CIVIL CASELOAD PROCEDURES

Judge Erik D. Price

FORMAT FOR PLEADINGS AND OTHER PAPERS

Please refer to GR 14 and LCR 10 for format requirements.

BENCH COPIES

All bench copies should be submitted on white paper.

LCR 40: TRIAL SCHEDULING (SCHEDULING CONFERENCE)

At the time a civil case is filed, the Clerk's Office will provide the plaintiff/petitioner with a Notice of Assignment/Notice of Trial Scheduling Date.  The Trial Scheduling Date is approximately 120 days subsequent to the date of filing and noted on the Trial Scheduling Docket on the assigned Judge's Civil Motion Calendar.  This is an administrative docket that is conducted by the assigned Judge's Judicial Assistant.  DO NOT CALL OR EMAIL THE COURT.  DO NOT APPEAR ON THE TRIAL SCHEDULING DATE.  Instead, file a completed Trial Scheduling Questionnaire by the deadline designated on the Notice of Assignment/Trial Scheduling Date.  (Click here for a blank copy of the Trial Scheduling Questionnaire.)  Once the completed Trial Scheduling Questionnaire(s) have been filed, the Case Scheduling Order (CSO) is prepared by the JA on or shortly after the trial scheduling date.  The JA will obtain the Judge's signature, file the original and mail a conformed copy to each party of record.

All parties must be served and file Notice(s) of Appearance AND Answer(s) (and Answer(s) to Counterclaim if applicable) before the trial scheduling date otherwise the trial scheduling date will be stricken.  Also, if the case is subject to Mandatory Arbitration, a Note for Arbitration should be filed and the trial scheduling date will be stricken.

The court will automatically strike the case from the trial scheduling docket if there is no Answer(s) (and Answer(s) to Counterclaim if applicable) or proof of timely service.  Parties will not receive further notice that the matter is stricken, and a party who wants to receive a trial date must file a Notice of Issue form to place the matter back on the trial scheduling docket and follow the trial scheduling procedure to obtain a trial date.

Failure to timely submit a completed trial scheduling questionnaire shall not be grounds to delay scheduling the trial, and it shall not be grounds to continue the trial date unless good cause is demonstrated.  All requests to continue a trial date, even if agreed, must now be scheduled for a motion hearing on the assigned Judge's civil motion calendar.  DO NOT CONTACT THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT BEFORE THE HEARING TO ASK WHAT TRIAL DATES ARE AVAIlABLE.  If the Judge grants the motion, then you must file a Notice of Issue to place the matter on the trial scheduling docket and follow the trial scheduling procedure to obtain a new trial date.

For further information see LCR 40.

CASE SCHEDULE ORDER

Once the Trial Scheduling Questionnaires have been filed, the Case Schedule Orders (CSO's) are prepared by the JA on or shortly after the trial scheduling date.  The JA will obtain the Judge's signature, file the original, and mail a conformed copy to each party.

FACT AND EXPERT WITNESSES

Fact witness disclosure shall include the name, address and telephone number, plus a brief summary of the witness' knowledge and expected testimony.  Fact witnesses discovered after the deadline must be disclosed within 4 business days after discovery by a party or counsel; and counsel shall be prepared to document the circumstances of discovery.  Fact witnesses disclosed after the deadline will be permitted to testify without sanction only upon a showing of exceptional circumstances.

Expert witness disclosure shall include a curriculum vitae from the expert, along with the expert's address and telephone number.  If an expert witness prepares a report, it must be delivered by the deadline date.  If the expert is not expected to prepare a report, all of the information required by CR 26(b)(5)(A) shall be disclosed by the deadline.  This provision does not preclude either party from seeking earlier discovery by other means.

PRETRIAL CONFERENCES

The Judge will confirm with counsel that the case is ready for trial.  Any motions in limine will be identified and are usually set for argument the Friday before the week of trial.  Compliance with ADR/Mediation/Settlement Conference will be confirmed.  The Judge will also instruct counsel as to jury instructions and/or proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.  The length of trial will also be confirmed.  The Judge does not necessarily require counsel to "bring" anything to the pretrial conference, however, appearance is mandatory. 

SPECIAL SETTINGS/MOTIONS

Special settings are difficult to arrange and must be approved on a case-by-case basis.  (Most civil matters can be dealt with on a Friday morning motion calendar.)  When noting dispositive and other complex motions, please email the JA (see LCR 7(b)(6)).  Motions must be confirmed through the Clerk's Office.  Click here to access the Clerk's Civil Confirmation page.  When confirming special settings, please cc the JA on your confirmation to the Clerk's Office.

BRIEFS-MEMORANDA

The judge requires that all briefs comply with LCR 10(d) & (e).  Briefs with multiple attachments and exhibits must be tabbed and if more than 1.5" thick, must be in a binder.  Judges have limited time to prepare for the Friday civil motion calendar.  Working copies should be well organized and attachments should be clearly marked and/or tabbed. 

JURY INSTRUCTIONS

Please comply with LCR 51 (b)(2)(C) and submit one copy cited and numbered and one copy uncited and unnumbered.  A copy provided in WORD format by email should be provided by 5PM one business day before the first day of trial.

TELEPHONIC HEARINGS (WITH JUDGE)

Telephonic hearings are difficult to arrange because of the court's busy calendar.  These requests are considered on a case-by-case basis so be prepared to give a detailed explanation as to why a telephonic hearing is being requested.

OTHER

Judges require that counsel be present in chambers at 8:30 a.m. on the first day of trial.  It is also required that counsel provide their proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on the Friday prior to the first day of bench trials as well as having exhibits pre-marked by the Clerk, with an exhibit book for the court on that Friday.  Judges require litigants to participate in mediation, ADR or Settlement Conference prior to the commencement of trial - failure to comply with this requirement may result in the trial date being stricken.

 

PLEASE READ AND BE FAMILIAR WITH

 THURSTON COUNTY LOCAL RULES