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Notable amendments to the Indiana Trial Rules effective January 1, 2011
Posted in Litigation

In 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court entered orders amending various Indiana Trial Rules.  Many of those amendments became effective January 1, 2011.  While some amendments amount to little more than grammar clarification or capitalization of particular words, certain amendments bear highlighting.  These notable examples are summarized below:

Trial Rule 9.2.  Pleading and proof of written instruments.

Subsection (A) requires that when any pleading is founded on an account, an Affidavit of Debt, in “a form substantially similar to that which is provided in Appendix A-2 . . . shall be attached” to the pleading.  The form attached in Appendix A-2 requires, among other things, that a plaintiff attempting to collect on an account state the unpaid balance of the account, the date on which the account was opened, the date on which the last payment was received, the amount of the last payment received, the type of account, as well as an itemization of the account balance, including the amount of late fees and interest and whether attorneys’ fees are being sought.  As referenced in connection with Trial Rule 55 below, if the defendant is an individual with a history of military service, additional information will need to be supplied.

Trial Rule 23.  Class Actions.

Subsection (F) of this Rule has been revised to define “residual funds” as funds that remain after claims expenses and costs have been paid.  The amendment states that an order entering judgment or approving a class settlement shall provide for the disbursement of residual funds, unless otherwise agreed.  It further defines that not less than 25% of the residual funds are to be disbursed to the Indiana Bar Foundation to support the Indiana Pro Bono Commission, and that additional amounts may be disbursed by the trial court to the Indiana Bar Foundation or any other entity for purposes with “a direct or indirect relationship to the objectives of the underlying litigation or otherwise promote the substantive or procedural interests of members of the certified class.”

Trial Rule 51.  Instructions to jury:  Objections, requests:  Submission to stages.

One amendment to this Rule makes clear that a request to reread any preliminary instruction does not count toward the ten requested instructions that may be tendered by each party.  A further amendment to this Rule clarifies that pattern jury instructions are included within and count toward the ten-rule limitation imposed upon each party.  See T.R. 51(D).

Trial Rule 53.3.  Motion to correct error:  time limitation for ruling

Pursuant to this Rule, a trial court judge may extend the time limitation for ruling on a motion to correct error for a period of  no more than thirty days.  Pursuant to the amendment, the entry of such an extension order must be noted in writing on the Chronological Case Summary before the expiration of the initial period for ruling.

Trial Rule 55.  Default.

This Rule has been amended so that no default can be entered against a person entitled to protection against default judgment provided by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. § 521, unless all Act requirements are met.  This amendment further revises the Affidavit of Debt referenced in Trial Rule 9.2 above so that if the defendant is an individual, the plaintiff must declare the defendant is not on active military service (and the factual basis for that belief) or state plaintiff is unable to determine whether the defendant is active in the military.

Trial Rule 62.  Stay of proceedings to enforce a judgment.

This Rule was amended to permit, in addition to an appeal bond with approved sureties or irrevocable letter of credit possibilities, “other form[s] of security approved by the court.”

Trial Rule 77.  Court Records.

With the Rule amendment, the date of the notation to appear in the Chronological Case Summary is to be the date the notation is made, regardless of the date of the judicial event.

Entries on Chronological Case Summaries.

Amendments to select Rules clarify that a court is deemed to have set a hearing or ruled on a motion on the date the ruling/setting is noted in the Chronological Case Summary. See, e.g., T.R. 53.1(C); T.R. 53.2(C); T.R. 53.3(C); T.R. 59. If you have any questions regarding these or any other provisions of the Indiana Trial Rules, please contact the Litigation Practice Group of Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP.



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