Saturday, January 24, 2009

Setting hearings in Madison County and Elsewhere (local rules)

What does it take to get a case in front of a judge? Quite a few things but Madison County (and some other courts) has a local rule setting out the mechanics of setting a hearing.

I wrote the following in my More counties with financial declarations, this list is not exhaustive:

Please, do not think this list exhausts all of Indiana's counties. Remember that the rules requiring financial declarations are local rules. However, the Indiana Judicial System has a trial courts page and from this page a one can find a county's local rules. Scroll down the page till you see a box indicating local rules and a link.
Starting off with Madison County:
A. Causes shall be calendared in consultation with opposing counsel and the
Court. In the event counsel are unable to agree upon a trial setting, the moving party may file a motion for trial setting with the Court. A proposed CCS entry shall be submitted by moving counsel, or party, confirming the hearing date, time, and hearing officer.
B. All motions for trial setting shall include:
1. a statement indicating whether the matter is to be tried by jury or by the Court;
2. a statement indicating the estimated time required for trial;
3. a statement indicating efforts to set the cause by agreement have been unsuccessful.
C. Except by special leave of Court, provisional hearings shall be scheduled not less than fifteen (15) days after the filing of the motion.
I wish "C" operated as the judges thought it would, but see my Madison County needs a new court for more on why it does not.

Hamilton County has a rule similar to Madison County:
205.10 All requests to schedule trials and hearings shall be in writing and shall contain the
following information:
a. Type of trial or hearing (i.e., jury trial, court trial, final hearing in dissolution, etc.).
b. A good-faith estimate of the total court time needed for the trial or hearing.
205.20 Each request under LR29-TR00-205.10 shall be accompanied by a proposed written order with appropriate blanks for date and time and shall further include reference to those items set forth in LR29-TR00-205.10(a) and (b).
205.30 Every opposing attorney or pro se litigant who receives such an order and disputes the estimate of court time needed for the trial or hearing shall notify the Court in writing within ten (10) days of the receipt of the original order and give their own good-faith estimate of the total
court time needed.
Here is the Blackford County rule:
(A) Calendar – The Court staff shall develop and maintain a calendar for all hearings and trials.
(B) Priority - Whenever the case load of the Court requires that trials and other matters be subject to multiple settings on the same date, the order in which said matters proceed will be determined by the Judge based on Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 4 in criminal cases, the age of the civil case and to the extent any priority issues are present.
(D) When counsel requests the Court set a hearing in a civil case, counsel shall contact opposing counsel and provide Court with tentative dates.
And now Marion County:
A. Setting Cases for Trial. Litigants desiring their cause of action to be set for trial shall file a written Praecipe for Trial which indicates whether a jury or court trial is requested. No trial date will be set unless a Case Management Order pursuant to Rule 16.1(B) has been filed. The Praecipe shall state the number of days needed to try the case.
B. Notice in Dissolution and Paternity Matters. In all dissolution or paternity matters, the Moving party or their counsel shall give notice of the time and place of the hearing or trial by subpoena, notice of hearing or letter, served upon the adverse party at least seven days prior to the trial date and file a copy of said notice with the Court on or prior to the trial date.
Henry County does not have a rule such as we have seen above but does have this:
(E) FRIDAY HEARINGS. Hearings scheduled in provisional matters, IV-D Child Support Matters, Contempt Citation and Visitation matters set on Fridays are not recorded and are set for a maximum of 15 minutes with only the parties as witnesses. If a party desires to have the matter recorded, has additional witnesses or believes the matter will take longer than 15 minutes then a continuance should be requested and the matter set on a day other than Friday.
Allen County has two rules that bear on this subject:
LR02-TR16-722 Case Management
(1) An initial Case Management Conference (CMC) shall be set in
every case where at least one-half day of trial is sought. When either party requests a Case Management Conference, the CMC shall typically be scheduled to occur within 30 days of the request. Absent leave of Court, trial dates for those matters of at least one-half day will not be assigned until after the CMC is held and after mediation had occurred. Trial dates for such cases will be assigned at a Pre Trial Conference (PTC).
(2) At the Case Management Conference, the Court will address and very likely order mediation, discuss family law arbitration, inquire of the matters at issue, discuss discovery, and schedule a Pre Trial Conference. Absent leave of Court, mediation must occur before the PTC is conducted.
(3) Should the case not be resolved at mediation, then at the PTC, the Court will inquire of the matters at issue, schedule primary and/or secondary trial dates, schedule a Final PTC, and establish discovery and other deadlines.
(4) Hearings requiring less than one-half day may be set upon request without a CMC. However, if the case involves matters where mediation is required regardless of the length of the hearing, such as one involving any issue concerning parenting time (e.g., parenting time modification, custody modification, contempt regarding parenting time, child support modification where the number of overnights is at issue) mediation must occur prior to the hearing unless prior leave of Court is otherwise
obtained. When mediation is required for hearings of less than one-half day, the moving party shall also file a motion for mediation prior to, or with the notice of hearing.
(5) Case Management Conferences may be set in any matter and at any procedural phase if helpful to assist the parties and the Court in efficient management of the case. Parties represented by counsel need not personally appear at the CMC or PTC unless otherwise ordered by the Court. The party requesting the CMC shall submit a “Notice of Case Management Conference” (similar to a Notice of Hearing) when requesting the date for the CMC.
(6) Cooperative Divorce. Parties formally engaging in the Cooperative Divorce process shall be provided priority settings for Case Management Conferences and will be afforded other such procedural assistance as appropriate to assist in expediting their cooperative process.

LR02-TR73-723 Hearings
(1) Hearings will be limited to the time scheduled on the calendar, and it shall be the responsibility of the moving party to ensure adequate time is reserved for the completion of the hearing. Should the parties be unable to complete the hearing within the scheduled time, the hearing will be continued and reset on the calendar, unless otherwise directed by the Court. In the event a party files subsequent motions after the matter is set for hearing, the subsequent motions will be heard only if time permits. If
time does not permit the subsequent motions to be heard, the motions shall be reset.
(2) Not all family relations hearings are electronically recorded. It is the parties’ responsibility to request an electronic recording if they desire the same. Absent such a request, the recording might not be made.
(3) At a hearing for provisional orders, a party may elect to present
evidence in a summary manner or by direct testimony. If evidence is presented in a summary manner, then the party presenting the evidence shall be sworn under oath and verify the representations made by counsel. The rules of evidence with respect to hearsay shall apply unless waived by the parties. If an attorney makes a representation by an individual who is not a party during a summary presentation of evidence, that individual must be present to verify the statement. At a provisional order hearing each party shall be allotted one-half of the total hearing time, with the initiating party having the right to reserve a portion of their allotted time for rebuttal. (4) Protective Order hearings shall not be heard in summary manner absent leave of Court. However, Protective Order hearings must be concluded in the time allotted. The Court may set parameters to ensure the timely conclusion of the hearing.
(5) Subject to approval by the Court, the parties by agreement may present evidence at any hearing in a summary manner consistent with the procedures used for a provisional orders hearing.
Of the other counties I generally practice in, these counties lack a local rule on trial settings: Tipton, Boone, Grant, and Hancock. Delaware County has a rule (LR18-AR00-DLR-002)about setting criminal and civil jury trials but nothing about family law cases. Likewise, Howard County has a rule that I do not read as being applicable to family law cases:

Unless otherwise ordered by the court at the pre-trial conference, when more than one case is set for trial on a given date, the case set second shall be required to stand for trial if counsel is given five (5) days notice, excluding Saturday and Sunday, that the case first set will not be heard.

Counsel for all other subsequent settings are required to comunicate with each other and counsel for the first and second settings to determine priorities.

Counsel shall inform the court at least fourteen (14) days before the trial is scheduled to commence excluding Saturday and Sunday, of the need to call a jury.

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