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Materials About the Federal Rules

The materials listed below, produced or made available by the Center, are related to the Federal Rules of Procedure (civil, criminal, evidence, appellate, and bankruptcy).

For a list of projects or other reports of FJC research that the Center has published, click on Research Projects or Reports and Studies.

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West v. Dobrev (Case Analysis)

West v. Dobrev, 735 F.3d 921 (10th Cir. 2013)

Summary Judgment | Sua Sponte Orders

This case touches on motions for summary judg­ment in connection with Hague Convention cases. Because of the emphasis on expedited proceedings, many courts have used summary judgment procedures to eliminate unmeritorious cases and narrow issues to those where there is a real and material dispute. Rule 56 sets out con­siderations and procedures for summary judgments, and provides that a court may grant a summary judgment where there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.


Mother petitioned the district court for the return of her two children to Belgium; they were being retained in Utah by their father after the conclusion of their vacation with him. The district court held a preliminary hearing six days after the petition was filed, during which time the parties provided documentation to support their claims. Mother presented evidence that established a prima facie case for the return of the children—that the children’s habitual residence was Belgium, that she had enforceable custody rights, and that father had wrongfully retained the children. Father asserted an Article 13(b) defense that the children would be exposed to a grave risk if returned to Belgium, but he had no actual evidence that he could present that such a grave risk existed. What father really wanted was additional time to be able to investigate whether there was abuse. Based upon the oral and written submissions of the parties, the district court issued a brief written decision granting mother’s petition and ordered the children returned to Belgium.


Summary Judgment Procedure. The Tenth Circuit recognized that Article 11 of the Convention exhorts court to act expeditiously to determine petitions made for return of children. The court noted that a district court has a great deal of discretion to determine the procedures necessary to resolve a Hague case. Quoting March v. Levine,[1] the court observed that neither the Convention, nor ICARA, nor any constitutional provisions require that an evidentiary hearing or discovery be allowed, as a matter of right, in Hague Convention proceedings. In this case, mother had easily made out a prima facie case for return, and father was unable to provide any credible evidence that supported his claim of a grave risk under Article 13. At most, his submissions amounted to a “fishing expedition.” Rejecting father’s claims that he had been denied due process by the lack of an evidentiary hearing, the court held that the father had a meaningful opportunity to be heard and no denial of due process occurred.


[1]. 249 F.3d 462, 474 (6th Cir. 2001).


This document is part of The 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction: A Resource for Judges, a Special Topic Webpage.

Fed. R. Civil P. 56 March 5, 2016
Use of Rule 12(b)(6) in Two Federal District Courts

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows the defense of "failure [of a complaint] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." The Center conducted the study at the request of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States and its reporter, Professor Paul Carrington. After considering the data in the paper at its April 1989 meeting, the Advisory Committee decided not to change Rule 12(b)(6).

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Fed. R. Civil P. 12 January 1, 1989
Update on Resolution of Rule 12(b)(6) Motions Granted with Leave to Amend: Report to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules

In our March 2011 report, we indicated that following the Supreme Court decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal (2009), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim were granted more frequently with leave to amend the complaint. We also noted that the opportunity to amend the complaint may cure the defect and change the findings of the study. The Advisory Committee asked that we follow the events in the study cases, determine the extent to which the respondents submitted amended complaints, and report the outcome of any subsequent motions to dismiss.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Fed. R. Civil P. 12 November 1, 2011
Unsuccessful Attempt at Federal Mandamus Relief Against State Election Officials

Fox v. Detzner (Mark E. Walker, N.D. Fla. 4:18-cv-529)
A district judge denied as beyond the court’s jurisdiction a federal mandamus action seeking an order requiring state election officials to follow the law. The judge also denied a request for a temporary restraining order because the plaintiffs did not comply with the notice requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65.
Subject: Voting procedures. Topics: Voting technology; matters for state courts; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Fed. R. Civil P. 65 January 24, 2019
Trends in Summary Judgment Practice: A Preliminary Analysis

The drop in trial rate in civil cases over the past three decades prompts many hypotheses about the cause. One possible explanation is an increase in dispositive motions, especially motions for summary judgment. The Center has collected information on dispositive motions in cases terminated in six federal district courts during 1975, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1995 and 2000. This preliminary analysis examines changes in summary judgment practice.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Fed. R. Civil P. 56 November 1, 2001
Trends in Summary Judgment Practice: 1975-2000

Report of a Federal Judicial Center study of summary judgment practice in six federal district courts during six time periods over twenty-five years (1975-2000), to determine whether summary judgment activity has increased over time and to what extent changes in summary judgment practice are due to the 1986 Supreme Court trilogy of summary judgment cases. For a 2-page summary of this report see FJC Research Brief, No. 2: Trends in Summary Judgment Practice: 1975-2000.

Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Fed. R. Civil P. 56 January 1, 2007
Treatment of Brady v. Maryland Material in United States District and State Courts' Rules, Orders, and Policies

The Center prepared this report at the request of the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules as it considers whether to propose amendments to Rules 11 and 16 to codify the disclosure requirements in Brady v. Maryland. The committee wanted to know whether federal district courts and state courts have adopted formal rules or standards that provide prosecutors with specific guidance on discharging their Brady obligations. This report describes the federal district court local rules, orders, and policies that address Brady material, and the treatment of Brady material in state statutes and in court rules and policies. For an update to this report see Brady v. Maryland Material in the United States District Courts: Rules, Orders, and Policies (2007).

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Fed. R. Crim. P. 11, Fed. R. Crim. P. 16 October 1, 2004
The Timing of Scheduling Orders and Discovery Cut-Off Dates

The Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules asked the Federal Judicial Center to study the operation of Rules 16 and 26(f) in the district courts. This report summarizes findings of part of that study. Specifically, this report examines the timing of Rule 16 scheduling orders in civil cases and, drawing from those scheduling orders, also examines the timing of the first discovery cut-off date imposed, without regard to any extension. The data analyzed in this report were drawn from court records in 11 districts.

Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Fed. R. Civil P. 16, Fed. R. Civil P. 26 October 1, 2011
The Rule 11 Sanctioning Process

A report that discusses the possible chilling effects and potential for creating satellite litigation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 (before the 1993 amendment that increased judges' discretion as to imposing sanctions). It also discusses the nature and adequacy of procedures used to implement the rule. The report is based on interviews with judges and lawyers in eight districts. The author describes his methodology and reports his empirical findings.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Fed. R. Civil P. 11 January 1, 1988
The Impact of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005: Third Interim Report to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules

The Federal Judicial Center has undertaken a long-term study of the impact of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) on the resources of the federal courts. The third interim report was delivered to the committee on April 16, 2007 for discussion at its April 19 meeting and reports on the results of statistical tests of the impact of CAFA on federal courts across the country.

Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Fed. R. Civil P. 23 April 16, 2007