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

Proposed Order Promulgating the 2019 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing

The proposed 2019 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing are designed to conform to the upcoming new Judiciary case management system (CMS). The CMS will have electronic filing and electronic casefiles and be rolled out over time in the superior courts and the judicial bureau. Additions to these rules will be made when the new CMS is rolled out for the Supreme Court and other judiciary entities.  The existing 2010 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing, which were designed for eCabinet, will remain in effect and applicable to dockets where they are currently in use. Once the new CMS is rolled out in all the locations and dockets where eCabinet has been employed, the 2010 rules will be repealed.

Extensive instructions will supplement the proposed rules and will often appear on screens for electronic filing and the viewing of electronic case files. The user must follow these instructions for electronic filing, service after commencement, and viewing of files. In addition to the efiling system, the public and parties will be able to view electronic case files, either by remote access or on terminals at court houses, through a public portal. To view nonpublic documents a separate registration for that portal and approval of elevated status will be required.

The adoption of these rules is coordinated with the adoption of extensive amendments to the Vermont Rules for Public Access to Court Records to enable, with necessary restrictions, the public and filers to view electronic case files when a filing is accepted. Those rules contain specific directions for filers to comply with requirements making certain records and information inaccessible to the public.  Filers should consult the public access rules, as well as these rules, to be sure a filing complies.

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by August 19, 2019, to Hon. Walter M. Morris, Reporter for the Special Advisory Committee on Rules for Electronic Filing, at the following address:

Hon. Walter M. Morris, Jr.
Vermont Supreme Court
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT  05609-0801
walter.morris@vermont.gov

Proposed Amendments to Rules 3, 4, and 5 of the VRECP, Rules 4, 10, 44.2, 45, 77, and 79.1 of the VRCP, Rules 4 and 79.1 of the VRPP and Rule 15 of the VRFP

The proposed amendments to various rules are designed to conform rules to the new case management system and concurrent 2019 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing. The new case management will be rolled out across the state in phases. Until the new case management system and electronic filing are fully implemented, different divisions of the superior court will be operating under different electronic filing rules. The Environmental Division has electronic filing under the 2010 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing and so references are amended to specify that those rules are applicable. After the Court Administrator directs that electronic filing under the 2019 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing will begin in the Environmental Division, the 2010 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing will no longer apply, and the Rules for Environmental Court Proceedings will require revision.  The proposed amendments clarify when cross references in the environmental, civil, probate, and family rules are to the 2010 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing.

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by August 19, 2019, to Hon. Walter M. Morris, Reporter for the Special Advisory Committee on Rules for Electronic Filing, at the following address:

Hon. Walter M. Morris, Jr.
Vermont Supreme Court
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT  05609-0801
walter.morris@vermont.gov

Proposed Amendments to Rules 3, 5, 5.1, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 28, 30 and 45.1 of the Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure

The proposed amendments to the appellate rules update language in anticipation of the new case management system, which will be rolled out in phases throughout the state concurrent with electronic filing and electronic case files. The rollout will initially be in divisions of the superior court, and the Supreme Court will be at the end of the rollout period. The proposed amendments to the appellate rules are made to accommodate appeals from cases that were filed under the new case management system and have electronic case files. When the case management system is implemented in the Supreme Court, the appellate rules will be amended further.  The proposal uses “transmit” instead of “mail” to allow electronic or other types of transmission of documents. The term “docket entries” is replaced with the more general term “record of actions.” The proposal amends various rules to clarify when references are to the 2010 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing.

The proposal amends Rules 28 and 30 to specify how to refer to the record in cases filed under the 2019 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing and to clarify that no printed case is required when there is an electronic case file under either the 2010 or 2019 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing. In cases with no electronic case file, a printed case remains a requirement. 

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by August 19, 2019, to Hon. Walter M. Morris, Reporter for the Special Advisory Committee on Rules for Electronic Filing, at the following address:

Hon. Walter M. Morris, Jr.
Vermont Supreme Court
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT  05609-0801
walter.morris@vermont.gov

Proposed Amendments to Rules 5 and 79 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules 5 and 79 of the Vermont Rules of Probate Procedure

The proposed amendments to V.R.C.P. 5 and V.R.P.P. 5 are made to conform the rules to the proposed 2019 Vermont Rules for Electronic Filing.  The proposed amendments explain the certificate of service requirements when documents are filed under the new rules.  The proposal clarifies when references are to the 2010 Vermont Rules of Electronic Filing.  The proposal also cross references the Vermont Rules for Public Access to Court Records.

The proposal removes V.R.C.P. Rule 79(a)(1) and V.R.P.P. Rule 79(c) because the custodian of records is as specified in V.R.P.A.C.R. 3(c), effective July 1, 2019.

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by August 19, 2019, to Hon. Walter M. Morris, Reporter for the Special Advisory Committee on Rules for Electronic Filing, at the following address:

Hon. Walter M. Morris, Jr.
Vermont Supreme Court
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT  05609-0801
walter.morris@vermont.gov

Proposed Order Amending Rule 10 of Administrative Order No. 9

This proposed amendment grew out of the work of the Vermont Commission on the Well-Being of the Legal Profession. The proposed amendment authorizes bar counsel to refer a disciplinary complaint to a lawyers’ assistance program, which is consistent with an approach that emphasizes prevention, self-care, and treatment. It is also consistent with bar counsel’s general authorization to seek to resolve matters via nondisciplinary methods or to refer complaints to nondisciplinary dispute resolution programs.

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by March 11, 2019 to Michael Kennedy, Bar Counsel, at the following address:

Michael Kennedy, Bar Counsel
Professional Responsibility Program
32 Cherry Street, Suite 213
Burlington, VT  05401
Michael.Kennedy@vermont.gov

Proposed Order Amending Rules 55 and 80.1 of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure

The proposed amendment conforms Rule 55 to reflect the needs of current practice. The proposal deletes the requirement of subdivision (a) for a separate entry of default by the clerk in favor of a provision allowing the party seeking relief to file a motion for default judgment to initiate the process.

The proposed amendment to Rule 55(a) follows the federal rule by deleting “as provided by these rules,” so that an indication of an intent to defend, even if not in compliance with the rules, does not trigger a default.

The proposed amendment deletes the first sentence of Rule 55(b)(1) requiring an application to the court for a default judgment because it is superfluous in light of the provision for a motion added to subdivision (a). The proposed addition of a sentence to paragraph (1) makes clear that the party seeking a default judgment has the burden on the issue of minority and must disclose any information in that party’s possession on the issue of competency.

The proposed amendment to Rule 55(b)(2) eliminates the formal reference to entry of judgment by the clerk. The proposal changes the time for notice in Rule 55(b)(4) from five to seven days. The proposal makes other minor wording changes in Rule 55(b) and (c) for consistency.

The proposed amendment to Rule 80.1(c) provides consistency with the simultaneous proposed amendment of Rule 55(a).

Comments on these proposed amendments should be sent by February 19, 2019, to Allan Keyes, Esq., Chair of Advisory Committee on the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, at the following address:

Allan Keyes, Esq., Chair
Civil Rules Committee
Ryan Smith & Carbine, Ltd.
P.O. Box 310
Rutland, VT  05702 0310
ark@rsclaw.com

Proposed Amendment to Rule 77(e) of the Vermont Rules of Probate Procedure

The proposed amendment conforms Rule 77(e)(1) to the provisions of 14 V.S.A. § 2(c) as amended by Act 195 of 2017 (Adj. Sess.), §1.  The proposed amendment conforms Rule 77(e)(2) to a change in 14 V.S.A. §2 (e) also enacted by Act 195 of 2017 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, which provided that the prohibition of public inspection of the index of wills, like the prohibition of public inspection of wills, applies “during the life of the testator.” The proposed amended rule is intended to make clear that the death of a testator does not open the index to public inspection but authorizes the register to make the limited disclosure of information in it concerning a particular testator permitted by Rule 80.4(b).

Comments on this proposed amendment should be sent by January 7, 2019, to Hon. Jeffrey Kilgore, Chair of Advisory Committee on the Vermont Rules of Probate Procedure, at the following address:

Hon. Jeffrey Kilgore
Washington Probate Division
65 State Street
Montpelier, VT  05602
Jeffrey.Kilgore@vermont.gov