1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTWESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSASMANUAL FOR pro se LITIGANTS(Revised 10/12) AND YOUR ..6 APPOINTMENT OF BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE .. AND manual was written and compiled for litigants who proceed on their own before theUnited STATES DISTRICT COURT for the WESTERN DISTRICT of Arkansas. The term, " pro se ", meansproceeding or appearing in COURT on your own, without an attorney. Some people appear pro se bychoice, and others do so because they either cannot afford an attorney or cannot find one willing torepresent manual CANNOT take the place of an attorney's legal advice. It is intended to be aprocedural guide to assist you in your litigation. It is by no means comprehensive and should onlybe viewed as an aid to assist you in understanding the basic terms and procedures in the COURT .
2 Youare advised that even though you are proceeding pro se you are still responsible for complying withthe Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, The Local Rules for the Eastern and WESTERN Districts ofArkansas, and the orders of the manual is divided into 6 sections, with information on those topics which most oftenneed explanation, as well as copies of forms for your USED IN FEDERAL : Papers filed by the defendant in response to the complaint. This represents thedefendant's side of what happened. It is not necessary to respond to the defendant's answerunless the defendant files a counterclaim or OF SERVICE: A document stating the date on which an exact copy ofthe filed document was mailed to a party or counsel. This document must be signed by theperson mailing the paper.
3 (See page 23) : Legal document that begins a civil action. It STATES the facts, identifies thedefendants, and the action the COURT is asked to : Claim made by the defendant against the : Claim made between codefendants or : The one/ones being : This term refers to the information relevant to the case which is exchangedbetween the parties. Rules 26 through 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governdiscovery methods and process. These rules will help you understand whether certaindiscovery documents must be filed with the clerk s : To file a paper or other document is to place it in the official custody of the Clerk,in person or by mail. The date a document is filed is the date it is stamped "FILED" by : An application or request made to a COURT or judge for the purpose of obtaininga ruling or Order directing some act to be done in favor of the applicant, or movant.
4 Amotion can be made by the plaintiff or the defendant. The COURT may either hold a hearingon the motion, requiring the parties to appear, OR the judge may decide the motion lookingonly at the papers. A copy of Local Rule is attached for your reference. (See pages 27-28) If the motion is GRANTED the relief asked for in the motion is given to the one makingthe motion. If the motion is DENIED you do not get what you asked : An Order is issued by a judge or magistrate judge and usually directs the plaintiffor the defendant to do something. An Order may also be issued to deny or grant a : Plaintiff and defendant are parties to the lawsuit. They are called opposingparties or adversaries because they are claiming against each other. Parties are sometimesreferred to as LITIGANTS and the proceedings in COURT , SERVICE: Personal service is made by physically handing the summons andcomplaint to the individual defendant or his authorized representative, and the filing of anaffidavit with the COURT showing how and when personal service was made.
5 Personal servicemust be made by a non-party who is at least 18 years of age. Service of the summons andcomplaint may also be obtained by certified mail, return receipt requested, and the filing ofan affidavit with the COURT showing when service was obtained and attaching the : The person who is filing the complaint against someone or a company SE: Means you are filing a lawsuit on your own and will represent yourself in you cannot afford an attorney or you prefer to represent yourself, you may file a complaintor answer pro TO MOTION: Within 11 days from the date copies of a motion andsupporting papers have been served upon him, any party opposing a motion shall serve andfile with the Clerk a concise statement in opposition to the motion with supportingauthorities.
6 The failure to timely respond to any nondispositive motion may be adequatebasis for granting the relief sought in the : This is a formal command of the COURT , directed to the defendant, which letsthe defendant know that an action has been filed and an answer is expected. Rule 12 of theFederal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the defendant shall file an answer within 20days after being served with the summons and complaint, or if the defendant is the UnitedStates, an agency of the UNITED STATES , or an officer or employee of the UNITED STATES , 60days. (See page 15-16) Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that thesummons and complaint be served on the defendants within 120 days from the date of thefiling of the EXTENSIONS: Any party can make a request that they be given extra time to filepapers or answer a motion or complaint.
7 Reasons for the time extension should be includedwith the request. The fact that an extension is requested is no assurance that one will : A trial can be held before the judge with or without a jury. You may also consentto proceed before a UNITED STATES Magistrate Judge with or without a jury. IF YOU WANTA JURY YOU MUST REQUEST A JURY TRIAL IN YOUR COMPLAINT OR a jury trial has not been demanded or the case is not triable by jury, the judge will try thecase and make the final FOR FILING A CIVIL SUIT PRO must write your complaint yourself. We cannot help you do this. You may write ortype the complaint, or you may use the form complaint (if applicable) provided by the Clerk'soffice. A sample complaint form for employment discrimination actions can be found atpage 12.
8 If you do not use the form, your complaint should be double-spaced, on 8 x 11inch paper and typed, if possible. You should be as brief as possible. Handwrittencomplaints must be legibly written. You must sign the complaint and include your completeaddress and telephone number. Be certain to state what relief you are NEEDED: Summons: (this is to be filled out and returned to the Clerk's office to be signed and sealedand then returned to you for service upon defendant.) You must supply the Clerk's Officewith the original summons and a copy for each defendant to be served. (See pages 15-16)If the UNITED STATES government or one of its agencies is the defendant, you must also servethe UNITED STATES Attorney General and the UNITED STATES Attorney for the WESTERN Districtof you have been granted in forma pauperis status (filing fee waived) the DISTRICT judge ormagistrate judge may order service on the defendant(s) by the UNITED STATES Marshal' (CIVIL COVER SHEET): The original of this form needs to be submitted with thecomplaint.
9 (See pages 17-18.) FEE: The filing fee is $ the suit "in forma pauperis" means that you have shown the COURT you cannot pay thefiling fee and the COURT certifies that you do not have to pay the filing fee. If you want to fileyour suit in forma pauperis, you out Form AO 240 (Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis) and sign it. (Acopy of this form is included in this manual at page 19-20.) the COURT with one original and a copy of the complaint for each defendantand the you do not file the complaint in forma pauperis or the COURT denies you that status, it is upto you to pay the filing fee and obtain service on the defendants. You must also file a properreturn of service with the COURT , showing that the defendants have been served. (A formAffidavit of Service is included in this manual at page 22.)
10 Documents filed with the COURT after the filing of the complaint must also be served onthe defendants. You can do this by mailing a copy of the document to be filed to each of thedefendants or their attorney, and submitting to the COURT , with your original documents, acertificate of service. (See page 23.) This lets the COURT know that the defendants have beenserved a copy of the same document you are filing. Even if you have been granted in formapauperis status, the clerk's office or the Marshal will not serve any papers after the filingand service of the complaint. Be certain to keep copies of all your documents. The clerk'soffice is not obligated to provide copies of documents free of are required to advise the clerk's office of any change of address in order that you maybe advised of any developments in your an answer is filed, each party will receive a scheduling order setting a schedule fordiscovery and must furnish the original and one copy of all pleadings filed with the COURT .