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:This actually seems like a decent option for certain
• 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.
Does anyone think we should try something like this in our own district?