I recently commented on how missing a deadline in litigation is one of the dumbest things a lawyer can do (here and here).... Well, now comes word that important changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will go into effect on December 1, 2009 (unless Congress stops them) that will affect the way time is calculated in federal court litigation.
In a nutshell, the changes seek to standardize how days are calculated by counting all days. If a deadline falls on a weekend day, a federal holiday, or a day when filing is impossible because the Clerk’s office is closed or inaccessible, then the deadline falls to the next available day. Deadlines shorter than 30 days have been changed to multiples of seven (7) days, so that more often than not, the deadline will fall on a weekday. The Rule that allowed for adding time for service by mail has been deleted.
The Drafting Committee has asked the district courts to revise their Local Rules accordingly, and to do so effective December 1. If it is not the rules will be a mess to deal with.
For PowerPoint presentations explaining the amended rules and their operation in court proceedings go to www.uscourts.gov/rules/presentations.html.
For more details on this story go to the Drug & Device Law Blog, which includes a list of the affected rules and other links.