The following Proposed Amendments are proposed by the Rules Committees and have not been reviewed by the Supreme Court.

 

Proposed Order Amending Rules 9(b)(1), 11, and 13(e) of the Vermont Rules of Admission to the Bar of the Vermont Supreme Court

The proposed amendment to Rule 9(b)(1) clarifies that an applicant must be on active status in the other U.S. jurisdiction to qualify for the exemption from the five-years-from-graduation requirement.

In conjunction with a similar proposed amendment to Rule 13(e), the proposed amendment to Rule 11 clarifies what good cause means in the context of the Board of Bar Examiners’ determination of whether to extend the time within which the Board will accept an MPRE score.

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by January 9, 2023, to Andrew Strauss, Licensing Counsel of the Office of Attorney Licensing, at the following address:

Andrew Strauss, Licensing Counsel
Andrew.Strauss@vermont.gov

 

Proposed Order Amending Rule 4.3(a) of the Vermont Rules for Family Proceedings

The proposed amendment to Rule 4.3(a) makes clear that the provisions related to consolidation of relief-from-abuse cases to domestic cases apply to all actions subject to Rule 4.0 where a relief from abuse action is filed either prior to or following the filing of the action subject to Rule 4.0. The actions subject to Rule 4.0 are set forth in Rule 4.0(a)(1). In addition to divorce and annulment actions, they include legal separation, dissolution of a civil union, parentage, desertion, and nonsupport.  The proposed amendment to Rule 4.3(a)(3) provides for automatic consolidation in cases where a relief from abuse action is filed after the Rule 4.0 action and a temporary order is issued or, in the case of a denial, a request for hearing is filed, when one of the following three circumstances exists: (1) the complaint in that action is still pending; (2) there are pending post-judgement motions; or (3) the requests for relief in the abuse-prevention action conflict with an outstanding order in the action subject to Rule 4.0.

Comments on this proposed amendment should be sent by January 9, 2023, to Hon. Thomas Carlson, Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Rules for Family Proceedings, at the following address:

Hon. Thomas Carlson, Chair
Thomas.Carlson@vermont.gov

 

Proposed Order Amending Vermont Rules for Public Access to Court Records 6(b)(9) and 11(c)

The proposed amendment to Rule 6(b)(9)(A) clarifies the existing provision that exempts the complaint and affidavit from public access until defendant has an opportunity for a hearing. The revised rule provides that temporary orders granting relief are publicly accessible. The amended rule clarifies the public access status of the complaint, affidavit, and resulting order when relief is denied. Where temporary relief is denied and plaintiff does not pursue the case, the complaint, affidavit, and order denying relief remain nonpublic. Where temporary relief is denied and plaintiff does pursue the case, the order denying relief is not publicly accessible until the defendant has the opportunity for a hearing pursuant to statute.

The proposed amendments to Rule 6(b)(9)(B) and (C) implement the restrictions of public access created by V.R.F.P. 9(b) and (g)(1). The purpose of the family proceeding rules is to protect location and access information of the abuse-prevention proceeding plaintiff, and in a limited circumstance the defendant, from being accessible to the other party, the other party’s lawyer, or the public.

The proposed amendment to Rule 11(c) reflects the fact that the Research and Information Services Division of the Court Administrator’s office has been reorganized and renamed as the Technology Services Center.

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by November 14, 2022, to Hon. Timothy B. Tomasi, Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Rules for Public Access to Court Records, at the following address:

Honorable Timothy B. Tomasi, Chair

Timothy.Tomasi@vermont.gov

 

Proposed Order Amending Rule 66 of the Vermont Rules of Probate Procedure

The proposed amendments to Rule 66 reflect and clarify current practice regarding inventories and accounts.

Proposed Rule 66(b) is new. Rule 66(b)(1) contains a general requirement that, unless waived by the court for good cause, an estate inventory must contain a description and value of the decedent’s assets. The rule sets forth specific requirements for the content of inventories in the areas of real property, mobile homes, motor vehicles, high value items, and financial institution accounts. Former Rules 66(b) and (c) are redesignated (c) and (d) without change. New Rule 66(e) provides accounting standards consistent with 14 V.S.A. §§ 1055, 1057. Former Rules 66(d)-(f) are redesignated (f)-(h) without change.

Proposed Rule 66(i) is new. It spells out a process that enables a judge to deal with an inadequately prepared or presented inventory or account or other failure to comply with the provisions of Rule 66(a)-(h) by providing for their preparation “by a licensed professional with experience in fiduciary accounting.”

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by October 17, 2022, to Hon. Jeffrey Kilgore, Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Rules of Probate Procedure, at the following address:

Hon. Jeffrey Kilgore

Jeffrey.Kilgore@vermont.gov

 

Proposed Order Amending Rule 13.E of Administrative Order No. 9

The proposed amendment clarifies that when a hearing panel suspends or disbars a lawyer, the decision is stayed during the duration of the appeal. This ensures that the lawyer (1) will not have to serve a suspension prior to receiving an opportunity to challenge it; and (2) cannot moot the Court’s review of a disciplinary decision by “serving” a suspension before the Court fully reviews and disposes of a disciplinary matter.

The proposed amendment is consistent with the law on stays in other civil proceedings and current practice. The proposed new language does not change or alter the language in Rule 22, which provides the Court with authority to issue an interim suspension of the respondent’s law license for threat or harm.

Comments on this proposed amendment should be sent by October 17, 2022, to Michael Kennedy, Bar Counsel, at the following address:

Michael Kennedy, Bar Counsel

Michael.Kennedy@vermont.gov

 

Proposed Order Adding Rule 26.2 to the Vermont Rules for Criminal Procedure and Amending A.O. 47

Proposed new Rule 26.2 allows for video conference testimony in criminal proceedings, upon agreement of the parties and approval by the court. In contrast to the provisions of V.R.C.P. 43.1 and V.R.P.P. 43.1, video testimony under the proposed rule may not be provided over defendant’s objection, and absent express waiver, in recognition of the Sixth Amendment and Article 10 rights to confrontation and cross examination accorded to the accused. The proposed rule sets the timing and required content of a notice of intent to provide testimony of a witness via video conference. The proposal requires the court to address the defendant directly in open court and determine that the defendant understands the nature of the rights being waived. The proposed rule sets out the requirements for providing video conference testimony. Finally, the rule provides criteria for the court to consider if a party seeks to withdraw from agreement for testimony of a witness by video teleconference.

The proposed amendment to A.O. 47 § 1 incorporates the technical standards currently applicable in video and audio proceedings under V.R.P.P. 43.1 and V.R.C.P. 43.1 to proceedings under V.R.Cr.P. 26.2.

Comments on this proposed amendment should be sent by August 8, 2022, to Hon. John Treadwell, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure, at the following address:

Honorable John Treadwell, Chair

Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure

John.Treadwell@vermont.gov

 

Proposed Order Amending V.R.C.P. 79.1(e)

The proposed amendment to Rule 79.1(e) makes clear that admission pro hac vice is a matter of course on motion supported by the pro hac vice licensing card issued by the Court Administrator pursuant to A.O. 41, § 16. The card is issued on payment of fee and on the basis of the applicant’s certification that the applicant is not suspended or disbarred in any jurisdiction and is in good standing and admitted to practice in the applicant’s licensing state. The licensing card should be sufficient to let the court where the case is pending know that the applicant is in good standing and not subject to any discipline. The court retains control over the conduct of the out-of-state attorney and of the sponsoring attorney whose signature is on the motion and may revoke the admission for good cause.

Comments on this proposed amendment should be sent by May 9, 2022, to Allan Keyes, Esq., Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure, at the following address:

Allan Keyes, Esq., Chair

Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure

ark@rsclaw.com

 

Proposed Order Amending V.R.C.P. 55 and 62

The proposed amendment to Rule 55 resolves for civil actions the problem that there is no requirement that the party who has obtained a default judgment serve a copy of that judgment on the party against whom the judgment was entered. The problem had been addressed in a 2020 series of amendments to the Vermont Rules of Small Claims Procedure. Proposed Rule 55(d) is added to make specific the responsibility of a party who has obtained a default judgment to serve a copy of the judgment on the defaulting party and file proof of such service.

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by February 14, 2022, to Allan Keyes, Esq., Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure, at the following address:

Allan Keyes, Esq., Chair
Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure

ark@rsclaw.com

 

Proposed Amendments to Rules 9.1 and 55(c)(7) of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules 2(a), 3, and 8(c) of the Vermont Rules of Small Claims Procedure

The proposed amendments to V.R.C.P. 9.1 implement the recommendation of the Civil Division Oversight Committee that credit card debt collection actions and other actions brought by a debt-buyer rather than the original creditor be removed from small claims and brought in the civil division. Simultaneous amendments to V.R.C.P. 55(c)(7) and V.R.S.C.P. 2 and 3 are being proposed to accomplish this purpose.

The proposal is made based on the growing complexity of these cases, the inconsistency in how cases are handled by the lawyers serving as Acting Judges in small claims cases, and the difficulty of using lawyers as Acting Judges in these cases with the new case management system.  

The proposed amendment to Rule 8(c) eliminates the possibility of arrest as a result of contempt in small claims proceedings, in keeping with the goal of avoiding the imposition of such severe sanctions for failure to pay debts. See, e.g., https://www.aclu.org/report/pound-flesh-criminalization-private-debt.

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by October 19, 2020, to Allan Keyes, Esq., Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure, at the following address:

Allan Keyes, Esq., Chair
ark@rsclaw.com