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FAQs

  • How are the judicial districts and counties in Arkansas divided?

    Arkansas is divided into two judicial districts known as the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas. The list below shows how the counties in Arkansas are divided between the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas. See 28 U.S.C. § 83. This list should assist you in determining which district and which division to file your lawsuit.

    The Eastern District of Arkansas has five divisions:
     

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
    FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
    Division Counties Included Court Location Pleadings Filed at:
    Northern Division 1 Cleburne, Fulton, Independence Izard, Jackson, Sharp, Stone No Facility in this Division U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    Richard Sheppard Arnold United States Courthouse
    600 West Capitol, # A149
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    Eastern Division 2 Cross, Lee, Monroe, Phillips, St. Francis, Woodruff Courtroom 314
    U.S. Courthouse & Post Office
    617 Walnut St.
    Helena, AR
    U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    Richard Sheppard Arnold United States Courthouse
    600 West Capitol, # A149
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    Jonesboro Division 3 Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Greene, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Randolph Courtroom 319 or 324
    U.S. Courthouse & Post Office
    615 South Main Street
    Jonesboro, AR
    U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    615 South Main Street, Rm. 312
    Jonesboro, AR 72401
    Western Division 4 Conway, Faulkner, Lonoke, Perry, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Saline, Van Buren, White, Yell Richard Sheppard Arnold United States Courthouse
    600 West Capitol Avenue
    Little Rock, AR
    U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    Richard Sheppard Arnold United States Courthouse
    600 West Capitol, # A149
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    Pine Bluff Division 5 Arkansas, Chicot, Cleveland, Dallas Desha, Drew, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln No Facility in this Division U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    Richard Sheppard Arnold United States Courthouse
    600 West Capitol, # A149
    Little Rock, AR 72201

     

     The Western District of Arkansas has six divisions:

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
    FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
    Division Counties Included Court Location Pleadings Filed at:
    El Dorado Division 1 Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Columbia, Ouachita, Union United States Post Office & Courthouse
    101 South Jackson Avenue
    El Dorado, AR
    United States Post Office & Courthouse
    101 South Jackson Avenue
    El Dorado, AR 71730-6133
    Fort Smith Division 2 Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Polk, Scott, Sebastian Isaac C. Parker Federal Bldg
    South Sixth St. & Rogers Avenue
    Fort Smith, AR
    U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    Judge Isaac C. Parker Federal Bldg
    Room 1038
    30 S. 6th Street
    Fort Smith, AR 72901
    Harrison Division 3 Bxter, Boone, Carroll, Marion, Newton, Searcy J. Smith Henley Federal Bldg
    402 North Walnut Street
    Harrison, AR
    U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    523 Federal Building
    35 East Mountain Street
    Fayetteville, AR 72702-6420
    Texarkana Division 4 Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Sevier U.S. Courthouse & Post Office
    500 State Line Blvd.
    Texarkana, AR
    U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    302 U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
    500 State Line Blvd.
    Texarkana, AR 75504-2746
    Fayetteville Division 5 Benton, Madison, Washington John Paul Hammerschmidt Fed Bldg
    35 East Mountain St.
    Fayetteville, AR
    U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    523 Federal Building
    35 East Mountain Street
    Fayetteville, AR 72702-6420
     
    Hot Springs Division 6 Clark, Garland, Hot Spring, Montgomery, Pike U.S. Post Office & Courthouse
    100 Reserve Street
    Hot Springs, AR
    U.S. District Court Clerk's Office
    347 U.S. Post Office & Courthouse
    Reserve and Broadway Streets
    Hot Springs, AR 72902-4143

     

  • Where should I file my pleadings?

    The Clerk's office in the Eastern District of Arkansas maintains staffed offices at Little Rock and Jonesboro for the filing of pleadings and documents conventionally (in paper) with the Court in connection with a civil or criminal case. In civil matters, pleadings should be filed in the office of the Clerk designated in Local Rule 77.1. When a Clerk is unavailable, they may be filed in any one of the staffed offices. All pleadings in all criminal matters are to be filed in Little Rock.

    The Eastern District of Arkansas also allows registered attorneys to submit documents electronically for filing with the Court using the Case Management Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system. Detailed information concerning electronic filing can be found on our web site under "Electronic Case Filing" or by contacting the Clerk's office at 501-604-5323 (local) or 1-866-449-2550 (toll free).

  • How are cases assigned?

    All civil and criminal actions are assigned by a random selection process in order to ensure that the identity of the judge is not disclosed before the case is officially filed. The Clerk's Office uses an automated case assignment system to randomly assign cases to judges. The system consists of an electronic deck of cards for each of the 32 case categories (e.g., civil cases assignment, Title VII cases, social security, prisoner, etc.). Each card in the deck represents a judge. When a new case is filed, the Clerk's Office will draw a new judge from the system. A district judge along with a magistrate judge is assigned to each civil action.

    Direct Assignment of Cases (General Order No. 39)

    Civil cases shall be assigned directly to a particular judge only in following circumstances:

    Voluntary Nonsuit: When the plaintiff takes a voluntary nonsuit in a case and subsequently refiles that same case.

    Bankruptcy Jury Trials: When a party to a bankruptcy case demands a jury trial, the randomly drawn district judge who determines that there is a bona fide jury issue shall be assigned the case directly.

    Habeas Corpus Petitions: Once a habeas corpus petition has been randomly assigned, all successive petitions emanating from the same state criminal proceedings on which the first petition was based shall be assigned directly to the judge/magistrate judge who handled the first petition.

    Civil Cases Attacking a Federal Sentence: Civil cases, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, attacking a sentence imposed by a federal court shall be assigned to the sentencing udge in the criminal case.

    Related Cases : A situation where a party believes that a new civil case should be directly assigned to a particular judge because the new case is closely related to a prior closed case and the assignment thereof to a different judge would result in a significant waste of judicial time.

    For further details see Local Rule 40.1, Assignment of Actions and Proceedings, and General Order 39, Case Assignments in the Eastern District of Arkansas.

  • Which judge is assigned to the case?

    You can find this information by:
     
    accessing the PACER system and searching our Electronic Case Filing system by case number or party name;
     
    visiting the Clerk's office and using the PC at the intake counter to conduct a search of our Electronic Case Filing system;
     
    contacting the Clerk's Office by telephone and asking for this information. The telephone numbers for the Clerk's Office are as follows: Little Rock 501-604-5351 and Jonesboro 870-972-4610.

  • When will a case go to trial or when will a motion be set for a hearing?

    These questions can be answered by the courtroom deputy for the judicial officer assigned to the case. Please contact the following Clerk's Office personnel for this information:

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGES
    Judge Courtroom Deputy Telephone Number
    Susan Webber Wright Cecilia Norwood 501-604-5104
    Billy Roy Wilson Melanie Beard 501-604-5144
    J. Leon Holmes Cory Wilkins 501-604-5384
    Brian S. Miller Lori Cayce 501-604-5404
    D. P. Marshall Jr. Sherri Black 501-604-5414
    Kristine G. Baker Tracy Washington 501-604-5424
    James M. Moody Jr. Kacie Glenn 501-604-5154
     
    UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGES
    Judge Courtroom Deputy Telephone Number
    J. Thomas Ray Tenesha Brown 501-604-5234
    Beth Deere Suzy Flippen 501-604-5114
    Joe J. Volpe Lorna Jones 501-604-5194
    Jerome T. Kearney LaShawn Coleman 501-604-5174
    Patricia S. Harris Colleen DuBose 501-604-5184

     

  • Has a pleading or an order been filed?

    You can find this information by:

    Accessing the docket sheet via Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) through the Court's website (www.are.uscourts.gov) or through the PACER system (www.pacer.gov). You will need a log-in and password, and PACER fees apply when accessing this information.

    Visiting the Clerk's office and using the public access terminal to view the docket sheet in our CM/ECF system.

    Contacting the Clerk's office by telephone and asking for this information.

  • What are the time limits for filing different pleadings?

    THIRD PARTY COMPLAINT (Fed. R. Civ. P. 14(a)(1))

    Without permission of the Court: Within 14 days after serving its original answer

    Permission of the Court: Anytime after 14 days after serving its original answer.

    ANSWER (time for serving a responsive pleading under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12)

    21 days from date of service of summons and complaint [Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(1)(A)(i)];

    60 days after request for waiver of service is sent (under 4(d)) or 90 days after it was sent to the defendant outside any judicial district of the United States [Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(1)(A)(ii)];

    21 days after being served with the pleading that states the counterclaim or cross claim [Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(1)(B)];

    60 days after service on the United States [Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(2)].

    ANSWER (Effect of Motion under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12)

    (A) If the court denies the motion or postpones its disposition until trial, the responsive pleading must be served within 14 days after notice of the court’s action or (B) if the court grants a motion for a more definite statement, the responsive pleading must be served within 14 days after the more definite statement is served. [Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(a)(4)]

    ANSWER TO A REMOVED CIVIL COMPLAINT [Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(c)(2)]

    A defendant who did not answer before removal must answer within the longest of these periods:

    (A) 21 days after receiving – through service or otherwise – a copy of the initial pleading stating the claim for relief; (B) 21 days after being served with the summons for an initial pleading on file at the time of service; or (C) 7 days after the notice of removal is filed.

    RESPONSE TO MOTION

    Within 14 days from the date copies of a motion and supporting papers have been served, a party opposing a motion shall file a concise statement in opposition with supporting authorities. [Local Rule 7.2].

    REPLY BRIEFS

    There are no provisions for a reply brief, except for summary judgment motions, where a reply can be filed within seven (7) days [L.R. 7.2(b)]. A good practice would be to notify chambers of the judge assigned to the case that you wish to file a reply and obtain a specific due date.

    DISCOVERY

    Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(d)(1), disclosures under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1) or (2) and the following discovery requests and responses must not be filed until they are used in a proceeding or the court orders filing:

    Depositions and Deposition Notices

    Interrogatories

    Requests for documents or tangible things or to permit entry upon land

    Requests for Admissions

    MOTION FOR COSTS

    A request for costs should be made by filing a motion with the Court.

    OBJECTIONS TO THE BILL OF COST

    14 days after service of the Bill of Costs. [Local Rule 7.2(b)]

    ATTORNEY FEES

    14 days after entry of judgment [Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2)(B)(i).]

    OBJECTIONS TO A MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S RULING

    14 days after being served with a copy of the order. [Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2)]

    NOTICE OF APPEAL

    (Civil Case)

    30 days from entry of judgment or order; 60 days if case involves the United States of America. [Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)]

    (Criminal Case)

    14 days after the entry of the order disposing of the last remaining motion, or within 14 days after the entry of the judgment of conviction, whichever period ends later; 30 days if USA files the appeal. [Fed. R. App. P. 4(b)]

  • What are your general filing requirements?

    Our district's filing requirements are explained in our local rules, namely Rule 5.5 and 7.2

    Number of Copies Required

    An original of all pleadings, together with two copies shall be filed with the Clerk. [See Rule 5.5] The original pleading will be retained by the Clerk, one copy will be placed in the press box located in the public area of the Clerk's Office, and one copy will be placed in the mail box of the appropriate judicial officer. If you wish to obtain a file stamped copy of your records, you must provide an extra copy along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

    Format and Style

    All pleadings shall be typewritten, photocopied, mimeographed, or printed in type not less than elite, in double space on letter size (8 1/2 x 11) paper, and shall be filed by the Clerk unfolded and without manuscript covers. Attorneys shall take notice of case numbers assigned to each case and shall place such numbers upon all pleadings, orders, and judgments.

    Signature of attorney, address, telephone number, and Arkansas Supreme Court Identification Number

    Every pleading filed in behalf of a party represented by counsel shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in his or her individual name, and the attorney's address, zip code, and telephone number, and Arkansas Supreme Court identification number, or other Supreme Court identification number, if applicable, shall be stated. It is the duty of each attorney to promptly notify the Clerk and the other parties to the proceedings of any change in his or her address. Note: To ensure that your new address or telephone number is recorded correctly, please notify the Clerk's Office of any changes by separate letter.

    Motions

    All motions except those mentioned below shall be accompanied by a brief consisting of a concise statement of relevant facts and applicable law. Both documents shall be filed with the Clerk, and copies shall be served on all other parties affected by the motion.

    Motions Not Requiring a Brief

    No brief is required from any party, unless otherwise directed by the Court, with respect to the following motions:

    To extend time for the performance of an act required or allowed to be done, provided request is made before the expiration of the period originally prescribed, or as extended by previous order.

    To obtain leave to file supplemental or amended pleadings.

    To appoint an attorney or guardian ad item.

    To permit substitution of or substituted parties or attorneys.

    Statements in Opposition

    Within fourteen (14) days from the date copies of a motion and supporting papers have been served upon him, any party opposing a motion shall serve and file with the Clerk a concise statement in opposition to the motion with supporting authorities. If a motion requires consideration of facts not appearing of record, the parties may serve and file copies of all photographs, documents, or other evidence deemed necessary in support of or in opposition to the motion, in addition to affidavits required or permitted by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [Local Rule 7.2(b)]

    Temporary Restraining Orders & Motions for Preliminary Injunctions

    Pretrial motions for temporary restraining orders, motions for preliminary injunctions, and motions to dismiss, will not be taken up and considered unless set forth in a separate pleading accompanied by a separate brief.

    Note: When a motion for a temporary restraining order or an application for a preliminary injunction is properly filed and requires an immediate hearing, counsel should promptly notify chambers staff or the courtroom deputy clerk for the judge assigned to the case to arrange for a subsequent court hearing.

    Discovery

    Pursuant to FRCP 5(d), disclosures under FRCP 26(a)(1) or (2) and the following discovery requests and responses must not be filed until they are used in a proceeding or the court orders filing:

    Depositions and Deposition Notices

    Interrogatories

    Requests for Documents or to permit entry upon land Requests for Admissions

    The following chart lists specific discovery documents that can and cannot be filed with the Court in light of the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rules that took effect December 1, 2000.

    Guidelines for Filing Discovery Documents in All Pending Civil Cases:

    Initial Disclosures pursuant to FRCvP 26(a)(1) are not to be filed.

    Expert Disclosures pursuant to FRCvP 26(a)(2) are not to be filed.

    Pretrial Disclosures pursuant to FRCvP 26(a)(3) are to be filed. (See Local Rule 26.2)

    Item No. Discovery Document File (Yes/No) Explanation
    1. Witness Lists pursuant to FRCvP 26(a)(3)(A) (See Local Rule 26.2) Yes Permits the filing with the Court.
    2. Exhibit Lists pursuant to FRCvP 26(a)(3)(C) (See Local Rule 26.2) Yes Permits the filing with the Court.
    3. Objection to Exhibit and, Witness Lists pursuant to FRCvP 26(a)(3) Yes Advisory Committee Notes state that materials under (a)(3) and any objections should be filed promptly.
    4. Rule 26(f) Report Yes Local Rule 26.1 requires that the FRCv.P 26(f) report be filed with the Court. (See Local Rule 26.1 for details of report).
    5. Requests for Production of Documents No FRCvP 5(d)(iii) restricts filing.
    6. Interrogatories No FRCvP 5(d)(ii) restricts filing.
    7. Answer to Interrogatories No Yes
    8. Objections to Interrogatories No FRCvP 5(d). As a "response to" interrogatories, it should not be filed.
    9. Requests for Admission No FRCvP 5(d)(iv) restricts filing.
    10. Responses to Requests for Admission No FRCvP 5(d). As a "response to" requests for admission, it should not be filed.
    11. Objections to Requests for Admission No FRCvP 5(d). As a "response to" the requests for admission, it should not be filed.
    12. Notice of Deposition No FRCvP 5(d). Advisory Committee Notes state that "discovery requests include deposition notices..."
    13. Depositions No FRCvP 5(d)(i) restricts filing.
    14. Objection to a Deposition No FRCvP 5(d). Advisory Committee Notes states: "Discovery requests include deposition notices and discovery responses include objections."
    15. Objection to Use of Deposition Designated by Another Party (Rule 32) pursuant to FRCvP 26(a)(3)(B). Yes FRCvP 26(a)(3)(B) states that a party may serve and file promptly a list of any objection.
    16. Objection to Admissibility of Material under Rule 26(a)(3)(C) s Yes FRCvP 26(a)(3)(C). A party may serve and file promptly a list disclosing objections.
    17. Request to Permit Entry on Land No FRCvP 5(d)(iii) restricts filing.
    18. Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law No Local Rule 5.5(f) allows parties to submit directly to chambers. Clerk's Office will receive stamp and forward to chambers if requested by party.
    19. Response to Proposed Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law No Filing prohibited based on former Local Rule 5.5(f) that was amended on 12/1/00. Clerk's Office will receive stamp and forward to chambers if requested by party.
    20. Objection to Magistrate Judge's Proposed Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law Yes No Cite.
    21. Trial Briefs No Local Rule 5.5(f) requires that parties submit doc. directly to chambers. Clerk's Office will receive stamp and forward to chambers if requested by party.
    22. Response to Trial Briefs No Filing prohibited based on the former Local Rule 5.5(f). Clerk's Office will receive stamp and forward to chambers if requested by party.
    23. Proposed Jury Instructions No Local Rule 5.5(f) requires parties to submit directly to chambers. Clerk's Office will receive stamp and forward to chambers if requested by a party.
    24. Response to Proposed Jury Instructions No Filing prohibited based on the former Local Rule 5.5(f). Clerk's Office will receive stamp and forward to chambers if requested by a party.

     

    Pro Se Party Requirements

    It is the duty of any party appearing pro se (i.e., not represented by counsel) to promptly notify the Clerk and the other parties to the proceedings of any change in his or her address, to monitor the progress of the case, and to prosecute and defend the action diligently. A party appearing for himself/herself shall sign his/her pleadings and state his/her address, zip code, and telephone number. If any communication from the Court to a pro se plaintiff is not responded to within thirty (30) days, the case may be dismissed without prejudice. Any party proceeding pro se shall be expected to be familiar with and follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

    Submission to Judge (Not the Clerk's Office)

    Proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, trial briefs, and proposed jury instructions, and responses thereto shall not be filed with the Clerk's Office; they should be submitted to the judge to whom the case is assigned, with copies served upon all other parties.

  • What is needed to file a civil complaint?

    At the time of filing a new civil action, the plaintiff is required to submit to the Clerk's Office the following documents:
     

    An original plus two copies of the signed complaint (the plaintiff may wish to submit a sufficient number of copies of the complaint for service on each named defendant and to receive a file-marked copy back for his/her own files);

    a completed JS-44 Civil Cover Sheet;

    a completed summons for each named defendant;

    a $400 filing fee (no fee required if the United States is the plaintiff).

  • When and how can an amended complaint be filed?

    A party may amend its pleading as a matter of course
     
    within 21 days after serving it; or,
     
    if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e) or (f) whichever is earlier.
     
    Otherwise, leave of court or written consent of the adverse party must be obtained [Fed R.Civ.P.15(a)].

    A party who moves to amend a pleading shall attach a copy of the amendment to the motion. The motion must contain a concise statement setting out what exactly is being amended in the new pleading - e.g. added defendant X, adding a claim for X, corrected spelling. Any amendment to a pleading, whether filed as a matter of course or upon a motion to amend, must, except by leave of Court, reproduce the entire pleading as amended, and may not incorporate any prior pleading by reference. The party amending shall file the original of the amended pleading within seven (7) days of the entry of the order granting leave to amend unless otherwise ordered by the Court. The requirements for amending pleadings set forth in this subsection of Rule 5.5 shall not apply to parties proceeding pro se. [Local Rule 5.5(e)]

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