Rebuilding Justice
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Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

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In This Section

Advancing empirically informed models to promote greater accessibility, efficiency, and accountability in civil justice


Map View: Action on the Ground

State

Alabama: Expedited Civil Action Program

In 2012 the Alabama legislature passed SB 47 (Act 2012-492), which says that the Alabama Supreme Court shall adopt guidelines to promote the “prompt, efficient, and cost-effective resolution of civil actions” in circuit court in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $50,000.

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State

California: Expedited Jury Trials Act

In September 2010, the California legislature passed the Expedited Jury Trials Act, authorizing the California Judicial Council to establish a program under which parties could stipulate to a jury trial of eight or fewer jurors, a limit of three peremptory challenges per side, and a limit of three hours for each side to present its case.

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State

Colorado Civil Access Pilot Project
Applicable to Business Actions in District Court

On July 26, 2011, Chief Justice Michael L. Bender of the Colorado Supreme Court signed Chief Justice Directive 11-02 Adopting Pilot Rules for Certain District Court Civil Cases, amended June 2013. The Civil Access Pilot Project (CAPP) is designed to identify and narrow issues at the earliest stage, require ongoing and active case management and keep litigation costs proportionate to the issues being litigated.

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State

Delaware Court of Chancery: Rule Changes and Discovery Guidelines

The Delaware Court of Chancery amended its Rules regarding discovery on January 1, 2013 to “account for modern discovery demands” and to bring the Court’s rules in line with “current practice.” The Court has also expanded its Guidelines To Help Practitioners In The Court of Chancery to include guidelines regarding discovery.

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Federal

District of Delaware: Default Standard for Discovery, Including Discovery of ESI

On December 8, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware adopted a new Default Standard For Discovery, Including Discovery Of Electronically Stored Information (ESI). This new standard announces the expectation that parties reach cooperative agreements regarding discovery, but applies limited default standards in the absence of such an agreement or court order.

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Federal

District of Kansas: Implementing Recommendations of Rule 1 Task Force

Beginning in March 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas has been involved in an effort to ensure that civil litigation is handled in a “just, speedy, and inexpensive” manner, in accordance with Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Spearheaded by the court’s Bench-Bar Committee, the Rule 1 Task Force broke down into six working groups with corresponding recommendations.

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Federal

District of Nevada: Short Trial Program

The District of Nevada adopted General Order 2013-01, which implemented a Short Trial Program, in March 2013. The Short Trial Rules include the express purpose of expediting “civil trials (both bench trials and jury trials) through procedures designed to control the length of the trial, including, without limitation, restrictions on discovery, the use of smaller juries, and time limits for presentation of evidence.”

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Federal

District of Oregon: Local Rule Amendments Adopt Model Patent Order, Employment Protocols

On November 5, 2012, the United States District Court for the District of Oregon approved amendments to the Local Rules of Practice and Procedures. The amendments include adoption of two pilot projects that are being implemented around the country to focus and streamline discovery. The new amendments took effect March 1, 2013.

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State

Florida: Rules of Civil Procedure Addressing Electronic Discovery

In July 2012, the Florida Supreme Court adopted amendments to its Rules of Civil Procedure addressing electronically stored information. The amendments became effective on September 1, 2012.

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State

Iowa: Implementing Recommendations of Supreme Court Task Force for Civil Justice Reform

In December 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court established the Supreme Court Task Force for Civil Justice Reform to develop a blueprint for the reform of the state’s civil justice system. Iowa is beginning to implement the committee’s recommendations. As a first step, in December, 2012, the Iowa Supreme Court established a three-year pilot project for an Iowa Business Specialty Court for complex cases. The pilot project will begin accepting cases for management and case processing no later than May 1, 2013.

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State

Massachusetts Business Litigation Session Pilot Project

The Business Litigation Session (BLS) Pilot Project was implemented on a voluntary basis, effective January 4, 2010, for all new cases in Suffolk Superior Court’s BLS, and all cases that have not previously had an initial Rule 16 case management conference.

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State

Minnesota: Civil Justice Reform Task Force Leads to Rule Changes

The Minnesota Supreme Court received public comments on the Task Force recommendations in the fall of 2012, and issued amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure and the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts on February 4, 2013. The amendments adopt many of the recommendations of the Task Force.

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State

New Hampshire Proportional Discovery/Automatic Disclosure Pilot Rules Project

The PAD Pilot Rules Project was launched in Strafford and Carroll County Superior Courts on October 1, 2010, and applies to all new cases filed in those courts after that date.

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State

New York Task Force on Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century

New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman formed the Task Force on Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century to explore and recommend reforms to enhance the already world-class status of the Commercial Division of the New York Supreme Court. The Task Force submitted its final report in June of 2012.

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Federal

Northern District of California: Expedited Trial Procedure

The Northern District of California adopted an expedited trial procedure in June 2011. The procedure is “meant to offer an abbreviated, efficient and cost-effective litigation and trial alternative.”

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Federal

Northern District of California: Guidelines for the Discovery of Electronically Stored Information

On November 27, 2012, the Northern District of California unveiled new guidelines for the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI), an ESI checklist for use during the Rule 26(f) meet and confer process, and a model stipulated order. The guidelines were developed by a bench-bar committee chaired by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. LaPorte in partnership with the Rules Committee.

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State

Ohio: Task Force on Commercial Dockets

In April 2007, the late Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer announced the formation of the Supreme Court Task Force on Commercial Dockets. In December 2011, the Task Force submitted its final Report and Recommendations. In February 2013, the Supreme Court of Ohio adopted permanent rules.

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State

Oregon Expedited Civil Jury Trial Program

On May 6, 2010, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz signed an order implementing an expedited civil jury trial program in selected Oregon Circuit Courts. The goal of this program is to provide speedy and economical disposition of civil cases and to increase the use of jury trials to decide civil cases.

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State

Pennsylvania: Amended Discovery Rules

In June 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted amendments to its rules on discovery. The amendments are effective August 1, 2012.

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Federal

SDNY: Pilot Project Regarding Case Management Techniques for Complex Civil Cases

In early 2011, the Judicial Improvements Committee (JIC) of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York formed an attorneys’ Advisory Group, drawn from many sectors of the bar, to work with the JIC in developing a pilot project focused on the judicial pretrial case management of complex cases. The approved Pilot Project Regarding Case Management Techniques for Complex Civil Cases took effect on November 1, 2011.

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Federal

Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program

The Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program originated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as a response to widespread discussion about the rising burden and cost of electronic discovery. The effort was inspired by the ACTL Task Force and IAALS Final Report, as well as The Sedona Conference® Principles.

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State

South Carolina: Fast Track Jury Trial Process

On March 7, 2013, Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal of South Carolina entered an Administrative Order implementing a voluntary Fast Track jury trial process statewide. Along with the statewide expansion, the Court has also promulgated Rules and Procedures for the Fast Track jury trial process, which apply in the absence of agreement of counsel otherwise.

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Texas: Expedited Civil Action Program

In May 2011, the Texas legislature passed H.B. 274 relating to the reform of certain remedies and procedures in civil actions and family law matters. Among the bill’s provisions, article 2 authorizes the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules to promote “the prompt, efficient, and cost-effective resolution of civil actions.” The final rules went into effect on March 1, 2013.

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Federal

Texas: Model Order Regarding E-Discovery in Patent Cases

In February 2012, the Eastern District of Texas adopted a Model Order Regarding E-Discovery in Patent Cases. The Model Order provides clear and practical e-discovery rules for practitioners in patent cases in the Eastern District, including the extent of metadata disclosure, limitations on email production requests, and parameters for ESI production.

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State

Utah Expedited Jury Trials

Utah’s Expedited Jury Trials Act passed in March of 2011 and authorized the Judicial Council to create procedures for a pilot project for expedited jury trials in civil actions.

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State

Utah Rules of Civil Procedure

The Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure has been working for years to develop extensive changes to the civil disclosure and discovery rules, in an effort to reduce the cost and delay of civil litigation. After both an informal and formal notice and comment period, on August 29, 2011, the Utah Supreme Court approved the proposed amendments to Utah's Rules of Civil Procedure.

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Federal

Western District of Pennsylvania Pilot Program for Expedited Civil Litigation

The Western District of Pennsylvania now offers a voluntary Expedited Docket that includes initial disclosures within seven days of approval of the Stipulation designated the case as expedited, an Expedited Trial Conference after which the court will set a firm trial date, limited discovery to be completed within ninety days of the Expedited Trial Conference, and a trial no later than six months after the Expedited Trial Conference.

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Federal

Western District of Pennsylvania: E-Discovery Special Masters Pilot Program

Recognizing that complex electronic discovery issues are surfacing in an increasing number of cases, in November 2010 the Board of Judges of the Western District of Pennsylvania—through its Alternative Dispute Resolution Implementation Committee—approved the establishment of an EDiscovery Special Masters Pilot Program.

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Federal

Western District of Washington: Local Civil Rule Changes

The Western District of Washington amended its Local Civil Rules on December 1, 2012. The now defined purpose of the local rules is to “promote the just, efficient, speedy, and economical determination of every action and proceeding.”

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State

Wyoming Circuit Court Rules

Streamlined Circuit Court Rules that went into effect on July 1, 2011, provide for proportional discovery, early and active case management, and prompt trial settings.

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IAALS - Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

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