CCL’s Valerie M. Nannery attended the meeting of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States (“Standing Committee”) in Phoenix, Arizona on January 7, 2016, where the Standing Committee discussed potential amendments to the rule governing class actions and proposed amendments to the time limit for appellate reply briefs. Nannery attended as an observer on behalf of the American Association for Justice. At the meeting, the chairs of each the advisory committees presented action items and information items for the Standing Committee to consider, including approval of the publication of proposed rule amendments for public comment.

Among the proposed rule amendments approved for publication are changes to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure that will lengthen the time to file a reply brief to 21 days, up from the current 14 days. This proposal was precipitated by the abrogation of the “three-day rule,” which currently gives appellants and cross-appellants an additional three days to file their reply briefs, making the effective time limit 17 days. Pending amendments to the Appellate Rules, which will go into effect December 1, 2016, unless the Supreme Court or Congress acts to stop it, abrogate the “three-day rule,” effectively reducing the amount of time to file a reply brief. The Standing Committee unanimously approved publication of proposed amendments to Rules 31 and 28.1 to allow 21 days for a reply brief to be filed.

The Civil Rules Advisory Committee received feedback from members of the Standing Committee on the current drafts of potential amendments to Civil Rule 23 regarding class actions. Much of the discussion focused on the current draft amendment intended to deal with objectors to class action settlements. The Civil Rules Advisory Committee will likely act on any proposed amendments at their next meeting in April, and will likely submit them to the Standing Committee in June for approval for publication for public comment. The Civil Rules Advisory Committee also received feedback from the Standing Committee on ideas for pilot projects and how to assess them.