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Attorney FAQ

How does the court accept Motions for PHV admission?

  1. In hard copy form (with an ORIGINAL INK signature), attached with the fee and a Certificate of Good Standing (less than six months old) from another federal court where the attorney is admitted to practice, OR
  2. The attorney may E-file the Motion for PHV (with the certificate of good standing attached) and send the fee via Overnight mail with a copy of the E-Filed Motion for PHV.

What are the costs for filing?

Click here to view our current fee schedule.

Are there any requirements about designating certain types of cases, requests or motions in the caption of a pleading?

“DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY” must be marked on the front page of any pleading which requests a jury trial.

Where should pleadings be filed?

Pleadings are either electronically filed or can be filed conventionally. We take pleadings over the counter in the Clerk's Office in the Federal Courthouse at One Church Street.

How can I file conventionally after the Clerk's office has closed?

After 5:00 p.m., and before 7:30 a.m., pleadings can be accepted at the black drop box, located in front of the new building on Church Street. Pleadings are also accepted by mail, but they will not be time/date-stamped until the documents are received by the Clerk's Office.

How do I get the forms to consent to a Magistrate Judge handling a case and entering final judgment if I've lost the form?

Click here to view these forms.

Does the Court receive pleadings by fax?

The court does not take pleadings by fax. You may file electronically or conventionally. Only in very rare circumstances do we accept fax pleadings and before that is approved one must speak either with the Clerk or the Chief Deputy Clerk to get permission to do so. See Local Rule 5.4

How are lawyers signing any paper filed with the Clerk required to identify themselves to the Court?

FRCP Rule 11(a) requires that the paper state the signer's address and phone number. M.D. Ala LR 11.1 further requires that each attorney signing any paper filed with the Clerk must place one of the following identification numbers under his/her signature line: (1) the SJIS (State Judicial Information System) Six-Digit Attorney Code maintained by the State's Administrative Office of Courts; (2) either the attorney number assigned by their state's unified bar or, if not a member of a unified bar, the registration number assigned by the highest court in their jurisdiction of admission; (3) if an attorney has not been otherwise assigned a number, the attorney should use the last four digits of his/her SSAN (Social Security Account Number). Although not presently required by any rule, it is helpful if the attorney also includes his/her fax number and E-mail address.

Must I respond to discovery served less than 30 days before the discovery cut-off?

Guidelines to Civil Discovery in the Middle District of Alabama state that requests for discovery should be filed more than 30 days prior to the end of the discovery cut-off. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or the local rules it is never appropriate to fail to respond to discovery requests in some proper manner. See e.g., Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 33(b)(1)(For interrogatories requiring answer or objections supported with reasons). If a discovery request is filed untimely, it is always appropriate to file objections on that basis.

If I have a question about a case, may I speak with the Clerk of Court?

Yes, but typically, questions can be answered by a courtroom deputy or docket clerk. When you call with a question, it is best that you are prepared with your case number so that you can be directed to the civil or criminal docket clerk who is most familiar with your case.

What are the witness fees for a court hearing, trial, or deposition?

Click here to view our current fee schedule

After a case is filed when can the parties begin discovery?

See- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 26(d).

Who goes first for taking depositions?

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 26(d) provides that "methods of discovery may be used in any sequence, and the fact that a party is conducting discovery . . . shall not operate to delay any other party’s discovery." Of course, the judges of this court expect counsel to cooperate in conducting discovery with a spirit of ordinary civil courtesy and honesty. See The Standards for Professional Conduct.

Why does the Rule 16 Scheduling Order establish a dispositive motion deadline before the end of the period allowed for discovery?

Litigants before the Court are entitled to careful consideration of the issues by the Court. In order to give non-movants a reasonable time to respond and movants time to reply, final submission is approximately a month after the dispositive motion is filed. The Court must have sufficient time to fully and properly consider issues raised on a motion for summary judgment. The deadlines established in the Court’s scheduling order insure achievement of these purposes. The judges try to resolve summary judgment motions in advance of pretrial hearings. Neither moving the summary judgment deadline to the cutoff of discovery nor cutting off discovery at the earlier summary judgment deadline would be appropriate. Any attorney viewing a case as one appropriate for summary judgment should schedule discovery to allow the deadline to be met. Setting the dispositive motion deadline prior to the end of discovery also recognizes the realities of litigation. Often factual issues which should be developed for trial are not necessary for resolution of summary judgment issues. If summary judgment is denied, a discovery cut-off after the time for filing dispositive motions allows discovery to proceed without the necessity of a motion to reopen discovery. The court encourages lawyers to conduct discovery in a manner consistent with "just, speedy and inexpensive" procedures. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule1.

What does the Court require when I file a Notice of Removal?

  1. A Civil Filing Fee (Fee Schedule)
  2. Notice of Removal
  3. Complete copy of state court pleadings

Does the Court require a CD or floppy disk of documents that are filed conventionally?

Our court does not normally require or accept documents on a disc.

How can I obtain a copy of the transcript from a proceeding?

You may contact the court reporter or the Clerk's Office to obtain a copy of the transcript of a proceeding.

If I am serving my defendant(s) by certified mail, what do I need to provide for the Court?

If you want the clerk's office to make service for you by certified mail, please provide the following for each defendant:

  • Green return receipt cards addressed to the U.S.D.C. Clerk of Court, PO BOX 711, Montgomery, AL 36101. Provide green card and receipt DETACHED from the envelope.
  • An Envelope with Postage affixed in advance for the amount needed to mail the complaint and summonses. (The Post Office is able to provide you with an exact amount of postage necessary for certified mail. Do not give us money - stick the stamps or postage tape to the envelope) Pre-Address the envelope(s) to your defendant(s) and use our address as the return address. Note: The mailing address of your defendant on the summonses and on the service materials should be identical.
  • A copy of the Complaint and two (2) Summonses for service for each defendant. For example, if you are suing two people, in addition to the original complaint for our office, you need to provide two extra copies of the complaint and two summonses for each defendant for a total of four summonses.

How do I know to which judge(s) a case has been assigned?

The three characters at the end of your case number indicate the presiding Judge. Initials for the Middle District of Alabama's District and Magistrate judges are as follows:

MEF - Hon. Mark E. Fuller
MHT - Hon. Myron H. Thompson
WKW - Hon. W. Keith Watkins
TMH - Hon. Truman M. Hobbs
WHA - Hon. W. Harold Albritton
ID - Hon. Ira De Ment
CSC - Hon. Charles S. Coody
SRW - Hon. Susan Russ Walker
WC - Hon. Wallace Capel, Jr.
TFM - Hon. Terry F. Moorer

Should I mail or bring filings to Dothan and Opelika if my case will be tried there?

No. Only the Northern Division courthouse in Montgomery is staffed, but we will travel to Opelika and Dothan for trials as necessary.

Please mail everything to:

US District Court Clerk's Office

PO Box 711

Montgomery AL 36101

 

or bring it to our office at One Church Street, Montgomery, AL 36104.

What is the significance of my case number?

These are the parts of a case number:

[division#]:[2-digit year]-cv-[case #]-[presider judge initials]
With Division numbers: 1-Southern, 2-Northern, 3-Eastern

example: 2 : 07 CV 00014 - MHT

The first number represents the division that your case is in. For instance, 1 represents our Southern Division (which has a courthouse in Dothan), 2 represents our Northern Division (with a courthouse in Montgomery), and 3 represents our Eastern Division (with the courthouse in Opelika). The next element of the case number, 07, represents the year that the case is filed. The designation “CV" indicates a civil case and the final serial number represents, in this example, the 14th civil case filed in the calendar year. The initials at the end are the presiding Judge’s initials.

How quickly can I obtain a Certificate of Good Standing?

Unless the Clerk’s Office has difficulty locating an attorney’s admission records, Certificates of Good Standing can be printed and sealed within minutes of the request. Therefore, the same day we receive a request, we receipt the money and return a Certificate of Good Standing.

Is electronic filing mandatory?

No, not yet. However, e-noticing is mandatory for attorneys.

How should personal data information be redacted from pleadings?

According to General Order 2:04-mc-3328, and in compliance with the E-Government Act of 2002, the Court requires that personal data information be redacted in all pleadings, whether they are filed electronically or conventionally. Personal data information includes Social Security numbers, names of minor children, dates of birth, financial account numbers, and personal addresses of individuals. To see more specific details, you may view General Order No. 2:04-mc-3228 by clicking here.

How should personal data information be redacted from transcripts?

According to General Order 2:04-mc-3328, as amended, and in compliance with the E-Government Act of 2002, the Court requires that personal data information be redacted in all electronic transcripts of court proceedings, filed on or after May 7, 2008. Personal data information includes Social Security numbers, names of minor children, dates of birth, financial account numbers, and personal addresses of individuals. To see more specific details, click here.