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How Differentiated Case Management Has Affected Litigation


During the COVID-19 shutdown, courts shut down for all but the most necessary cases and functions. The result when the world went back to normal was a backlog of cases; way more than the system had ever been designed to handle, putting cases on a waiting list for trials that was often years long.

Differentiated Case Management

The solution? Differentiated case management. This means that cases were assigned to time schedules, with assigned deadlines for certain milestones in a case. Whereas, pre-COVID and pre differentiated management, cases could potentially drag on, indefinitely, now, there were deadlines for everything—to conclude discovery, or hire expert witnesses, or produce certain evidence, as well as an established trial date.

This has led to good and bad, for people who find themselves in court.

More Expensive? No, But Faster

It may seem like litigation is more expensive, but it is not. It only seems that way, because now, cases move faster—when they move faster, more things happen at one time or in a shorter, more compact amount of time so it seems like litigants are spending more money.

In reality they are spending the same money on attorneys fees and other litigation related expenses, it’s just that they incur those fees in a shorter period of time with the promise that the case will move to a faster resolution.

Faster deadlines also means that if there will be any pretrial resolution, through settlement or mediation, that it may also happen faster, as parties now face the threat of spending litigation money faster. This can lead to a willingness for quicker pre-trial resolution of cases.

Better or Worse?

Whether more or less time to get to trial, or faster or longer drawn out cases is better or worse, depends on who you are and what you want.

In some cases, litigants may want a case to drag on and take as long as possible. Others (particularly those who feel they are owed money), want cases to move quicker, so they can get their judgment faster.

Types of Cases

All cases are assigned a schedule, depending on what kind of case that they are. The most complex types of cases are those that will likely have a lot of motions, perhaps multiple parties involved, there may be a lot of evidence that needs to be obtained, and a trial that could take many days.

These cases get the most time to do the things that need to be done, like completing dispositions, or filing pre-trial motions. These cases get assigned a trial date 24 months from the date of the filing.

Streamlined cases are those that are not contested, or where there is no jury that will be needed. Here, there will be a trial within 12 months.

General cases are anything else. It is up to the presiding judge to classify each case in one of these categories. Trials in general cases are usually scheduled at around 18 months.

We understand business litigation. Call the West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today.




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