What’s a Docket Control Number?

Before I began working on a massive bankruptcy litigation in the Eastern District of California, I’d never heard of the term “Docket Control Number.” The Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California appears to be the only federal court in California whose Local Rules mandate its use. See Local Rule 9014-1, subd. (c).

The Docket Control Number tells the Court, at a glance, which party has submitted a motion or related paper, and how many previous motions that party has submitted. It must be placed on the caption page of every motion and motion-related filing.

The DCN consists of three letters, which should be the attorney’s first, middle, and last initial or first three initials of the law firm’s name. The three initials are followed by a dash and the and the number that is one number higher than the number of motions previously filed by that attorney or law firm in a specific bankruptcy case or adversary action.

In practice, attorney Melody A. Duck’s first motion in the bankruptcy petition case would be: MAD-1. If Melody also represents a party in an adversary action, her first motion in the adversary action would also have a DCN of MAD-1. Her reply papers related to that first motion would still have a DCN of MAD-1. But her second motion would be designated with a DCN of MAD-2.

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