Quick Tips

Quick Tips for Federal Rules of Procedure
guest author: Candy J. Ryan, CRP

The Federal Rules of Procedure are your go to for preparation for trial in any matter; of course you must also refer to Local Rules of Court and the Judge's Rules of Court for any additional deadlines and forms of documents required by your assigned judge. The scheduling order issued by the court may contain some or all of the relevant deadlines but it is always a good idea to review and calendar any additional statutory deadlines along with the court's deadlines. I have prepared charts for relevant district courts and for some judges for use in calculating my deadlines and calendaring the same.

Below are the most relevant rules of procedure to use in preparing for trial.

Time Limit for Service: Deadline to serve a defendant

90 days after complaint is filed, the court must dismiss the

FRCP 4(m)

Deadline for Defendant to answer Complaint

Must be served within 21 days after being served with summons and complaint;
If it has timely waived service within 60 days after the request for waiver was sent

FRCP 12(A)(i)
FRCP 12 (A)(ii)

Deadline for Court to issue scheduling order

A judge MUST issue a scheduling order within 90 days after any Defendant has been served with a complaint or 60 days after any defendant has appeared

FRCP 16(b)(2)

Deadline to serve a notice of hearing on a motion

Must be served 14 days before the hearing

FRCP 7(c)(1)

Deadline to Amend pleading

21 days after serving it; or 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or motion

FRCP 15(1)(A)-(B)

Deadline to respond to amended pleading

14 days after service of amended pleading

FRCP 15(a)(3)

Deadline to file appeal

Within 14 days after the order is entered

FRCP 23(f)

Deadline to reply to an answer - A party must serve a reply to an answer

Within 21 days after being served with an order to reply

FRCP 12(1)(C)

Deadline to file Counter Claim - A party must serve an answer to a counterclaim or crossclaim

Within 21 days after being served

FRCP 12(1)(B)

Deadline to file Motion to Strike

Within 21 days after being served with the pleading

FRCP 12(f)(2)

Deadline for Parties to confer on Rule 26(a)(1) conference

Within 21 days before a scheduling conference is to be held or scheduling order is due

FRCP 26(f)

Deadline for Initial disclosures

A party MUST make the initial disclosures at or within 14 days after the Parties' Rule 26(f) conference; unless stipulated

FRCP 26(a)(1);
FRCP 26(a)(C)

Deadline to file a disclosure statement identifying any parent corporation and any publicly held corporation owning 10% or more of its stock ("certificate of Interested parties")

File the disclosure statement with the first appearance, pleading, petition, motion , response or other request addressed to the court

FRCP 7.1(b)(1)

Deadline for the parties to confer regarding discovery planning

At least 21 days before scheduling conference

FRCP 26(f)(1)

Deadline for parties to file proposed joint discovery plan

At least 14 days before scheduling conference. Check local rules and court's rules for any form of "report" or "Order".

FRCP 26(f)(2)

Early Rule 34 Requests

Can be delivered more than 21 days after summons and complaint served; DEEMED served at first Rule 26(f) conference

FRCP 26(d)(2)(A)-(B)

Deadline for filing Motion for Summary Judgment

30 days after close of discovery

FRCP 56(b)

Deadline to designate Expert Witnesses and provide report

No later than 90 days before trial setting

FRCP 26(a)(2)(D)(i)

Deadline To designate Rebuttal Experts

No later than 30 days after the other parties' disclosure

FRCP 26(a)(2)(D)(ii)

Deadline for Pretrial Disclosures

30 days before trial: (1)Name address and telephone number of each witness; (2) designation of witnesses testimony expect to present by deposition; (3) identification of each document or exhibit to be offered

FRCP 26(a)(3)(A)(i)-(iii)

Deadline to object to Pretrial Disclosures

14 days after they are made: any objections to deposition designations and objection to admissibility of exhibits

FRCP 26(a)(3(B)

Deadline for proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law

otherwise stated on the record after close of evidence at trial


Deadline FILE bill of costs

14 days after trial


Deadline to file Motion for New Trial

28 days after entry of judgment

FRCP 60(b)


Candy J. Ryan, CRP, is currently employed as a litigation paralegal at the firm of Beirne Maynard & Parsons. She has extensive experience handling such diverse matters as commercial litigation, insurance defense, bankruptcy, business and corporate, probate and trust, real estate, trucking and railroad, as well as family law. Ms. Ryan has ably assisted attorneys with commercial and business litigation case management, including but not limited to, preparing and responding to discovery requests, records retrieval, review and analysis, as well as preparing for trials, arbitrations, depositions and hearings and has participated in evidentiary presentations at trial and arbitration. She is experienced in the preparation and filing of pleadings, documents and discovery in both federal and state courts in numerous jurisdictions, including, Texas, California, Washington, Oregon, Arkansas, Oklahoma and others. Ms. Ryan has been an active part of the legal community since 1980, having worked in Seattle, San Diego, and Dallas. She earned her B.A. degree from California Creek University. She is a graduate of the University of San Diego, ABA accredited Paralegal Studies Program and has specialized in litigation for more than 25 years. In addition, Ms. Ryan is one of the initial 16 paralegals to be certified by the National Federation of Paralegal Association (NFPA) as a CORE Registered Paralegal in the state of Texas and one of the first 200 CRPs in the United States. She has also served as chair of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association Litigation section since 2009, was former president (2011), president-elect (2010), education vice president (2012-2013) and currently serves on the Everest College Paralegal Program Advisory Commission (2009-2015).

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