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Recent Amendments to the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure

On May 7, 2015, the Alabama Supreme Court issued orders adopting amendments to the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure.  The amendments can be accessed on the Court’s website at http://judicial.alabama.gov/rules/Rules.cfm.  The following is a summary of each amendment.

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Rule 3.  Appeal as of right–how taken.

Rule 3 was amended on February 1, 1994, to add what was the last sentence of paragraph (d)(1), which read:   “In civil cases, the appellant shall serve a copy of the notice of appeal on each adverse party, but the copy need not contain the clerk’s filing notations.”  The 1994 amendment added this sentence at the end of the subdivision.  The purpose of this notice provision is to prevent the 14-day cross appeal period from running before the adverse party or parties learn of the filing of a notice of appeal.  The current amendment moves that sentence to the beginning of the subdivision and in a separate paragraph for greater emphasis.  The amendment is effective August 1, 2015.

Rule 11.  Completion and transmission of the record.

It is the appellant’s responsibility to see that the record on appeal is prepared and filed in a timely manner.  The appellant should be advised when the trial court clerk obtains an extension of time for completing and filing the clerk’s record. Rule 11(c) was amended to add the requirement that the trial court clerk notify the parties to the appeal of any extension of time for completion of the record.  The amendment is effective August 1, 2015.

Rule 21.  Writs of mandamus.

Rule 21(a)(1)(E) was amended to require a separate appendix filed with all petitions for a writ of mandamus or prohibition.  The purpose of the appendix is to permit the parties to prepare and transmit copies of those portions of the record deemed necessary to an understanding of the issues presented.  A Committee Comment suggests that the documents in the appendix be separated into volumes of no more than 200 pages.  The appendix should include an index to the documents contained in the appendix and should be divided to identify and assist in locating a specific document.  The hard copy of any appendix and documents should be divided with tabs.  In lieu of tabs, any appendix filed electronically should be demarcated by cover sheets that identify the particular document that follows (e.g., “Exhibit __” or “Tab __”).  The amendment is effective August 1, 2015.

Rule 22.  Appeals in habeas corpus.

Rule 22, which deals with filing writs for habeas corpus, referenced an out-of-date statute that had been repealed.  The amendment to the Rule corrects this and references the current statute.  The amendment is effective August 1, 2015.

Rule 28.  Briefs.

Rule 28 (a)(5) has been amended to require that the appellant’s brief in civil cases cite all adverse rulings from which the appeal is taken and include references to the record on appeal where those adverse rulings can be found.  The amendment is effective August 1, 2015.

Rule 29.  Briefs of an amicus curiae.

Rule 29 was amended to prohibit filing a reply brief by an amicus curiae. The Rule was also amended to provide subdivisions and otherwise track the Federal Appellate Rules.  The amendment is effective immediately.

Rule 32.  Form and length of briefs, petitions, motions, and other papers; noncompliance.

Rule 32(a)(7), font and type style, was amended to emphasize that the typeface of any footnotes contained within documents or briefs filed in an appellate court must be in Courier New 13.  The amendment is effective August 1, 2015.

Rule 39.  Petitions for writ of certiorari – Review of decisions of courts of appeal.

Although Rule 39(d)(2) provides that a petition for writ of certiorari is to include the date any application for rehearing was filed and the date of any order on rehearing, the amendment to Rule 39(d)(4) requires that a copy of the court of civil appeals’ order or notice on the application for rehearing be attached to the petition as an exhibit.  A copy of the court of appeals’ order or notice is needed because the Supreme Court does not have the record before it for its preliminary review of the petition for writ of certiorari.  The amendment is effective August 1, 2015.

Rule 40.  Applications for rehearing.

Rule 40(f) has been amended to include the page limits for briefs filed in opposition to an application for rehearing and to explicitly set out the contents of such a brief.  Any brief in opposition to the application for rehearing shall not exceed 15 pages.  The brief in opposition shall contain a table of contents, a table of authorities, a summary of the argument, an argument and conclusion, and a certificate of service.  Rule 40(f) was previously silent as to these matters.  A sentence has also been added indicating that no reply brief to a brief in opposition to an application for rehearing is permitted.  The amendment is effective August 1, 2015.

Rule 57.  Interim electronic filing and service rule.

Rule 57(j) deals with the assembly and transmission of the e-record by the trial court clerk.  The amendment emphasizes that the electronic file stamp shall not be covered or rendered illegible.  The amendment is effective August 1, 2015.

Taylor & Taylor is one of the best law firms for civil appellate practice in Alabama.   Additional information is available at http://www.taylorlawyers.com.

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