As in California state court, ex parte applications may be made in federal court. However, they are proper only in limited situations, such as ministerial matters (e.g., to file an oversized brief), scheduling matters (e.g., to shorten time or extend time to plead), and genuine emergencies (e.g., temporary restraining orders). Ex parte applications in federal court generally follow the same format as in California state court. The application should contain a memorandum of points and authorities, supporting declaration(s), and a proposed order. Local Rules should always be checked for your district.
As in California state court, a party applying ex parte must make a reasonable effort, by telephone or in writing, to notify all other parties of the application. The declaration supporting the application must show the efforts to contact other counsel and whether any other counsel, after being advised of the date and substance of the proposed ex parte application, opposes the application.
If notification could not be not given, the declaration should set forth facts showing some reasonable excuse. Sometimes, there are reasons why the party applying for the order should not be required to inform the opposing party in advance (e.g., prejudgment attachment based on reasonable grounds to believe property will be transferred). (See FRCP 65(b); CD CA Rules 7–19 through 7–19.2; SD CA Rule 83.3(h); see also ND CA Rule 7–10.)