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New & Reassigned Cases

The Court will set all newly-filed and reassigned cases for an initial status hearing. If the defendant(s) have not been served by the initial status date, counsel for plaintiff is to contact this Court's courtroom deputy to reschedule the status hearing and the date for filing an initial status report.

If no defendant has appeared, or plaintiff is seeking a default, no status report is required.

The Court will also order the parties in all newly-filed and reassigned cases--except new cases concerning ERISA benefits, foreclosures, or John Doe copyright infringement actions--to file electronically prior to the initial status hearing a joint written status report, not to exceed three pages in length. The status report shall provide information about the case using the appropriate format described below.

Too often litigants are unaware of the efficiencies to be gained by having their cases tried before United States Magistrate Judges. Because they do not conduct felony criminal trials, they can often schedule civil trials more expeditiously than this Court. The Court strongly encourages counsel to inform their clients of this option, and to discuss it with opposing counsel. Click here for the Magistrate Judge Consent Form.


I.    New Case Status Report Format (see below for Reassigned Case Format):


(1) The Nature of the Case

  1. Identify the attorneys of record for each party, including the lead trial attorneys.

  2. State the basis for federal jurisdiction.

  3. Describe the nature of the claims asserted in the complaint and any counterclaims, including relief sought.


(2) Pending Motions and Case Plan

  1. Identify any pending motions.

  2. Confirm that the parties have read the Standing Order for the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project (MID) (available on the Northern District's home page). Describe your discussions regarding MID, including resolved and unresolved disagreements regarding such discovery.

  3. Submit a proposal for a discovery plan, including the following information:

    1. The general type of discovery needed;

    2. A date to issue written discovery not already covered under the mandatory disclosures required by the MID;

    3. If there will be expert discovery relevant to dispositive liability motions, an expert discovery completion date, including dates for the delivery of expert reports;

    4. A liability discovery completion date;

    5. A deadline to amend pleadings;

    6.  Scheduling of expert discovery relevant to damages should be deferred until it becomes necessary for a hearing or trial. The parties may suggest that expert discovery relevant to damages be scheduled sooner if they believe it is necessary. Generally, the time and expense of expert damage discovery should not be taken until any dispositive motions have been decided, to the parties agree that no such motions will be filed.

    7.  The Court generally approves parties' jointly proposed discovery plans, because the Court trusts that the parties will devise a schedule that both moves the case forward in an efficient manner and takes into account the parties' and counsel's other obligations. Since the Court will be generous in this regard, the Court will be reluctant to grant any extensions of this schedule.

  4. E-Discovery

    1. Indicate whether discovery will encompass electronically stored information, and the parties’ plan to ensure that such discovery proceeds appropriately;

    2. Indicate whether the parties anticipate any electronic discovery disputes and whether the parties would agree to submit an electronic discovery dispute to a mediator from the E-Mediation Panel.

    3. For more information regarding the Voluntary E-Mediation Program, please refer to:

  5. Indicate whether a jury trial is requested and the probable length of trial.


(3) Consent to Proceed Before a Magistrate Judge

  1. Indicate whether the parties consent unanimously to proceed before a Magistrate Judge for all matters in the case, including dispositive motions and trial.


(4) Status of Settlement Discussions

  1. Indicate whether any settlement discussions have occurred, and if so, the status of those discussion. Unless it is impossible due to the uncertainty of damages, plaintiffs should have made a demand by the first status conference.

  2. Whether the parties request a settlement conference before the Magistrate Judge assigned to the case.


II.   Reassigned Case Status Report Format:

(1) Nature of the Case

  1. Attorneys of record for each party.

  2. Basis for federal jurisdiction.

  3. Nature of the claim(s) and any counterclaim(s), including relief sought.


(2) Proceedings to Date and Discovery

  1. Summary of discovery that has been taken and remains to be taken.

  2. Depositions - approximate number taken and estimated number still to be taken.

  3. Discovery cut-off date, and whether that date will be met. If no discovery cut-off date has been set, please suggest one.

  4. Deadline to amend the pleadings. If no such date has been set, please suggest one.


(3) Pending Motions

  1. Description of all pending motions, and any briefing schedule set.

  2. Summary of all substantive rulings that have been entered.


(4) Trial

  1. Whether there has been a jury demand.

  2. Whether a trial date has been set; if not, the earliest date the parties anticipate being able to commence a trial.

  3. Whether a final pretrial order has been filed; if not, whether there is a deadline for filing a final pretrial order.

  4. Estimated length of trial.


(5) Referrals and Settlement

  1. The assigned magistrate judge and whether the parties have discussed consenting to having the magistrate judge conduct all further proceedings in the case, including trial.

  2. Whether any settlement discussions have occurred, the status of any such discussions, and whether referral to the magistrate judge for assistance in settlement would be helpful.

  3. Whether the parties would like a settlement conference with Judge Durkin.


(6) Any other information that the parties believe is pertinent to the Court's understanding of the status of the case.

Note: The court does not control nor can it guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this information. Neither is it intended to endorse any view expressed nor reflect its importance by inclusion in this site.