Rules of the District Court of the Eleventh Judicial District
(Effective November 3, 1995, including amendments)
These rules for the district court of the 11th Judicial District shall become effective upon approval by the Supreme Court and publication in the Nebraska Advance Sheets and shall supplement the Uniform District Court Rules of Practice and Procedure adopted by the Supreme Court.
Adopted effective November 3, 1995.
There shall be one term of court in each county. The term shall begin on the first work day in January and end on the last work day of December.
Adopted effective November 3, 1995
All correspondence with the court shall include the name, number and county of the case involved. A copy of all correspondence shall be sent to opposing parties. If the correspondence entails the transmittal of pleadings, orders, judgments, or journal entries, pre-addressed stamped envelopes sufficient for that purpose shall be enclosed.
Adopted effective November 3, 1995.
A. CASE PROGRESSION STANDARDS: In any case where the court has determined that there is a lack of sufficient prosecution under the case progression guidelines established by the Nebraska Supreme Court, or such shorter period as may be appropriate under the circumstances, the court may enter an order to show cause why the case should not be dismissed, or the court may, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, enter a dismissal of the case. Any order of dismissal may be set aside within the term upon motion, notice, and good cause shown.
B. AUTOMATIC CASE PROGRESSION: When a civil jury case is first filed with the Clerk of the District Court, it shall be immediately given to the assigned judge. The judge shall issue an order setting out the date for pleadings to be complete not inconsistent with the law, a date for completion of discovery, a date for a pretrial conference, and a proposed trial date. These dates shall be binding upon all parties to the litigation unless one or more of them, by motion and upon good cause being shown, but without hearing, request that the case not be handled in the expedited manner as set out in this rule.
C. PRETRIAL AND POST-TRIAL MOTIONS:
(i) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, all pretrial and posttrial motions or similar filings which require a hearing shall be filed at least three days prior to the hearing. The party or counsel so filing shall obtain a date for the hearing at the next available motion day, or sooner if necessary. The party or counsel shall file a notice of hearing with any such pleading or motion which requires a hearing. The notice of hearing may be placed on the pleading or motion itself and, in any event, is to be served on opposing parties with the pleading or motion. Any pleading or motion that is filed without a date for hearing being set or without a notice of hearing having been obtained shall be filed by the clerk and immediately brought to the attention of the Court. The Court may, on its own motion after hearing, overrule the motion or strike the pleading from the file for failure to comply with this rule or set the matter for hearing, upon proper notice, and/or assess sanctions, including attorney fees, against the party in violation of the rule. The use of ordinary mail for notice of hearing shall constitute sufficient compliance with this rule except as may be otherwise required by statute or Supreme Court rule.
(ii) Any party required to plead or plead further after a ruling on a special appearance, demurrer or motion, shall do so within ten (10) days. If a party chooses to answer, the answer shall be filed within twenty (20) days.
(iii) All hearings on all motions or pleadings may be heard by telephone conference. The party wishing to set a motion by telephone conference shall arrange the time for the conference and shall initiate the conference call and be responsible for the expense of the call. No oral testimony may be adduced during any telephone conference. All evidence to be adduced during any telephone conference shall be submitted to the court and to opposing counsel no less than 5 days prior to the hearing. Any such telephone proceeding held pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 24-734 (Reissue 1989) shall not exclude the general public except as provided by law or Supreme Court rule.
(iv) Motion days shall be set for the various counties by the court. On any motion day, each judge will hear any case regardless of to whom the case is assigned. However, the judge will not hear final contested divorces, contested modification of divorce decrees, sentencings, preliminary criminal motions except arraignments, or any final contested matter unless it is assigned to that particular judge.
(v) The court shall be available to sign any orders, judgments, journal entries, or to consider any other matter during recess in any trial or at any other time requested by counsel.
(vi) It shall be the duty of the counsel for the side in whose favor a decision is rendered or order is made to promptly prepare a journal entry or order. The proposed journal entry or order shall be delivered for signature within ten (10) days. Opposing counsel or party shall be mailed a copy of the proposed journal entry or order. If there is an objection to the proposed journal entry or order, it shall be the duty of the objecting party to contact the court and state the objection. The court will then determine whether to sign the journal entry or order or require preparation of a new one. It shall be the duty of the counsel for the party in whose favor a judgment or decree has been entered to immediately notify the Clerk of the District Court of such judgment or decree. No file may be removed from the courthouse until the Clerk has been notified of the judgment or decree. Upon such notification the file may be checked out to counsel to allow preparation of the judgment or decree.
D. CONTINUANCES: Motions for continuances shall comply with Nebraska Statutes and be set for hearing prior to the original date for trial of the matter sought to be continued. Further, all motions for continuance shall be submitted to opposing counsel prior to any hearing. Opposing counsel shall indicate on the motion that there is no objection to the motion, that the opposing counsel objects to the motion but agrees to submit the motion without argument, or objects to the motion. If opposing counsel objects to the motion it shall be set for hearing as any other motion. If there is no objection or if opposing counsel agrees to submit the motion without argument, the court will review the motion without further hearing. The decision to grant or deny a motion for continuance rests finally with the court.
E. DISCOVERY: No motion concerning discovery will be heard by the court unless the moving party certifies that opposing counsel has been contracted and a good faith effort has been made to resolve any dispute in regard to discovery. The certification shall include copies of any correspondence between counsel in regard to the discovery dispute. Depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production, and answers thereto, shall not be filed with any motion to compel discovery; instead, the necessary documents to establish the right to compel discovery shall be delivered to the court reporter at the hearing for marking as exhibits.
F. MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT: Counsel for each party shall submit a brief in support of or in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. The briefs shall contain a reference to the evidence submitted specifically noting the discovery response or portion of the depositions by line and page that is relied upon by that party in regard to whether or not there are material issues of fact to be decided by the trier of fact.
Adopted effective November 3, 1995; Rule 11-3C(iii) and 11-3D amended effective January 16, 2002; Rule 11-3E and 11-3F adopted effective January 16, 2002; Rule 11-3E approved April 25, 2012.
A. CONTESTED CUSTODY:
(i) Notice to court. Whenever counsel determines that custody of minor children will genuinely be contested, the court shall be informed in order that appointment of a guardian ad litem may be considered. If a guardian ad litem is appointed, the guardian's report shall be filed with the court and copies given to counsel no later than ten (10) days before trial and, with the approval of the court, be updated at the time of trial.
(ii) Temporary custody requests. All requests for temporary custody, except for ex parte requests in cases with an emergency or exigent circumstances, shall be set for a hearing with not less than three (3) days’ notice to the opposing party. Evidence in support of or in opposition to any temporary custody request shall be submitted by affidavit, which shall be exchanged at the hearing.
(iii) Affidavits submitted on temporary custody requests shall be limited to no more than ten (10) per side and will further be limited to a total of no more than 50 pages. Tax returns and related financial records with Social Security numbers redacted will not be counted as pages. All affidavits shall be typed or printed. Affidavits submitted in cursive will not be considered.
(iv) In cases involving minor children, parents who have not filed a permanent stipulation or parenting plan resolving all issues of custody and visitation must have scheduled or completed Parenting Education Classes no later than 60 days after the filing of the complaint.
(v) Mediation must be scheduled or a hearing on a qualified request for a waiver of mediation must be scheduled no later than 120 days after the filing of the complaint. Failure of any party to schedule or attend mediation will result in sanctions which may include being prohibited at trial from presenting any evidence on the issues of custody or parenting time.
B. IV D CASES: The county attorney shall be notified of any temporary hearings, final hearings, modifications or actions to release a child support lien which involve parties who are receiving assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services or the State of Nebraska, have filed assignments to the Department of Health and Human Services or the State of Nebraska, or who have an obligation to the Department of Health and Human Services or the State of Nebraska.
C. DECREES: All decrees of dissolution, separation, or property settlements referred to in decrees shall contain both parties' social security numbers and the social security numbers of the affected children. The vehicle identification numbers of all vehicles affected by the decree and the legal description of all real estate affected by the decree shall also be included.
D. PROPERTY STATEMENT: Both parties shall submit a combined exhibit listing all of the assets and liabilities of the marriage on a form prescribed by the court, a copy of which is attached to these rules. A different form than the one adopted as part of these rules may be used if the same information is supplied.
The applicable provisions of rule 11-5(C) relating to pretrial orders shall apply to domestic relations cases. In addition, however, the petitioner shall first prepare the exhibit by placing the petitioner's values on the property statement. The exhibit shall then be submitted to the respondent who shall place values on the exhibit and return it to the petitioner. The petitioner shall submit the exhibit to the respondent no less than thirty (30) days prior to trial and the respondent shall return it to the petitioner no less than twenty (20) days prior to trial. The joint property exhibit, signed by counsel and the parties, shall be filed with the clerk of the district court no less than ten (10) days before trial. A copy of the exhibit shall also be sent to the judge no less than ten (10) days before trial. The court shall prepare a pretrial order which shall include the joint property exhibit. The pretrial order shall be binding on the parties.
The parties shall also prepare and submit to the court no less than ten days prior to trial separate child support guidelines calculations including all supporting documents required by the guidelines. The calculation shall also include any proposed deviations from the guidelines and the reasons for the deviations.
E. PROTECTION ORDERS: All applications for protection orders pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-901 et seq. (Reissue 1993) shall be on the form prescribed by the court. No protection orders shall be set aside unless the applicant appears in person and states affirmatively, on the record, that the protection order should be set aside. A copy of this rule shall be supplied to all applicants for and respondents to protection orders by the Clerk of the District Court.
F. CONTESTED CUSTODY CASES; COMPLIANCE WITH PARENTING ACT.
1. No contested case which involves custody of, or parenting time or visitation with, any minor child or children may be set for final hearing by any attorney or self-represented party unless the following documents have been filed with the Clerk of the District Court:
(a) Attorney Certificates of Providing Parenting Act Information signed by each attorney who has entered an appearance in the case or, for self-represented individuals, a verified and sworn statement from each parent that each has received and read the Nebraska Parenting Act Information brochure.
(b) A completed Financial Affidavit for Child Support signed by each party.
(c) Certificates of Completion of an approved Basic Level Parenting Education Course signed by each parent.
(d) An affidavit signed by a qualified mediator or specialized Alternative Dispute Resolution Facilitator approved by the Nebraska Office of Dispute Resolution setting forth facts to show both parties met for at least one session lasting 2 hours or more in a good faith attempt to settle the issues relating to custody, parenting time, or visitation.
2. Any of the foregoing requirements may be waived by the court upon a showing of good cause and compliance with applicable rules and statutes.
3. All such documents shall be the same as, or substantially similar to, the forms relating to divorce and parenting found on the Nebraska Judicial Branch Web site, http://www.supremecourt.ne.gov/district/d7/selfhelpforms.shtml?sub1.
4. If a party fails or refuses to comply with any part of this rule, the opposing party may file a motion to compel, for sanctions, or for other relief which will be scheduled for hearing by the court.
Approved effective November 3, 1995; amended effective May 22, 1998; Rule 11-4A-D amended effective January 16, 2002; Rule 11-4(A)(i)and(ii) amended effective September 9, 2009; Rule 11-4F approved June 3, 2010; Rule 11-4A(iii) – (v) approved April 25, 2012.
A. TERMS: Civil and criminal jury terms shall be set in Dawson and Lincoln Counties each year by the judges of the district. A schedule of such terms shall be distributed to the bar in the district and to all other attorneys who request such a schedule. Jury trials in the other counties of the district shall be set by the court for each particular case.
B. PRELIMINARY CONFERENCES: Preliminary conferences shall be held after a case is at issue. Preliminary conferences may be held by telephone conference. If the Court has determined that the expedited procedures set forth in rule 11-3(B) shall not apply, a preliminary conference may be scheduled by either party or the court on its own motion. At the preliminary conference, counsel shall be prepared to:
(i) Complete the pleadings;
(ii) Set a schedule for completion of discovery;
(iii) Arrange for physical examination of any party involved in an action for personal injury;
(iv) Set a time for trial;
(v) Set a time for pretrial conference;
(vi) If counsel and parties are willing to do so, waive a jury trial or stipulate to a six person jury if possible.
C. PRETRIAL CONFERENCES: Pretrial conferences shall be scheduled as near as practicable to the time set for trial of the action. At the pretrial conferences, trial counsel shall be present and shall be prepared to:
(i) Finalize the issues in the case;
(ii) Stipulate to all uncontested matters, including liability, medical expenses, property damage, other losses, and the fairness and reasonableness of any estimate or actual loss or damage;
(iii) File a witness list with the name and address of all witnesses to be called in the case in chief;
(iv) Mark all exhibits to be offered at trial;
(v) If there are no objections, to waive foundation or stipulate to the admission of exhibits;
(vi) Estimate the length of trial;
(vii) Estimate the length of voir dire;
(viii) Submit preliminary proposed jury instructions and trial briefs;
(ix) Discuss with the court all efforts made to settle the case and have available the parties or their representatives in order to continue negotiations for settlement of the case.
Unless otherwise ordered, the court shall prepare a final pretrial order based on the agreements at the pretrial conference which shall be binding on the parties.
D. INSTRUCTIONS: All proposed instructions shall be filed prior to the conference on instructions. Counsel shall be prepared to conduct the conference on instructions immediately following the final rest entered in the case. Counsel shall be prepared to argue the case immediately following the conference on instructions.
E. AVAILABILITY OF COUNSEL: Counsel shall be available on short notice, either personally or by phone, as ordered by the court, during jury deliberations in the event the jury has a question or verdict is reached. The clerk or bailiff shall be notified of counsel's location unless counsel is excused.
F. ABSENCE OF COUNSEL: In civil cases, it is not necessary that any party or counsel be present when the verdict is read. Counsel and the defendant shall both be present when a verdict is returned in a criminal case.
G. FAILURE TO COMPLY: Failure to comply with the rules of this court, without good cause having been shown, shall subject the party or counsel to sanctions, and a dismissal or judgment may be entered against a non-complying party or a non-complying counsel for that party.
Adopted effective November 3, 1995.
All applications for attorney's fees for appointed counsel shall be in writing listing time and expenses involved. Fees for representation in District Court shall be seventy-five dollars ($75.00) per hour except in exceptional cases when a higher fee may be set by the court upon request of counsel. The court will review and adjust the rate on a yearly basis commencing January 2003.
Adopted effective November 3, 1995; amended effective January 16, 2002.
Exhibits may be released under the following conditions:
(i) Upon motion of an introducing party or counsel, to such party or counsel if a motion is made to substitute a copy and the motion is granted;
(ii) Upon motion of an introducing party or counsel, after trial if the appeal time has run and the motion has been granted;
(iii) Upon motion, when a photograph has been substituted for a large or cumbersome exhibit and the motion is granted;
(iv) Any exhibit may be disposed of or substituted for according to the applicable records retention and disposition schedule of the State Records Administrator. Exhibits shall first be returned to party or counsel if they can be determined. Thirty (30) days notice will be given prior to the disposal of any exhibit. If the exhibit is not claimed it may be destroyed. The disposition of exhibits shall further be controlled by Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 24-1004 (Reissue 1989) and 84-1201 to 84-1220 (Reissue 1994).
Adopted effective November 3, 1995.
All defendants in criminal cases shall be searched by the sheriff or sheriff's deputies prior to entering the courtroom. All such searches shall be conducted in private and as unobtrusively as possible. The sheriff or deputies shall be present during all criminal proceedings and at such other times as requested by the court.
Adopted effective November 3, 1995.
Court files, transcripts, and bills of exception may be checked out by attorney, their staffs, abstracters or any other person with the permission of the court for not more than ten days. No file shall be checked out without notifying the Clerk of the District Court or a deputy clerk.
Adopted effective November 3, 1995.
Any applicant for work release shall, in the application, waive confidentiality and give permission to the sheriff to review the presentence investigation of the defendant.
Any defendant granted work release shall only attend work and proceed to and from work by the most direct route. Work release shall be terminated if the defendant goes to any other place, including home, shops, or friends houses, other than a place to obtain a meal during the course of employment. At no time shall any defendant enter a place where alcohol is served as the main business. This rule may not be waived except by direct order of the court.
Adopted effective November 3, 1995.
In the discretion of the Judge presiding, courtroom proceedings may be broadcast, both by audio and video, and may be televised, recorded, or photographed (hereafter collectively referred to as “broadcast”) under the following conditions:
1. Cameras and sound equipment of a quality and type approved by the Judge presiding in the case will be fixed in place in the courtroom with field of view of the camera and field of range of microphones being approved by the Judge presiding over the proceedings. Other than the cameras identified herein, no other camera will be permitted in the courtroom, including a still camera. The images produced by the camera in the courtroom should be of such a nature that still images may be retrieved.
2. The audio broadcast shall include only the statements made in open court and shall not include communications between counsel, between counsel and their clients, or bench conferences between counsel and the court.
3. Images of, or statements from, jurors will not be broadcast.
4. Jury selection will not be broadcast.
5. The following cases will not be broadcast: matters involving grand juries, juveniles (persons under 19 years old), child custody, parenting time, sexual abuse, sexual assault, and protection orders.
6. The testimony of certain witnesses may not be broadcast. Those witnesses are as follows: persons under age 19, a person who claims to be a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault who will be called upon to testify about the abuse or assault, or a confidential informant whose testimony is about the matter upon which the person informed. Any witness may make a request to prevent that person’s testimony from being broadcast by making application to the Judge presiding over the proceeding indicating the reason the witness does not want his or her testimony broadcast.
7. Upon application of any party or counsel, the court may determine to not broadcast courtroom proceedings or terminate the broadcast of courtroom proceedings.
8. Upon application at least 14 days in advance of a scheduled hearing that may be broadcast, the court may permit other types of broadcast or recording equipment in the courtroom.
The images and sound produced from the courtroom will be available to any broadcast media licensed by the Federal Communications Commission and any print media published in the State of Nebraska on a pool basis.
The overriding principle shall be the guarantee of a fair trial to the litigants. Criteria may change from time to time based on factors which the court has not yet considered, and the circumstances of individual cases.
/signed/ John P. Murphy, District Judge /signed/ Donald E. Rowlands, District Judge
Approved June 29, 2009.
A pro se party needing an interpreter or counsel for a party needing an interpreter shall notify the Clerk of the District Court of the need for an interpreter no less than 10 days prior to any hearing at which a non-English-speaking party or witness is to testify. Such notice shall specify whether an interpreter is needed for one of the parties and/or one or more witnesses. It is not permissible for the parties to use a friend or relative as an interpreter. The cost for an interpreter is not assessed to the parties.
Rule 11-12 approved April 25, 2012.
A. Professional attire is required in the courtroom. Professional attire means professional business dress. For women, professional attire includes pantsuits and dresses, skirts, and dress slacks. For men, professional attire includes suits and collared shirts, ties, and dress slacks all worn with jackets. Dress shoes are required.
B. Absent court permission, no person shall use a recording device, photo-imaging device, or cellular telephone for any purpose, including the taking of pictures in the courtroom.
C. Upon order of the court, any person may be subjected to search of his or her person for possession of recording devices, photo-imaging devices, cellular telephones, or weapons.
D. Litigants, witnesses, counsel, and spectators shall not mingle or converse with jurors.
Rule 11-13 approved April 25, 2012.
In addition to the requirements of the Uniform District Court Rules, counsel may be permitted to withdraw from a matter upon filing a motion which:
A. Recites a reason for withdrawal and the motion to withdrawal has been served upon the client and all parties of the record;
B. Provides the client’s last known mailing address; and
C. Recites whether any hearing is currently scheduled in the case.
Rule 11-14 approved April 25, 2012.
I. PURPOSE. This rule is to establish a process for the appointment of private attorneys to represent indigent defendants as provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 29-3901 to 29-3908.
II. APPLICABILITY. This rule shall not apply to criminal proceedings in which the court appoints the Public Defender or the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy.
A. Appointments of private attorneys shall be made on an impartial and equitable basis;
B. The appointments shall be distributed among the attorneys on a rotation system;
C. Cases shall be assigned to attorneys of sufficient experience, skill, and competence to render effective assistance of counsel to defendants;
D. Complex cases shall be assigned to attorneys with sufficient levels of experience and competence to provide adequate representation; and
E. Less experienced attorneys shall be assigned cases which are within their capabilities, but should be given the opportunity to expand their experience under supervision.
IV. COURT-APPOINTED ATTORNEY LIST
A. Each County Court shall maintain a court-appointed attorney list (which shall consist of three categories: misdemeanors; Class III, IIIA, and IV felonies; and Class I and II felonies from which attorneys shall be appointed to represent indigent defendants in that county. The list shall include the name, address, phone number, email, and Nebraska bar number for each attorney who will accept appointments to criminal cases in that county.
B. Attorneys shall contact the County Court of each county in which they wish to be considered for court appointments and request to be placed on the court-appointed list. Attorneys shall also contact the County Court when they no longer wish to receive court appointments. Appendix 1, which is attached, shall be utilized when requesting to be placed on the court-appointed attorney list.
C. The County Court shall make the court-appointed list of attorneys available upon request.
V. METHOD OF SELECTION FROM COURT-APPOINTED LISTS
A. The Court will generally attempt to appoint attorneys from the court-appointed attorney list on a rotational basis, subject to the court's sole discretion to make exceptions due to:
1. the nature and complexity of the case;
2. an attorney’s experience;
3. the nature and disposition of the defendant;
4. a language consideration;
5. a conflict of interest;
6. the availability of an attorney, taking into consideration an immediate need to address issues involved in the case; 
7. geographical considerations;  and
8. other relevant factors.
B. If the court in its sole discretion varies from the rotation basis, it may appoint any qualified attorney, whether or not the attorney is on the court-appointed attorney list.
VI. REMOVAL AND REINSTATEMENT FROM APPOINTMENT LISTS
A. Judges will monitor attorney performance on a continuing basis to ensure the competency of attorneys on the lists. An attorney may be removed from the appointment lists by a majority vote of county and district court judges.
B. If an attorney is under consideration for removal from the lists, a written notification will be given to the attorney, indicating the concerns with the performance giving rise to consideration for removal, and the attorney will be given the opportunity to respond in writing or in person before a final decision is made.
C. An attorney who has been removed from the lists may be considered for reinstatement by a majority vote of the judges, after the deficiencies contained in the notice have been resolved.
Rule 11-15 approved January 14, 2015.
 The court may appoint an attorney present in court when a defendant appears and wants to speak to an attorney immediately to discuss a resolution of the case. The court may also appoint an attorney who is known to be available on the next regularly scheduled court date.
 The court may appoint an attorney who is in the closest geographical proximity to the court before considering the appointment of another attorney in order to avoid the costs of travel time for attorneys and mileage expenses, for the convenience of a defendant in consulting with a local attorney; and for the convenience of the court in scheduling cases.