If you have a case management conference (otherwise known as a “CMC”) or a Pretrial Conference (otherwise known as a “PTC”) scheduled in your civil case, you may be wondering what to expect.
In fact, the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure set forth what issues and matters the court will hear at a case management conference or pretrial conference.
Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.200, entitled “Pretrial Procedure,” sets forth the following:
Case Management Conference
At any time after responsive pleadings or motions are due, the court may order, or a party by serving a notice, may convene a case management conference. The matters to be considered by the court must be specified in the order or notice setting the conference. Furthermore, at a case management conference, the court may:
- schedule or reschedule the service of motions, pleadings, and other documents;
- set or reset the time of trials, subject to rule 1.440(c);
- coordinate the progress of the action if the complex litigation factors contained in rule 1.201(a)(2)(A)–(a)(2)(H) are present;
- limit, schedule, order, or expedite discovery;
- consider the possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and voluntary exchange of documents and electronically stored information, and stipulations regarding authenticity of documents and electronically stored information;
- consider the need for advance rulings from the court on the admissibility of documents and electronically stored information;
- discuss as to electronically stored information, the possibility of agreements from the parties regarding the extent to which such evidence should be preserved, the form in which such evidence should be produced, and whether discovery of such information should be conducted in phases or limited to particular individuals, time periods, or sources;
- schedule disclosure of expert witnesses and the discovery of facts known and opinions held by such experts;
- schedule or hear motions in limine;
- pursue the possibilities of settlement;
- require filing of preliminary stipulations if issues can be narrowed;
- consider referring issues to a magistrate for findings of fact; and
- schedule other conferences or determine other matters that may aid in the disposition of the action.
Reasonable notice must be given for a case management conference. On failure of a party to attend a case management conference, the court may dismiss the action, strike the pleadings, limit proof or witnesses, or take any other appropriate action.
It is important to remember that any documents that the court requires for any conference must be specified in the order.
After the action is at issue the court itself may or shall on the timely motion of any party require the parties to appear for a pretrial conference. At a pretrial conference, the parties and court will consider and determine:
- the simplification of the issues;
- the necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
- the possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and of documents that will avoid unnecessary proof;
- the limitation of the number of expert witnesses;
- the potential use of juror notebooks; and
- any matters permitted under subdivision (a) of this rule.
Twenty days notice must be given for a pretrial conference.
On failure of a party to attend a case management conference, the court may dismiss the action, strike the pleadings, limit proof or witnesses, or take any other appropriate action. It is also important to remember that any documents that the court requires for any conference must be specified in the order. Furthermore, orders setting pretrial conferences must be uniform throughout the territorial jurisdiction of the court.
The court must make an order reciting the action taken at a conference and any stipulations made. The order controls the subsequent course of the action unless modified to prevent injustice
Case Management Conferences in Complex Litigation
Cases which are designated as complex have their own separate rules governing case management conferences.
At the initial case management conference in a complex case, the court will set the case for trial. The trial date will be no sooner than six months, and no later than twenty-four months, from the date of the conference unless good cause is shown for more or less time.
After the initial case management conference, a case management order will be entered, which specifies certain dates, period case management conferences and hearings on lengthy motions, a briefing schedule, and a deadline for conducting alternative dispute resolution.
The court will also hold a final case management conference for complex litigation cases. The final conference will occur no later than ninety (90) days prior to the date the case is set for trial. At least ten days prior to the conference, the parties are to meet and prepare a case management report which includes the following:
- A list of all pending motions requiring action by the court and the date those motions are set for hearing;
- Any change regarding the estimated trial time;
- The names of the attorneys who will try the case;
- A list of the names and addresses of all non-expert witnesses (including impeachment and rebuttal witnesses) intended to be called at trial;
- A list of all exhibits intended to be offered at trial;
- Certification that copies of witness and exhibit lists will be filed with the clerk of the court at least 48 hours prior to the date and time of the final case management conference;
- A deadline for the filing of amended lists of witnesses and exhibits, which amendments shall be allowed only upon motion and for good cause shown; and
- Any other matters which could impact the timely and effective trial of the action.
Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.201 sets forth more procedures for complex actions. It is important to have experienced counsel who is familiar with the rules and procedures for complex litigation.
Contact the Attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.
The attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. are experienced in civil and commercial litigation. If you are involved in complex litigation, or if you have questions regarding whether you have a case, contact the civil litigation and commercial litigation attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. today.