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Court Rule

N212B PreTrial and PreTrial Settlement Conferences

(a) A pre trial conference shall be held in all civil cases unless dispensed with by the Court as unnecessary, exempted by Order of the Supreme Court or subject to compulsory arbitration. A pre trial settlement conference shall be held upon motion of the parties or their counsel of record or upon order of Court following the pre trial conference.
(b) Only counsel fully familiar with the case and authorized by their clients to discuss settlement candidly shall appear at pre trial and pretrial settlement conferences. Counsel shall be prepared to discuss all phases of their case and are required to bring their files. In addition, counsel who attend settlement conferences must be authorized to enter into settlement agreements or shall have available in person or by telephone such persons who are empowered to enter into settlement agreements. If a party or his counsel fails to attend a conference or to comply with the provisions of this rule, the Court may, upon motion of opposing counsel, or upon its own motion, impose such sanctions as it deems appropriate under the circumstances.
(c) Pre Trial Conferences.
(1) The Court Administrator shall list for pre trial conference all civil cases upon receipt of a certificate of readiness or order of court directing same. Notice of the time and place shall be mailed to all parties or their counsel of record at least twenty (20) days before the scheduled conference. Any application for continuance of pre trial or discovery conferences on the list must be made to the assigned judge not less than seven (7) days prior to the scheduled conference. Only emergency applications will be considered thereafter. Failure to abide by this request will result in the imposition of sanctions.
(2) At least two (2) days prior to the pre trial conference, counsel for each party shall file with the Clerk of Courts Civil Division and deliver to opposing counsel a written pre trial memorandum which shall include:
(i) a brief narrative statement of all relevant facts which will be offered at trial;
(ii) a summary of all legal and factual issues;
(iii) the names and addresses of all witnesses to be called at trial with a notation of their purpose, e.g. liability, medical or other expert, damages, etc.;
(iv) a list of all exhibits to be used at trial;
(v) a list of the specific items and amounts of injury or damage which plaintiff claims and expects to prove at trial;
(vi) precise statement of proposed amendments to the pleadings, if any;
(vii) a statement of requested stipulations of facts or authenticity/admissibility of documents;
(viii) the advisability of a preliminary reference of issues to a master for findings to be used as evidence at trial;
(ix) the estimated length of trial; and
(x) the most recent demand/offer of settlement.
(3) At the pre trial conference of all appeals from awards of Boards of View, counsel for each party shall also produce:
(i) All maps, photographs, and other physical exhibits which they propose to introduce into evidence. The exhibits so produced shall be properly marked by the court reporter, and the pre trial judge shall rule on the admis-sibility of each exhibit produced. No exhibit shall be admitted at trial which has not been produced and ruled admissible at the pre trial conference.
(ii) A written summary description with the place of record, sale price and time of sale, of no more than five (5) property sales which each party proposes to offer at trial as comparable sales. At trial, no comparable sale will be permitted to be offered into evidence which has not been so produced at the pretrial. The trial judge shall rule on the admissibility of the comparable sales offered into evidence.
(4) Counsel shall produce at the conference copies of all documents, actuarial tables, and photographs proposed to be offered at the trial, and all physical exhibits which can reasonably be produced. If an exhibit cannot be produced because of size or unavailability at the time of pre trial, it must be made available for inspection by opposing counsel under such conditions and at such time as shall be required in the pre trial order. Duplicate copies of all bills, estimates, medical reports, hospital records, and other documents proposed to be used at trial shall be brought to the conference and exchanged with counsel for the other parties unless the exchange was previously made or unless protected as attorney's work papers. Where appropriate, executed medical and hospital authorizations shall also be exchanged at the conference.
(5) At trial the parties will be limited to those witnesses, exhibits and documents divulged at pre trial, unless opposing counsel waives such restrictions or the Court finds such limitation to be manifestly unjust. If a party has indicated that he will call a specific witness, he will be expected to produce that witness at trial unless he has given to opposing counsel at least seven (7) days' notice prior to trial that he does not intend to call such witness. Failure to give such notice shall subject a party to such penalty or sanction as the Court in its discretion may impose.
(6) During the course of the pre trial conference or at its conclusion, the pre trial judge may make an order or orders reciting the action taken, including any amendments to pleadings agreed upon, admissions of fact, notation of exhibits to be admitted without formal proof, limitations on the number of expert witnesses, agreements or stipulations between counsel, or any other appropriate matters. The order shall control the subsequent course of action, shall be subject to change by the Court to prevent manifest injustice. The order of the pre trial judge may include a requirement that one or more of the parties submit a trial brief, or a statement of legal authorities relied upon, or may make such other requirement of the parties as the circumstances may indicate in the discretion of the Court. Normally such an order will require submission of the requested material at least ten (10) days before trial. The pre trial judge shall certify that the case is ready for trial, order it to the next available trial list, or enter such other order concerning trial readiness as may be deemed appropriate.
(d) Pre trial Settlement Conference. At all pre trial settlement conferences counsel, in addition to the requirements of (b) hereof, shall be prepared to discuss with the settlement conference judge any further simplification of the issues and other matters which will aid in disposing of the action.
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Created at 1/29/2016 8:41 AM by Vitek Gajewski
Last modified at 1/29/2016 8:41 AM by Vitek Gajewski
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