Posted: June 25, 2015
Rules of Civil Procedure
URCP 006. Time. Amend. Corrects references to amended rules 50 and 60.
URCP 011. Signing of pleadings, motions, affidavits, and other papers; representations to court; sanctions. Amend. Recognizes the requirements of rule 5(f) for a notarized, verified or acknowledged signature.
URCP 050. Judgment as a matter of law in a jury trial; related motion for a new trial; conditional ruling. Amend. Adopts many of the provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50. Changes the name from “directed verdict” to “judgment as a matter of law.” Eliminates the requirement that the motion be renewed at the close of all evidence. Extends to 28 days after the judgment the time in which to renew the motion for judgment as a matter of law. Describes the effect of trial court rulings reversed on appeal.
URCP 052. Findings and conclusions by the court; amended findings; waiver of findings and conclusions; correction of the record; judgment on partial findings. Amend. Adopts many of the provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52. Provides for judgment on partial findings, which will replace an equivalent provision in rule 41(b). Extends to 28 days after the judgment the time in which to file a motion to amend or make additional filings.
URCP 059. New trial; altering or amending a judgment. Amend. Adopts many of the provisions of Federal Rule of Civl Procedure 59. Extends to 28 days after the judgment the time in which to file a motion for new trial or a motion to amend or alter the judgment. Allows the court to grant, after notice and an opportunity to be heard, a motion for a new trial for a reason not stated in the motion.
URCP 060. Relief from judgment or order. Amend. Style changes intended to simplify and clarify the rule.
URCP 063. Disability or disqualification of a judge. Amend. Allows a second or subsequent motion to disqualify a judge if the motion is based on grounds that the party did not know of or could not have known at the time of the earlier motion. Requires a request to submit for decision with the motion. Expressly prohibits a response from another party.
The proposed amendment to URCP 63(a) uses the plural pronoun “their” when referring to a single judge. This is grammatically incorrect. The word “their” should be replaced with either “his” or “her.”
Line 50: Will changing the reference from 60(b) to (c) confuse people? I know 60(c) is the reference to the time for filing a motion under 60(b), but a lot of people know what a 60(b) motion is so well that they don’t even look up the reference anymore. Perhaps it should be changed to “60(b)-(c)” to avoid confusion?
Line 10: I know that the federal rule says “the court finds,” but if I’m not mistaken, the legal sufficiency of the evidence is a conclusion of law rather than a finding of fact. Should the word “finds” be replaced by “concludes”?
Line 54: Consider changing “not later than” to “no later than”. See Garner, Guidelines for Drafting and Editing Court Rules, 4.6, at 33 (recommending “no later than” in place of “not later than”).
Line 7: Consider adding the sentence “Judgment must be entered separately under Rule 58A.” to the end of (a)(1). This reinforces the separate document requirement.
Lines 22-24: Does the statement of reasons need to be in writing, or can it be made orally on the record?
Line 25: Consider changing “not later than” to “no later than”. See Garner, Guidelines for Drafting and Editing Court Rules, 4.6, at 33 (recommending “no later than” in place of “not later than”).
Line 14: Consider changing “surprise, which ordinary prudence” to “surprise that ordinary prudence”, as “ordinary prudence could not have guarded against” restricts the type of surprise that qualifies under the rule. See Garner, Guidelines for Drafting and Editing Court Rules, 4.3.A, at 30-31 (“Use that, not which, as a restrictive relative pronoun.”).
Line 15: Consider changing “evidence, which could not,” to “evidence that could not,” for the reason explained above in Line 14.
Line 17: Consider changing “damages, appearing” to “damages that appear” as it is a more standard language for setting off a restrictive modifying clause. Alternatively, consider deleting the comma between “damages” and “appearing”, as restrictive clauses are not set off by commas.
Line 19: Consider deleting the comma between “decision” and “or”, as “or that the verdict or decision is against law” is not an independent clause.
Line 25: Consider changing “affidavit or declaration” to “one or more affidavits or declarations” to match the wording used on Line 26. (The words “one or more” is included merely to resolve any concerns about the plural construction being interpreted to require multiple affidavits. If that is not a concern, feel free to omit “one or more” from the clause.)
Line 23: Consider changing “The motion must be filed” with “A motion under Rule 60(b) must be filed”. Otherwise, it may raise questions as to whether (c) applies to a motion under 60(a).
Lines 2-3: “their” is plural, while its referent, “the judge,” is singular. Consider changing “their” to “his or her”
Line 31: Consider changing “may take no further action” to “must take no further action” or “must not take any further action.” See Garner, Guidelines for Drafting and Editing Court Rules, 4.2.E, at 30 (“Change may not to must not or cannot.”).