Monday, July 18, 2011

Why Would Anyone Want an Expedited Trial?

If you're a civil litigator like me, you enjoy discovery disputes, extended motion practice over the location and timing of depositions, lame and meaningless efforts at striking claims and defenses, multiple attacks on the form and content of the pleadings, lengthy expert depositions filled with high drama, sj motions at nearly every stage of the case, motions directed at jurisdiction and venue, and reams of motions in limine assuming you ever get that far.

Oh yeah I forgot the rare and elusive trial, desperately coveted by litigators but usually the result of lawyers failing to get their case into a posture where both sides can find an acceptable if imperfect resolution.

Still, there are always efforts to streamline this glorious process, the latest coming from the Northern District of California which has introduced an expedited trial program:
The nuts and bolts of the program include the following:

   •   The program is consensual and binding;

   •   A case may be tried to a judge or jury;

   •   To participate, the parties execute an “Agreement for Expedited Trial and Request for Approval”;

   •   Expedited time schedules and rules of procedure begin when the court approves the Agreement;

   •   The goal is to try the case in six months;

   •   Discovery is limited to ten interrogatories, requests for production and request for admission each and 15 hours of deposition time to be used at the party’s discretion;

   •   Experts are limited to one per side absent agreement of the parties or leave of the court;

   •   Pretrial motions require leave of court and may not exceed three pages;

   •   Neither the terms of the Agreement nor its existence may be revealed to the jury;

   •   Juries will consist of six jurors which may be reduced to five should a juror become unable to serve;

   •   The judge conducts jury voir dire and sets time limits for openings and closings;

   •   Each side is allowed three hours per side for presentation of its case, including cross-examination;

   •   Post-trial motions are limited to recovery of costs and attorney’s fees;

   •   Grounds for new-trial motions and appeals are limited.
This actually seems like a decent option for certain yacht-damage cases.

Does anyone think we should try something like this in our own district?


Anonymous said...

It already exists. But without discovery and vöir dire, and with 2 month trials. But only if you client is facing prison time.

Anonymous said...

i, for one, want no part in building a lightbulb that never dies. but then again, i'm selfish like that.

Anonymous said...

"Litigators" push paper. Trial lawyers try cases. There is a difference.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Judge Huck

Anonymous said...

9:11, spoken like an ignorant douchebag.

Anonymous said...

"trial lawyer" = wannabe

Robert Marley said...

No! We need the system to collapse!

The only solution is total destruction.

Kissimmee Kid said...

Dear 9:57;

Touched a nerve did he?


Anonymous said...

7:56 has a point; lets convert the civil system to the crim system. more trials, less litigation, would be better for the system

Anonymous said...

Looks like I did touch a nerve. I'll take on any one of you "commercial discovery" douchebags in a real courtroom any day, any time. Never fails to amaze me how crappy these "great litigators" are when they actually have to talk to a jury. Easy pickins.

9:11. Just a shitbag ambulancce chaser, that's me.

Anonymous said...

Have fun in county court douchebag.

litigationtech said...

Expedited trials can certainly give more citizens their "day in court," which is part of the reason for AB 2284. I've posted an article describing the benefits of Expedited Civil Jury Trials, and how to prepare & present them.

Anonymous said...

Discovery is a creature of Equity. Equity is evil.

See, e.g., Bleak House.

Anonymous said...

there already is an expideted track in the So. Dist. the one time I asked for it, opposing counsel objected and I got standard track. said...

Here, I do not actually imagine it may work.