II. COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION, SERVICE OF PROCESS, PLEADINGS, MOTIONS AND ORDERS

3.1 Civil Cover Sheet

Except as otherwise provided, every initial filing shall be accompanied by a completed civil cover sheet.  The clerk's office shall promptly notify any party of the omission of a civil cover sheet.  Pro se parties are exempt from this requirement.

Matters appearing only on the civil cover sheet shall have no legal effect in that action.  Civil cover sheets are available in the clerk's office.

4.1 Summons; Waiver of Service for Summons

A summons or notice of lawsuit and request for waiver of service for summons for each named defendant shall be delivered to the clerk's office contemporaneously with the filings to be served with the summons.  If a summons or notice/request form is not used, the summons or notice/request shall conform with the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(a) and (d)(1).  Summons or notice of lawsuit and request for waiver of service for summons forms are available in the clerk's office and on the court’s web site (www.nhd.uscourts.gov).  For those cases subject to preliminary review pursuant to LR 4.3(d)(1), (2) and (4), the court shall not issue a summons for service and a notice of lawsuit/request for waiver of service of summons shall not be sent to any party until the preliminary review has been completed and service has been ordered.

(Amended 1/1/97, 1/1/08; 12/1/15)

4.2 In Forma Pauperis Applications

(a) Financial Information

(1) All Applications

All applications to proceed in forma pauperis shall be accompanied by a financial affidavit which shall disclose the applicant's income, assets, expenses, and liabilities. The court may require applicants who are not institutionalized to file an additional affidavit or produce additional information relevant to the applicant's financial ability to pay the full filing fee. 

(2) Applications by Institutionalized Persons

Institutionalized persons shall also submit, for the prior six-month period and certified by the institution or appropriate governmental entity, (1) a copy of the applicant's trust account statement at the institution ("certified trust account statement") and (2) a statement showing the average monthly deposits to and average monthly balance in the applicant's account.  Applicants institutionalized for less than six (6) months shall submit a certified trust account statement for the entire period of institutionalization and the deposit and balance statements average for the same period.

(b) Eligibility for In Forma Pauperis Status

An applicant shall be entitled to proceed in forma pauperis if the applicant's financial affidavit and/or certified trust account statement demonstrates that the applicant is unable to pay or prepay the fees and pay the costs of the action and the court determines that the applicant has not deliberately depleted his or her assets in order to become eligible for in forma pauperis status.

(c) Filing Fee

(1) Nonincarcerated Persons

The court may require an applicant to pay a partial filing fee provided that the fee assessed does not exceed the greater of fifteen percent (15%) of the value of the applicant's liquid assets or fifteen percent (15%) of the applicant's net monthly income after deducting reasonable expenses.  In no event shall a partial filing fee be less than $5.

(2) Incarcerated Persons

28 U.S.C. § 1915, as amended, requires an inmate to pay the full filing fee when bringing a civil action.  If insufficient funds exist in the inmate's account, the court will assess an initial partial filing fee.

(A) Initial Partial Filing Fee

Should in forma pauperis status be granted, the court will set an initial partial filing fee in the amount of twenty percent (20%) of the greater of (a) the average monthly deposits to the inmate's account for the prior six (6) months; or (b) the average monthly balance in the inmate's account for the prior six (6) months.

(B) Balance

Subsequent monthly payments of twenty percent (20%) of the preceding month's income shall be made until the filing fee is paid in full.  Said payments shall be deducted whenever the inmate's account exceeds $10.

(d) Objections

Objections to any filing fee ordered by the court shall be filed with the clerk's office within fourteen (14) days of that order and shall demonstrate factors, such as lack of ability, which justify not paying the required fee.

(e) Multiple Plaintiffs

The court shall compute any partial filing fee for each person named as a plaintiff or petitioner in the underlying action, provided that the aggregate of the partial filing fees does not exceed the full filing fee for that type of action.  If the aggregate of the partial filing fees exceeds the full filing fee, the court shall reduce proportionately the partial filing fees so that the total of the assessed fees does not exceed the full filing fee.

(f) Rescission of Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

The court may, either on its own or on motion by any party made in accordance with this rule, review and rescind, wholly or in part, leave to proceed in forma pauperis if the party to whom leave was granted becomes capable of paying the full filing fee or is found to have willfully misstated information in the application or for any other lawful ground.

(g) Litigation Expenses

The granting of an application to proceed in forma pauperis does not waive the applicant's responsibility to pay the expenses of litigation which are not waived by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1825 and 1915.

History

(Amended 1/1/97; § (d) amended 12/1/09)

4.3 Filings by Pro Se or In Forma Pauperis Plaintiffs, Pro Se or In Forma Pauperis Removal Defendants and Incarcerated Plaintiffs

(a) Scope

This rule applies to all actions commenced by pro se parties, parties proceeding in forma pauperis or incarcerated parties.

(b) Compliance with Other Rules

All such parties shall comply with these local rules and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(c) Filings

Filings by pro se parties shall be on forms provided by the clerk's office or in a format substantially conforming to such forms and LR 5.1.

(d) Responsibilities of Clerk's Office and Preliminary Review by Magistrate Judge

(1) Incarcerated Plaintiffs Suing a Government Agency or Employee

The clerk’s office shall forward to the magistrate judge for preliminary review the initial filings, and any subsequent amendments to those filings, by all incarcerated plaintiffs who have sued a government agency or employee.  After the initial review, the magistrate judge may:  

(A) report and recommend to the court that the filing be dismissed because the allegation of poverty is untrue where the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, or the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief;

(B) grant the party leave to file an amended filing in accordance with the magistrate judge’s directives; or

(C) appoint a person to effect service pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3).

(2) Incarcerated In Forma Pauperis Plaintiffs Not Suing Any Government Agency or Employee, and Filings by Nonincarcerated In Forma Pauperis Parties

The clerk's office shall forward to the magistrate judge for preliminary review the initial filings, and any subsequent amendments to those filings, by all nonincarcerated parties proceeding in forma pauperis including in forma pauperis removal defendants, and by any incarcerated plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis who has not sued a government agency or employee. After preliminary review, the magistrate judge may:

(A) report and recommend to the court that the filing be dismissed because the allegation of poverty is untrue, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, or the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief;           

(B) grant the party leave to file an amended filing in accordance with the magistrate judge’s directives; or

(C) appoint a person to effect service pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3).

(3) Filings by Nonincarcerated Pro Se Parties Who Have Paid the Filing Fee and Incarcerated Pro Se Parties Who Have Paid the Filing Fee and Are Not Suing a Government Agency or Employee

The clerk’s office shall forward initial filings, including actions removed by a pro se defendant, to the magistrate judge for preliminary review to determine whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction. If the magistrate judge determines that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the magistrate judge shall either recommend that the filings be dismissed, recommend that a removed action be remanded, or grant the party leave to file amended filings in accordance with the magistrate judge’s directives.

(4) Petitions for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 or 2254

(A)  The clerk’s office shall forward a petition filed pursuant to either 28 U.S.C. § 2254 or 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to the magistrate judge, who must promptly examine it.  After such examination, the magistrate judge may:

(i) report and recommend to the court that the petition be dismissed if, on its face, it fails to demonstrate exhaustion of state court remedies, fails to demonstrate that the petitioner is in custody, or otherwise fails to demonstrate entitlement to relief;

(ii) grant the petitioner leave to file an amended petition in accordance with the magistrate judge’s directives; or

(iii) order the respondent to file an answer, motion, or other response within a fixed time.

(B)  In every case, the clerk must serve a copy of the petition and any order on the respondent and on the attorney general or other appropriate officer of the state involved.              

(e) Pleadings Filed by Represented Parties

Any litigant who is represented by an attorney may not file a pleading in a case unless:

(1) The court grants a motion for leave to file a pro se pleading;  

(2) The litigant is filing a motion related to the status of counsel; or

(3) An attorney has been granted leave to provide limited representation to an otherwise unrepresented party and the filing is outside the scope of the limited representation.

Any pro se pleading that does not comply with this rule shall not be added to the court's docket or presented to a judicial officer for ruling and shall be returned to the filer.

History

(§ (d) amended 1/1/98; §§ (d)(1)(A), (d)(2), and (d)(2)(A)(i) amended 1/1/00; § (d)(1)(A) amended 1/1/03; §§ (d)(1)(B)(iii), (d)(2)(C) amended 1/1/08; §§ (d)(1)(A) and (B) amended, § (e) added 12/1/09; § (d) amended, § (e)(3) added 12/1/13)

4.4 Payment of Fees

Except as otherwise required by law or ordered by the court, the clerk's office shall not docket any filings, issue any process, or render any other service for which a fee is prescribed by statute or by the Judicial Conference of the United States unless the fee is prepaid or an in forma pauperis motion has been filed.  The clerk's office shall docket any notice of appeal upon receipt.  All fees must be paid in United States currency.

(Amended 1/1/00, 1/1/03, 1/1/06, 12/1/13)

5.1 Format and Service of Filings

(a) Size and Format

Filings shall be on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper of good quality; be plainly typewritten, printed, or prepared by a clearly legible duplication process in a font size no smaller than ten (10) characters per inch or, if a proportionately spaced font is used, no less than twelve (12) point; have no less than one (1) inch margins; be consecutively numbered in the bottom center of each page; and be double spaced except for quoted material.  Footnotes shall be used sparingly.

(1) Unbound Conventional Paper Filings

Complaints, motions, appendices, exhibits, attachments and supporting memoranda shall be stapled or otherwise attached but shall not be permanently bound.

(2) Requirements for Appendices

When a conventionally filed paper appendix or attachment includes more than one exhibit, it shall also include a table of contents or index, and each exhibit shall be separately numbered and marked with a separate tab page.  All affidavits submitted to the court shall be included as exhibits in the appendix or attachment.  All documents submitted to the court as exhibits, attachments, or appendices shall be complete, legible copies.  As to each appendix or attachment submitted to the court, counsel are encouraged to include all relevant documents and should avoid incorporating prior submissions by reference. 

(b) Identification of Attorney

The attorney's name, address, primary telephone number, e-mail address and New Hampshire bar number, or its equivalent in cases where the attorney is not a member of the New Hampshire bar, shall appear on all filings.  The bar number shall immediately follow the attorney's typed name in the signature section of all filings.

(c) Identification of Filings

All filings shall contain the caption of the case and a description of its contents and identify the party on whose behalf it is filed.  All filings subsequent to the initial filing shall also show the proper docket number including the suffix which indicates the initials of the presiding judge.

When any filing includes a request for special process or relief or any other request that, if granted, would require the court to proceed other than in the ordinary course, the request shall noted on the first page, immediately to the right of, or immediately beneath, the caption.

(d) Certificate of Service

The certificate of service required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d)(1) shall state the name and address of the attorney or party served, the manner of service, the date of service, and shall be personally signed by one counsel of record or by a party proceeding pro se.

(e) Facsimile and Email Filings

The clerk's office shall not accept filings by facsimile or email without an oral or written court order authorizing such filings.

(f) Affidavits

All affidavits shall identify the filing they support or oppose by indicating the filing's title.

(g) Removed Actions

This rule shall not apply to exhibits or filings in removed actions filed prior to removal from state court.

(h) Translations Required

Absent an order of the court upon a showing of good cause, the court will reject documents not in the English language unless translations are furnished.  Partial translations are acceptable if stipulated to by the parties or submitted by a party.  When partial translations are submitted by a party, opposing parties may submit translations of such additional parts as they deem necessary for a proper understanding of the substance of the matter submitted.

(i) Service on a Limited Representation Attorney

When an attorney has been granted leave to provide limited representation under LR 83.7, copies of all filings by any party shall be served on the party who is receiving the limited representation and the limited representation attorney.  After the limited representation attorney has given notice or withdrawn pursuant to LR 83.7(e), no further service need be made upon that attorney.

History

(§ (a), 2nd paragraph regarding binding requirements deleted 1/1/00; §§ (a)(1) and (2) added 1/1/00; retitled, new § (d) added, former § (d)-(f) relettered accordingly 1/1/04; §§ (a)(1)-(2) amended 1/1/06; § (a)(1) retitled, §§ (a)(2) and (b) amended, § (d) amended, § (h) added 1/1/08; § (i) added 12/1/13; §§ (b) and (c) amended 12/1/17)

5.2 Nonconforming Filings

The clerk's office shall file nonconforming filings, subject to the court striking the filing on its own initiative or on motion by a party.

5.3 Citation Format for Opinions Issued by This Court

(a) Reported Opinions

Opinions that are reported in the Federal Supplement, the Federal Rules Service, or the Federal Rules Decisions shall be cited either by citing to the reporter in which the opinion is published or by using the citation format specified in subsection (b).

(b) Unreported Opinions Published on the Court’s Web Site and Issued After January 1, 2000

Unreported opinions that are published on the court’s web site (www.nhd.uscourts.gov) and issued after January 1, 2000, shall be cited using the four-digit year in which the opinion is issued, the letters “DNH,” the three-digit opinion number located below the docket number on the right side of the case caption and, where reference is made to specific material within the opinion, the page number that appears in the Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the opinion that is available on the court’s web site, e.g., United States v. Smith, 2000 DNH 001, 6.

(c) Other Opinions

All other opinions shall be cited using the citation form for unreported decisions suggested in the Blue Book.

History

(Added 1/1/01)

5.4 Filing and Service by Electronic Means

(a) Filing

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d)(3) and Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(d), the clerk’s office will accept papers filed, signed, or verified by electronic means that are consistent with technical standards, if any, that the Judicial Conference of the United States establishes, and that comply with procedures for electronic filing established by the court.  A paper filed by electronic means in compliance with this Rule and the Administrative Procedures for Electronic Case Filing constitutes a written paper for the purposes of applying these rules and the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure and constitutes entry of the pleading or other paper on the docket kept by the clerk under Fed. R. Civ. P. 58 and 79 and Fed. R. Crim. P. 49 and 55.

(b) Service

Service of court orders and service by the parties pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(b) and Fed. R. Crim. P. 49(b) may be accomplished through the court’s transmission facilities and the court may enact procedural orders governing such service.

History

(Added 1/1/04; § (a) amended 1/1/08)

6.1 Computation of Time

Wherever in these rules reference is made to filing, time periods shall be determined in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a).  All time periods running from the date of service shall be determined in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a) and (d).  Rule 6(d) does not apply to time periods calculated from the date of filing.  The last day for documents submitted using the 24-hour depository shall end at midnight local time unless a different time is established by court order.

(Added 1/1/03; amended 1/1/08, 12/1/09)