(a) In formulating the provisions of its civil justice expense and delay reduction plan, each United States district court, in consultation with an advisory group appointed under section 478 of this title, shall consider and may include the following principles and guidelines of litigation management and cost and delay reduction:
(1) systematic, differential treatment of civil cases that tailors the level of individualized and case specific management to such criteria as case complexity, the amount of time reasonably needed to prepare the case for trial, and the judicial and other resources required and available for the preparation and disposition of the case;
(2) early and ongoing control of the pretrial process through involvement of a judicial officer in—
(A) assessing and planning the progress of a case;
(B) setting early, firm trial dates, such that the trial is scheduled to occur within eighteen months after the filing of the complaint, unless a judicial officer certifies that—
(i) the demands of the case and its complexity make such a trial date incompatible with serving the ends of justice; or
(ii) the trial cannot reasonably be held within such time because of the complexity of the case or the number or complexity of pending criminal cases;
(C) controlling the extent of discovery and the time for completion of discovery, and ensuring compliance with appropriate requested discovery in a timely fashion; and
(D) setting, at the earliest practicable time, deadlines for filing motions and a time framework for their disposition;
(3) for all cases that the court or an individual judicial officer determines are complex and any other appropriate cases, careful and deliberate monitoring through a discovery-case management conference or a series of such conferences at which the presiding judicial officer—
(A) explores the parties' receptivity to, and the propriety of, settlement or proceeding with the litigation;
(B) identifies or formulates the principal issues in contention and, in appropriate cases, provides for the staged resolution or bifurcation of issues for trial consistent with Rule 42(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;
(C) prepares a discovery schedule and plan consistent with any presumptive time limits that a district court may set for the completion of discovery and with any procedures a district court may develop to—
(i) identify and limit the volume of discovery available to avoid unnecessary or unduly burdensome or expensive discovery; and
(ii) phase discovery into two or more stages; and
(D) sets, at the earliest practicable time, deadlines for filing motions and a time framework for their disposition;
(4) encouragement of cost-effective discovery through voluntary exchange of information among litigants and their attorneys and through the use of cooperative discovery devices;
(5) conservation of judicial resources by prohibiting the consideration of discovery motions unless accompanied by a certification that the moving party has made a reasonable and good faith effort to reach agreement with opposing counsel on the matters set forth in the motion; and
(6) authorization to refer appropriate cases to alternative dispute resolution programs that—
(A) have been designated for use in a district court; or
(B) the court may make available, including mediation, minitrial, and summary jury trial.
(b) In formulating the provisions of its civil justice expense and delay reduction plan, each United States district court, in consultation with an advisory group appointed under section 478 of this title, shall consider and may include the following litigation management and cost and delay reduction techniques:
(1) a requirement that counsel for each party to a case jointly present a discovery-case management plan for the case at the initial pretrial conference, or explain the reasons for their failure to do so;
(2) a requirement that each party be represented at each pretrial conference by an attorney who has the authority to bind that party regarding all matters previously identified by the court for discussion at the conference and all reasonably related matters;
(3) a requirement that all requests for extensions of deadlines for completion of discovery or for postponement of the trial be signed by the attorney and the party making the request;
(4) a neutral evaluation program for the presentation of the legal and factual basis of a case to a neutral court representative selected by the court at a nonbinding conference conducted early in the litigation;
(5) a requirement that, upon notice by the court, representatives of the parties with authority to bind them in settlement discussions be present or available by telephone during any settlement conference; and
(6) such other features as the district court considers appropriate after considering the recommendations of the advisory group referred to in section 472(a) of this title.
(c) Nothing in a civil justice expense and delay reduction plan relating to the settlement authority provisions of this section shall alter or conflict with the authority of the Attorney General to conduct litigation on behalf of the United States, or any delegation of the Attorney General.
References in Text
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsec. (a)(3)(B), are set out in the Appendix to this title.