Committee Notes on Rules—1998 Amendment
The Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104–317, repealed paragraphs (4) and (5) of 28 U.S.C. §636(c). That statutory change means that when parties consent to trial before a magistrate judge, appeal lies directly, and as a matter of right, to the court of appeals under §636(c)(3). The parties may not choose to appeal first to a district judge and thereafter seek discretionary review in the court of appeals.
As a result of the statutory amendments, subdivision (a) of Rule 3.1 is no longer necessary. Since Rule 3.1 existed primarily because of the provisions in subdivision (a), subdivision (b) has been moved to Rule 3(a)(3) and Rule 3.1 has been abrogated.