Sunday, March 23, 2014

Local Rules of Court - Obey or Die

It's an unpublished opinion from the Kentucky Court of Appeals, but there is no other case quite like it that I have found, so maybe it qualifies as a hint or suggestion how a similar case might be decided down the road. Gaines v. Nichols, No. 2011-CA-000413-MR.(Ky. App. December 6, 2011) involved the granting of a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute in disregard of the procedures contained in a local rule of court. Specifically, the local rules of court for the Jefferson County Circuit Court (30th Judicial Circuit), Rule 401,  gave the defendant 20 days to respond to a motion to dismiss and called for the submission of a form AOC-280, Notice of Submission of Case for Final Adjudication. The AOC-280 was not submitted and the court did not wait the 20 days before granting the dismissal.
The primary issues before us are whether JRP 401 may be enforced in the same manner as a Kentucky Rule of Civil Procedure and, if so, whether Gaines and Parker were availed of the rule's protection. First, our determination is that the Jefferson Rules of Practice are enforceable in the same manner as the Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure. The Jefferson Rules of Practice were approved by way of an order of the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court on July 11, 2006. Once local rules are duly approved, they have binding effect. SCR 1.040(3)(a).
 The Circuit Court's dismissal was reversed.

Kentucky has fifty-seven circuit court judicial districts and sixty district court judicial districts. Each of these one hundred seventeen judicial districts adopt their own respective local rules of procedure on a wide variety of matters.You don't need each and every one of them. You need the ones governing your favorite judicial playgrounds.

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