(See also the guidance on the Court's website at http://m.uscourts.cavc.gov/Rule33.php at the bottom of R33 on our website.)
Practitioners are expected, without prompting from the Court, to file required documents that
are both timely and otherwise compliant with the Court's Rules of Practice and Procedure. Practitioners who
fail to do so fall short of the expected performance standard for practitioners before this Court. See
Rule 4(b)(2) of the Court's Rules of Admission and Practice (Professional misconduct may be defined as
"failure to comply with any rule of the Court."). Multiple failures to file timely or rule-compliant documents
may result in discipline, even in the absence of any disciplinary history or other misconduct. See ABA
Model Rules 1.1, 1.3, 3.2, 8.4(d).
In keeping with this expectation, the Court has implemented a program to objectively track practitioners' failures to file timely and rule-compliant filings. On a monthly basis, the Court generates an internal list of such instances and compiles data about how often they occur. This data is limited to the previous 12-month period.
If a practitioner meets certain threshold numbers within monthly, quarterly, or annual time periods, that practitioner receives from the Court a notice of the number of instances and the time period covered along with a warning similar to the following:
The Court advises you that these failures are being tracked and may result in disciplinary action against you if they continue in the future. Please ensure that all future filings are timely and otherwise compliant with the Court's rules.
Before any disciplinary case may be generated, the practitioner would receive at least three warnings from the
Court (first, from a docket clerk; next, from the Chief Deputy Clerk of Operations; and, finally from the Clerk
of the Court). As the warnings progress, the Court would also consider several discretionary factors such as 1)
the practitioner's case load, 2) the degree of lateness or extent of non-conformance, 3) the practitioner's
explanation, if any, for the deficiencies, and 4) the degree to which the lateness or non-conformance delayed
Relative to the number of practitioners and filings at the Court, warning notices are infrequent, and disciplinary cases are rarely required. However, as measured by objective standards, the Court may determine that moving forward with a disciplinary grievance under the Rules of Admission and Practice is warranted if a practitioner continues to fail to comply with Court rules despite multiple warnings from the Court.
Questions about this program and the Court's Rules of Practice and Procedure may be addressed to the Clerk's office.