“Case management” is a term that refers to the steps that judges take to move civil cases to trial as quickly as possible.
Typically, a case management conference takes place at court about three or four months after a lawsuit is filed. One of the most important issues at this conference, is whether the case should be referred to arbitration or mediation. If it is referred to arbitration or mediation, the judge requires that it take place in three or four months. After arbitration or mediation, there is another case management conference unless the case is settled.
Prior to the case management conference, the lawyers usually are required to confer about the topics that will be discussed at the conference. A typical court rule governing that meeting is as follows:
Subd. (f) [Meet and confer requirement]
Unless the court orders another time period, no later than 30 calendar days before the date set for the case management conference, the parties must meet and confer, in person or by telephone, to consider each of the issues identified in (e) and, in addition, to consider the following:
(1) Resolving any discovery disputes and setting a discovery schedule;
(2) Identifying and, if possible, informally resolving any anticipated motions;
(3) Identifying the facts and issues in the case that are uncontested and may be the subject of stipulation;
(4) Identifying the facts and issues in the case that are in dispute;
(5) Determining whether the issues in the case can be narrowed by eliminating any claims or defenses by means of a motion or otherwise;
(6) Possible settlement; and
(7) Other relevant matters.
Not later than 15 calendar days before the date set for the case management conference, each party must file a case management statement. In some courts, this must be a joint statement, signed by all the parties’ attorneys.
A typical agenda for the case management conference is as follows:
Subd. (e) [Subjects to be considered at the case management conference]
In any case management conference or review under this rule, the parties must address, if applicable, and the court may take appropriate action with respect to, the following:
(1) Whether there are any related cases;
(2) Whether all parties named in the complaint or cross-complaint have been served, have appeared, or have been dismissed;
(3) Whether any additional parties may be added or the pleadings may be amended;
(4) Whether, if the case is a limited civil case, the economic litigation procedures under Code of Civil Procedure section 90 et seq. will apply to it or the party intends to bring a motion to exempt the case from these procedures;
(5) Whether any other matters (e.g., the bankruptcy of a party) may affect the court’s jurisdiction or processing of the case;
(6) Whether the parties have stipulated to, or the case should be referred to, judicial arbitration or any other form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and, if so, the date by which the ADR must be completed;
(7) Whether an early settlement conference should be scheduled and, if so, on what date;
(8) Whether discovery has been completed and, if not, the date by which it will be completed;
(9) What discovery issues are anticipated;
(10) Whether the case should be bifurcated;
(11) Whether there are any cross-complaints that are not ready to be set for trial and, if so, whether they should be severed;
(12) Whether the case is entitled to any statutory preference and, if so, the statute granting the preference;
(13) Whether a jury trial is demanded, and, if so, the identity of each party requesting a jury trial;
(14) If the trial date has not been previously set, the date by which the case will be ready for trial and the available trial dates;
(15) The estimated length of trial;
(16) The nature of the injuries;
(17) The amount of damages, including any special or punitive damages;
(18) Any additional relief sought;
(19) Whether there are any insurance coverage issues that may affect the resolution of the case; and
(20) Any other matters that should be considered by the court or addressed in its case management order.