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Civil Litigation & Procedure

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September 28, 2016
Jefri Wood

This manual provides a practical guide to steps that courts can take before and during litigation to manage nonprisoner pro se litigation more efficiently, steps that may also help pro se litigants better navigate the complexities of federal civil litigation. Part I discusses the concept of procedural fairness and the goal of increasing access to justice; it also addresses some of the potential ethical concerns about providing assistance to pro se litigants.

April 7, 2016
James D. Garbolino, Marcia S. Krieger, Peter J. Messitte

Judge James Garbolino, Judge Marcia Krieger (D. Colo.), and Judge Peter Messitte (D. Md.) discuss the five defenses to an action for return of a child. These five defenses are narrowly defined and require specific standards of proof.

March 5, 2016
James D. Garbolino

Lozano v. Montoya Alvarez, 134 S. Ct. 1224 (2014)

Equitable Tolling | Return Despite Article 12 Defense | Delay | Settlement

January 29, 2016
Paul W. Grimm

Judge Paul W. Grimm, District of Maryland, developed the attached PowerPoint presentation describing the 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The amendments reformed discovery rules to maximize efficiency, including cost containment, and were not intended to deprive parties in civil litigation of proof or defense.

Additional information is available on the Federal Judicial Center’s website at Amendments to the Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure (webpage).

Downloadable files:
January 20, 2016
James D. Garbolino

Nicolson v. Pappalardo, 605 F.3d 100 (1st Cir. 2010)

Consent and Acquiescence

Article 13 establishes a defense to return when the left-behind parent has consented or acquiesced to the removal or retention of the child. Consent or acquiescence, however, must be clearly established.


January 20, 2016
James D. Garbolino

Mendez v. May, 778 F.3d 337 (1st Cir. 2015)
(Petition for Certiorari docketed on June 17, 2015)

Habitual Residence


December 2, 2015
Timothy P. Harkness, Rahim Moloo, Patrick Oh, Charline Yim

At an increasing rate, U.S. courts are hearing cases in which parties seek evidence located abroad or parties to a foreign or international proceeding seek evidence located in the United States. International discovery issues pose difficult and complex challenges, at both the procedural and substantive levels. This guide seeks to address these issues by providing a practical overview of cross-border discovery questions that commonly arise in civil cases before federal courts.

Downloadable file:
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December 1, 2015
Paul W. Grimm

Amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(e), which became effective on December 1, 2015, specify that sanctions for failure to preserve electronically stored information (ESI) require findings that (1) the ESI should have been preserved in the anticipation of litigation, (2) the party failed to take reasonable steps to preserve it, and (3) it cannot be restored or replaced through additional discovery. The rule does not create a duty to preserve ESI. Instead, it leaves in place the common-law duty.

December 1, 2015
John George Koeltl

This video describes amendments to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), 26(c)(1)(B), 26(d), and 34 that became effective on December 1.

Amendments to Rule 26(b)(1) are designed to promote proportional discovery: discovery tailored by the judge and the parties to meet the reasonable needs of the case. Proportional discovery provides the information needed by the litigants to prove their cases, but avoids excess and waste. Judges are encouraged to engage in a dialogue with the parties regarding the amount of discovery reasonably needed to resolve the litigation.


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