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, and was initially scheduled for an eighteen-month trial period. The pilot project was extended on November 28, 2012, to run for an additional eighteen months, to expire October 31, 2014.

The pilot project provided for an early and comprehensive initial pretrial conference, at which parties stated their positions on a number of issues and recommended limitations on fact and expert discovery. On November 14, 2014, the Court entered an order recognizing the completion of the project. The order recognized that judges may continue to treat any case as complex if they so choose and to abide by any, or all, of the provisions of the pilot project. In addition, practitioners can agree to voluntarily implement any, or all, of the provisions of the project they select. The Bench and Bar is urged to consider the provisions as best practices, and the plan remains available on the court’s website for reference. The Federal Judicial Center is expected to publish an evaluation of the pilot project.

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