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Your Cheat Sheet for Local Rule Motion Practice - Part One: Southern District of New York

By Wendy Schneider, Published on May 18, 2010

You know the Federal Rules backwards and forwards, but its compliance with the local rules that really makes a civil litigator look like a pro to colleagues and clients, and leaves the opposition in the dust. In this ongoing LLRX series, the editorial team of SmartRules will give you the tools to navigate motion practice in these busy federal courts with ease and grace. We've outlined the key provisions and highlighted the pitfalls. Here's what you really need to know about motion practice in the Southern District of New York.

Briefing Schedule--Is Your Motion Non-Discovery or Discovery?

In the Southern District of New York, non-discovery and discovery motions have different briefing schedules. For discovery motions, the time to file answering and reply papers is short: 7 days and 1 day, respectively. For non-discovery motions, the periods are longer, 14 days for answering papers, and 7 days for reply papers. E.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 6.1(a) & (b).

Calculating the Deadline--Days Are Days

Calculate periods using the same method as the new Federal Rules: days are days. E.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 6.4.

Include Supporting Memorandum

The Southern District requires all motions to be supported by briefing. The memorandum of law must be divided, "under appropriate headings, into as many parts as there are points to be determined." S.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 7.1(a).

Notice of Motion Must Provide Any Statutory Basis

This requirement of the Southern District Local Rules is unusual. For any motion based on rules or statutes, the notice of motion must set forth the statutory basis. S.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 7.2.

Hearings Must Be Requested

In the Southern District of New York hearings are held only when specifically ordered, or if required by rule or statute. If you desire oral argument, you must request a hearing in your motion papers. S.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 6.1(c).

No Page Limit on Briefs

While many jurisdictions set page limits, the Southern District does not, but it is always advisable to check your judge's standing orders. http://www1.nysd.uscourts.gov/judges.php.

Motion for Summary Judgment

Separate Statement Required

As required in many jurisdictions, a motion for summary judgment in the Southern District must include a separate statement with citations to admissible evidence. Each statement will be deemed admitted unless specifically controverted. S.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 56.1.

Include Notice to Pro Se Litigant, If Applicable

The Southern District is among the jurisdictions that requires a "Notice To Pro Se Litigant" if moving for summary judgment against an unrepresented party. S.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 56.2.

Rule 37 Motions

Moving Party Must Request Court Conference

An unusual requirement of the Southern District is that for Rule 37 motions the moving party must first request an informal conference with the Court. The motion cannot proceed unless the request was denied, or failed to resolve the discovery dispute. S.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 37.2.

Set Forth Verbatim Discovery in Dispute

As in many United States District Courts, for Rule 37 motions the moving party must set forth verbatim each discovery request and response in dispute and the grounds upon which the moving party is entitled to prevail. S.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 37.1.

Court's Order--Usually the Court's Memorandum or Oral Decision

In the Southern District, a memorandum signed by the court of the decision on a motion (that does not finally determine all claims for relief), or an oral decision, constitutes the court's order unless it directs the submission of an order in more extended form. S.D.N.Y. Civ. R. 6.2.

For more detailed information about motion practice in the Southern District of New York visit the New York Southern District SmartRules Guides.