Tueth Keeney’s Jim Layton Explains Changes in Missouri Appellate Rules

Oct 16, 2018

In the September-October issue of The Journal of the Missouri Bar, Jim Layton, who leads Tueth Keeney’s appellate practice, writes about changes in the rules regarding appeals in Missouri courts.   Jim serves on two of the groups that proposed the changes to the Missouri Supreme Court: the Supreme Court’s Appellate Practice Committee, and the Office of State Courts Administrator’s Efiling Rules Task Force.

Jim highlights three changes:

  • The move to a “system-generated legal file.”   Attorneys used to obtain certified copies of documents from court clerks and assemble them into a single document.   Now attorneys simply check boxes in an online docket, and the efiling system itself creates the indexed legal file.
  • Changes in service and certificate requirements.   The changes recognize that service has been largely replaced by having the efiling system send out notices.   And they more clearly differentiate between filings by attorneys who use efiling and filings by pro se parties who cannot.
  • Elimination of the requirement that everything in an appellate brief be double-spaced.   The new rule permits single spacing of footnotes and headings, and less than double-spacing even in the text of appellate briefs.

The changes make appellate filing more efficient, streamline the rules to fit the efiling systems, and allow briefs to be formatted to be read more easily on tablet screens.

The formatting changes implement some of the recommendations of the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers report, “The Leap from E-Filing to E-Briefing: Recommendations and Options for Appellate Courts to Improve the Functionality and Readability of E-Briefs.” Jim, a former Chair of the Council, was a member of the task force that compiled and wrote the report.

James Layton leads the firm’s Appellate practice group and is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Labor, and Education groups.   He assists clients with analysis and presentation of complex legal issues in Missouri and federal courts, both trial and appellate.   In addition to handling cases himself and with other attorneys at Tueth Keeney, Jim consults with clients on appellate strategy and assists other counsel in high-stakes, complex appeals.

Jim has briefed and argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and before all Missouri appellate courts””including more than 90 cases before the Missouri Supreme Court.   He has represented clients in U.S. district courts and in Missouri circuit courts from Jackson County to the City of St. Louis.   He has extensive experience with government-related litigation and state taxation disputes.   Jim is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a past president of the Bar Association of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers.   He is a frequent speaker in the areas of appellate practice and constitutional law, both state and federal.

Appellate Practice –  Tueth Keeney lawyers have briefed and argued hundreds of appeals, including appeals in all Missouri and Illinois state and federal appellate courts and in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Appellate Practice Group represents clients on a wide range of issues impacting businesses, individuals, government entities, and educational institutions. Tueth Keeney attorneys are also available to contribute their considerable experience (including more than 90 arguments before the Missouri Supreme Court) to appeals handled by others””strategizing, assisting with briefs, and preparing for oral argument.