Proposed FRCP Amendments: Abrogation of Rule 84 and the Appendix of Forms

December 15, 2014

FCRP updateThe final changes we are going to look at in our series on the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is the abrogation of Rule 84 and the Appendix of Forms.

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Appendix of Forms consists of 36 individual forms, which, as stated by Rule 84, are intended to “illustrate the simplicity and brevity contemplate[d]” by the Rules.  In light of the increased complexity of litigation and the additional causes of action that now exist in federal court, many of the forms are out-dated.

A Rule 84 Subcommittee was formed to consider the revision of the forms, as amendment of the out-dated forms would require the same lengthy process as the amendment of the rules.  In an attempt to determine whether amendment of the forms was the best course of action, the subcommittee surveyed numerous lawyers and judges and found that the forms were seldom used. Based on this information and the fact that alternative sources for civil forms exist, the subcommittee recommended that the Appendix of Forms be eliminated.

Two of the forms, Form 5 Notice of Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of Summons and Form 6 Waiver of the Service of Summons, were excluded from the abrogation recommendation because they are specifically referenced in Rule 4. The proposed amendments would add these two forms to the end of Rule 4.

Very few public comments were received on the proposed abrogation of Rule 84 and the Appendix of Forms.  This bolstered the Committee’s belief that the forms are not utilized by attorneys and courts.   Of those that were received, some comments expressed concern that the elimination of the forms could be interpreted as an endorsement of the Twombly and Iqbal pleading standards; however, the Committee indicated that if this becomes a prevalent issue, it will consider an amendment to the rules.