As a specialist in the area of alternate dispute resolution , I read with interest comments recently made by Chief Judge Robert Morris. A Judicial Management Council is weighing a proposal to bring sweeping changes to Florida’s civil trial system. At a recent meeting he pointed out the struggle to resolve 2 million cases and goes on to state, “Just about every state and every jurisdiction has made an effort to manage this … the federal system did it decades ago,” Judge Morris said. “We need to do something about this and it’s our time to try and work on it.”
Judge Morris warned that lawyers and judges could find the proposed changes challenging to implement, at least at first.“People don’t like change,” he said. “This is a major paradigm shift.”
The proposal is based on a differentiated case management system that would require judges to divide cases into “streamlined,” “complex,” or “general,” categories, Judge Morris said.
Lawyers would be required to confer at the beginning of a case and craft a case management order that would set a trial date and deadlines for completing such tasks as discovery, dispositive motions, and depositions.
“The idea is that while there will still be pre-trial conferences at the discretion of a judge, they’re just not going to be as important as they once were because this case management order will set out the game plan early on,” Judge Morris said.
“Deadlines will be strict. Continuances are going to be very difficult to get in this new world,” he commented. “A trial continuance is going to be extremely difficult to get.”
* the full article can be sourced at The Florida Bar News Florida Bar News, Dec 06, 2021 By Jim Ash
Rich Smukler is a past Special Assistant Attorney General and Trial Lawyer from Pennsylvania with a deep appreciation of trial practice. As a Florida Certified Circuit and Family Mediator, Qualified Arbitrator, Finra Certified Mediator and Arbitrator, and Circuit and County Assistant Mediator Trainer, he has a broad understanding and profound respect for the process of Alternate Dispute Resolution.
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