery be limited to certain matters;
(5E) designating the persons who may be 31 present while that the discovery is be conducted with no one present except persons designated by the court;
(6F) that a deposition, after being sealed, directing that a sealed deposition be opened only by order of the upon court order;
(7G) ordering that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be revealed or be revealed only in a designated way; or
(8H) directing that the parties simultaneously file specified documents or information enclosed in sealed envelopes, to be opened as directed by the court directs.
(2) If the a motion for a protective order is wholly or partly denied in whole or in part, the court may, on such just terms and conditions as are just, order that any party or other person provide or permit discovery or disclosure. The provisions of Rule 37(a)(4) applyies to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.
(3) (A) The court may modify or dissolve a protective order on motion made by a party, a person bound by the order, or a person who has been allowed to intervene to seek modification or dissolution. (B) In ruling on a motion to dissolve or modify a protective order, the court must consider, among other matters, the following:
(i) the extent of reliance on the order;
(ii) the public and private interests affected by the order, including any risk to public health or safety;
(iii) the movant's consent to submit to the terms of the order;
(iv) the reasons for entering the order, and any new information that bears on the order; and
(v) the burden that the order imposes on persons seeking information relevant to other litigation.
Subdivisions (1) and (2) are revised to conform to the style conventions adopted for simplifying the present rules. No change in meaning is intended by these style changes.
Subdivision (1) also is amended to confirm the common practice of entering a protective order on stipulation of the parties. Stipulated orders can provide a valuable means of facilitating discovery without frequent requests for action by the court, particularly in actions that involve intensive discovery. If a stipulated protective order thwarts important interests, relief may be sought by a motion to modify or dissolve the order under subdivision (3). Subdivision (1), as all of Rule 26(c), deals only with discovery protective orders. It does not address any other form of order that limits access to court proceedings or materials submitted to a court.
Subdivision (3) is added to the rule to dispel any doubt whether the power to enter a protective order includes power to modify or vacate the order. The power is made explicit, and includes orders entered by stipulation of the parties as well as orders entered after adversary contest. The power to modify or dissolve should be exercised after careful consideration of the conflicting policies that shape protective orders. Protective orders serve vitally important interests by ensuring that privacy is invaded by discovery only to the extent required by the needs of litigation. Protective orders entered by agreement of the parties also can serve the important need to facilitate discovery without requiring repeated court rulings. A blanket protective order may encourage the exchange of information that a court would not order produced, or would order produced only under a protective order. Parties who rely on protective orders in these circumstances should not risk automatic disclosure simply because the material was once produced in discovery and someone else might want it.
Modification of a protective order may be sought to increase the level of protection afforded as well as to reduce it. Among the grounds for increasing protection might be violation of the order, enhanced appreciation of the extent to which discovery threatens important interests in privacy, or the need of a nonparty to protect interests that the parties have not adequately protected. Modification or dissolution of a protective order does not, without more, ensure access to the once-protected information. If discovery responses have been filed with the court, access follows from a change of the protective order that permits access. If discovery responses remain in the possession of the parties, however, the absence of a protective order does not without more require that any party share the information with others.
Despite the important interests served by protective orders, concern has been expressed that protective orders can thwart other interests that also are important. Two interests have drawn special attention. One is the interest in public access to information that involves matters of public concern. Information about the conduct of government officials is frequently used to illustrate an area of public concern. The most commonly offered example focuses on information about dangerous products or situations that have caused injury and may continue to cause injury until the information is widely disseminated. The other interest involves the efficient conduct of related litigation, protecting adversaries of a common party from the need to engage in costly duplication of discovery efforts.
The first sentence of subparagraph (A) recognizes that a motion to modify or dissolve a protective order may be made by a party, a person bound by the order, or a person allowed to intervene for this purpose. A motion to intervene for this purpose need not meet the technical requirements of Rule 24. It is enough to show that the applicant has a sufficient interest to justify consideration of the motion. These provisions are supported by the practice that has developed through a long line of decisions.
Subparagraph (B) lists some of the matters that must be considered on a motion to dissolve or modify a protective order. The list is not all- inclusive; the factors that may enter the decision are too varied even to be foreseen.
The most important form of reliance on a protective order is the production of information that the court would not have ordered produced without the protective order. Often this reliance will take the form of producing information under a blanket protective order without raising the objection that the information is not subject to disclosure or discovery. The information may be protected by privilege or work-product doctrine, the outer limits of Rule 26(b)(1), or other rules. Reliance also may take other forms, including the court's own reliance on a protective order less sweeping than an order that flatly prohibits discovery. If the court would not have ordered discovery over proper objection, it should not later defeat protection of information that need not have been produced at all. Reliance also deserves consideration in other settings, but a finding that information is properly discoverable directs attention to the question of the terms if any on which protection should continue.
The public and private interests affected by a protective order include all of the myriad interests that weigh both for and against discovery. The question whether to modify or dissolve a protective order is, apart from the question of reliance, much the same as the initial determination whether there is good cause to enter the order. An almost infinite variety of interests must be weighed. The public and private interests in defeating protection may be great or small, as may be the interests in preserving protection. Special attention must be paid to a claim that protection creates a risk to public health or safety. If a protective order actually thwarts publication of information that might help protect against injury to person or property, only the most compelling reasons, if any, could justify protection. Claims of commercial disadvantage should be examined with particular care, and mere commercial embarrassment deserves little concern. On the other hand, it is proper to demand a realistic showing that there is a need for disclosure of protected information. Often there is full opportunity to publicize a risk without access to protected discovery information. Paradoxically, the cases that pose the most realistic public risk also may be the cases that involve the greatest interests in privacy, such as a yet-to-be- proved claim that a party is infected with a communicable disease.
Consent to submit to the terms of a protective order may provide strong reason to modify the order. Submission to the terms of the order should include submission to the jurisdiction of the court to enforce the order. This factor will often overlap the fifth enumerated factor that considers the interests of persons seeking information relevant to other litigation. Submission to the protective order, however, does not establish an automatic right to modification. It may be better to leave to the court entertaining related litigation the question whether information is discoverable at all, the balance between the needs for discovery and for privacy, and the terms of protection that may reconcile these competing needs. These issues often are highly case-specific, and the court that entered the protective order may not be in a good position to address them.
Submission to the protective order and the court's enforcement jurisdiction also may justify disclosure to a state or federal agency. A public agency that has regulatory or enforcement jurisdiction often can compel production of the protected information by other means. The test of modification, however, does not turn on a determination whether the agency could compel production. Rather than provoke satellite litigation of this question, protection is provided by requiring the agency to submit to the protective order and the court's enforcement jurisdiction. If there is substantial doubt whether the agency's submission is binding, the court may deny disclosure. One obvious source of doubt would be a freedom of information act that does not clearly exempt information uncovered by this process.
The role of the court in considering the reasons for entering the protective order is affected by the distinction between contested and stipulated orders. If the order was entered on stipulation of the parties, the motion to modify or dissolve requires the court to consider the reasons for protection for the first time. All of the information that bears on the order is new to the court and must be considered. If the order was entered after argument, however, the court may justifiably focus attention on information that was not considered in entering the order initially.
A protective order does not of itself defeat discovery of the protected information by independent discovery demands made in independent litigation on the person who produced the information. The question of protection must be resolved independently in each action. At the same time, it may be more efficient to reap the fruits of discovery already under way or completed without undertaking duplicating discovery. The closer the factual relationships between separate actions or potential actions, the greater the reasons for modifying a protective order to allow disclosure by the most efficient means.
Assessment of the need for disclosure in support of related litigation may require joint action by two courts. The court that entered the protective order can determine most easily the circumstances that justified the order and the extent of justifiable reliance on the order. The court where related litigation is pending can determine most easily the importance of the information in that litigation, and often can determine most accurately the balance between the interest in disclosure and the interest in nondisclosure or further protection. The rule does not attempt to prescribe procedures for cooperative action.
Special questions arise from the prospect of multiple related actions brought at different times and in different courts. Great inefficiencies can be avoided by establishing means of sharing information. Informal means are frequently found by counsel, and occasional efforts are made at establishing more formal means even outside the framework of consolidated proceedings. There is not yet sufficient experience to support adoption of formal rules establishing and regulating the terms of access to litigation support libraries, document depositories, depositions taken once for many actions, or similar devices. To the extent that consolidation devices may not prove equal to the task, however, these questions will deserve attention in the future.
Rule 26(c)(3) applies only to the dissolution or modification of protective orders entered by the court under subdivision (c)(1). It does not govern orders that control access to material submitted to the court by motion, at a hearing, at trial, or otherwise. It does not address private agreements entered into by litigants that are not submitted to the court for its approval. Nor does Rule 26(c)(3) apply to motions seeking to vacate or modify final judgments that occasionally contain restrictions on the disclosure of specified information. Rules 59 and 60 govern such motions.
Rule 47. Selecting Selection of Jurors
(a) Examination of Examining Jurors. The court may shall permit the parties or their attorneys to conduct the voir dire examination of prospective jurors or may itself conduct the examination. But the court shall also permit FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE the parties to orally examine the prospective jurors to supplement the court's examination within reasonable limits of time, manner, and subject matter, as the court determines in its discretion. The court may terminate examination by a person who violates those limits, or for other good cause. In the latter event, the court shall permit the parties or their attorneys to supplement the examination by such further inquiry as it deems proper or shall itself submit to the prospective jurors such additional questions of the parties or their attorneys as it deems proper. * * * * *
Rule 47(a) in its original and present form permits the court to exclude the parties from direct examination of prospective jurors. Although a recent survey shows that a majority of district judges permit party participation, the power to exclude is often exercised. See Shapard & Johnson, Survey Concerning Voir Dire (Federal Judicial Center 1994). Courts that exclude the parties from direct examination express two concerns. One is that direct participation by the parties extends the time required to select a jury. The second is that counsel frequently seek to use voir dire not as a means of securing an impartial jury but as the first stage of adversary strategy, attempting to establish rapport with prospective jurors and influence their views of the case.
The concerns that led many courts to undertake all direct examination of prospective jurors have earned deference by long tradition and widespread adherence. At the same time, the number of federal judges that permit party participation has grown considerably in recent years. The Federal Judicial Center survey shows that the total time devoted to jury selection is virtually the same regardless of the choice made in allocating responsibility between court and counsel. It also shows that judges who permit party participation have found little difficulty in controlling potential misuses of voir dire. This experience demonstrates that the problems that have been perceived in some state-court systems of party participation can be avoided by making clear the discretionary power of the district court to control the behavior of the party or counsel. The ability to enable party participation at low cost is of itself strong reason to permit party participation. The parties are thoroughly familiar with the case by the start of trial. They are in the best position to know the juror information that bears on challenges for cause and peremptory challenges, and to elicit it by jury questioning.
In addition, the opportunity to participate provides an appearance and reassurance of fairness that has value in itself.
The strong direct case for permitting party participation is further supported by the emergence of constitutional limits that circumscribe the use of peremptory challenges in both civil and criminal cases. The controlling decisions begin with Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986) and continue through J.E.B. v. Alabama ex rel. T.B., 114 S.Ct. 1419 (1994). See also Purkett v. Elem, 115 S.Ct. 1769 (1995). Prospective jurors "have the right not to be excluded summarily because of discriminatory and stereotypical presumptions that reflect and reinforce patterns of historical discrimination." J.E.B., 114 S.Ct. at 1428. These limits enhance the importance of searching voir dire examination to preserve the value of peremptory challenges and buttress the role of challenges for cause. When a peremptory challenge against a member of a protected group is attacked, it can be difficult to distinguish between group stereotypes and intuitive reactions to individual members of the group as individuals. A stereotype-free explanation can be advanced with more force as the level of direct information provided by voir dire increases. As peremptory challenges become less peremptory, moreover, it is increasingly important to ensure that voir dire examination be as effective as possible in supporting challenges for cause.
Fair opportunities to exercise peremptory and for-cause challenges in this new setting require the assurance that the parties can supplement the court's examination of prospective jurors by direct questioning. The importance of party participation in voir dire has been stressed by trial lawyers for many years. They believe that just as discovery and other aspects of pretrial preparation and trial, voir dire is better accomplished through the adversary process. The lawyers know the case better than the judge can, and are better able to frame questions that will support challenges for cause or informed use of peremptory challenges. Many also believe that prospective jurors are intimidated by judges, and are more likely to admit potential bias or prejudgment under questioning by the parties.
Party examination need not mean prolonged voir dire, nor subtle or brazen efforts to argue the case before trial. The court can undertake the initial examination of prospective jurors, restricting the parties to supplemental questioning controlled by direct time limits. Effective control can be exercised by the court in setting reasonable limits on the manner and subject-matter of the examination. Lawyers will not be allowed to advance arguments in the guise of questions, to seek committed responses to hypothetical descriptions of the case, to assert propositions of law, to intimidate or ingratiate, or otherwise to turn the opportunity to seek information about prospective jurors into improper adversary strategies. The district court has ample power to control the time, manner, and subject matter of party examination. The process of determining the limits continues throughout the course of each party's examination, and includes the power to terminate further examination by a person that has misused or abused the right of examination. Among other grounds, termination may be warranted not only by conduct that may impair the trial jury's impartiality but also by questioning that is repetitious, confusing, or prolonged, or that threatens inappropriate invasion of the prospective jurors' privacy. The determination to set limits or to terminate examination is confided to the broad discretion of the district court. Only a clear abuse of this discretion usually in conjunction with a clearly inadequate examination by the court could justify reversal of an otherwise proper jury verdict.
The voir dire process can be further enhanced by use of jury questionnaires to elicit routine information before voir dire begins. Questionnaires can save much time, and may improve in many ways the development of important information about prospective jurors. Potential jurors are protected against the embarrassment of public examination. A prospective juror may be more willing to reveal potentially embarrassing information in responding to a questionnaire than in answering a question in open court. Written answers to a questionnaire also may avoid the risk that answers given in the presence of other prospective jurors may contaminate a large group.
Questionnaires are not required by Rule 47(a), but should be seriously considered. At the same time, it is important to guard against the temptation to extend questionnaires beyond the limits needed to support challenges for cause and fair use of peremptory challenges. Just as voir dire examination, questionnaires can be used in an attempt to select a favorable jury, not an impartial one. Prospective jurors must be protected against unwarranted invasions of privacy; the duty of jury service does not support casual inquiry into such matters as religious preferences, political views, or reading, recreational, and television habits. Indeed the list of topics that might be of interest to a party bent on manipulating the selection of a favorable jury through the use of sophisticated social-science profiles and personality evaluations is virtually endless. Selection of an impartial jury requires suppression of such inquiries, not encouragement. The court's guide must be the needs of impartiality, not party advantage.
Rule 48. Number of Jurors Participation in Verdict
The court shall seat a jury of not fewer than six and not more than twelve members. and aAll jurors shall participate in the verdict unless excused from service by the court pursuant to under Rule 47(c). Unless the parties otherwise stipulate otherwise, (1) the verdict shall be unanimous, and (2) no verdict shall may be taken from a jury reduced in size to of fewer than six members.
Rule 48 was amended in 1991 to reflect the conclusion that it had been "rendered obsolete by the adoption in many districts of local rules establishing six as the standard size for a civil jury." Six-person jury local rules were upheld by the Supreme Court in Colgrove v. Battin, 413 U.S. 149 (1973). The Court concluded that the Seventh Amendment permits six-person juries, and that the local rules were not inconsistent with Rule 48 as it then stood.
Rule 48 is now amended to restore the core of the twelve- member body that has constituted the definition of a civil jury for centuries. Local rules setting smaller jury sizes are invalid because inconsistent with Rule 48.
The rulings that the Seventh Amendment permits six-member juries, and that former Rule 48 permitted local rules establishing six-member juries, do not speak to the question whether six-member juries are desirable. Much has been learned since 1973 about the advantages of twelve-member juries. Twelve-member juries substantially increase the representative quality of most juries, greatly improving the probability that most juries will include members of minority groups. The sociological and psychological dynamics of jury deliberation also are strongly influenced by jury size. Members of a twelve-person jury are less easily dominated by an aggressive juror, better able to recall the evidence, more likely to rise above the biases and prejudices of individual members, and enriched by a broader base of community experience. The wisdom enshrined in the twelve-member tradition is increasingly demonstrated by contemporary social science.
Although the core of the twelve-member jury is restored, the other effects of the 1991 amendments remain unchanged. Alternate jurors are not provided. The jury includes twelve members at the beginning of trial, but may be reduced to fewer members if some are excused under Rule 47(c). A jury may be reduced to fewer than six members, however, only if the parties stipulate to a lower number before the verdict is returned.
Careful management of jury arrays can help reduce the incremental costs associated with the return to twelve-member juries.
Brought to you by - The 'Lectric Law Library
The Net's Finest Legal Resource For Legal Pros & Laypeople Alike.