The Superior Court invites comments on a set of proposed initiatives, as described below, designed to make civil litigation more just, speedy, and inexpensive. These proposals would make significant changes in the conduct of civil litigation in the Superior Court. A link to each proposed initiative appears below. Comments should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to The Superior Court Working Group on Civil Litigation Options, c/o Maria I. Peña, Superior Court Administrative Office, 13th Floor, Three Pemberton Square, Boston, MA, 02108, on or before March 4, 2016.
The three proposed Superior Court initiatives are:
Menu of Options- Right to Individual Case Management and Tracking. A “menu” of options that would take the form of an individual case tracking order, at the option of the parties and with the approval of the Court. The parties would have the opportunity to agree to vary standard procedures in one or more ways, including the procedures that otherwise govern discovery, trial, and post-trial events. For example, the parties may agree to an early and firm trial date, with or without a jury, and with a variety of limits on the quantity and kind of evidence. Parties would seek an individual tracking order by filing a Motion for Case-Specific Management, which would be authorized by changes to Superior Court Standing Order 1-88 and a proposed new Superior Court Rule 20. Proposal 1 - Menu of Options
Pilot Program for Early Case Management Conferences for Qualifying Cases. A pilot program for early case management conferences in four case categories: real estate, construction, products liability, and employment discrimination. The proposed pilot program would provide an opportunity to assess the value of early case management conferences and the time required to conduct them. In each case included in the program, the Court would convene a conference with the judge and counsel within 90 days after service of process. Prior to the conference, the parties would be required to confer, to exchange written settlement proposals and responses, and to complete a standard form addressing case management. An amendment to Superior Court Standing Order 1-88 would establish procedures for the conferences, and provide the form for the parties to prepare and submit. In addition, to facilitate conducting the conference early in the life of the case, as provided in the proposed amendment to the standing order, the Superior Court would recommend that the Supreme Judicial Court amend Rule 4(j) of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure to reduce the time limit for service of process from the present 90 days to 30 days, or to provide for a more expeditious alternative similar to the process now used in federal court, where service is required only when a defendant fails to respond to notice by mail. Proposal 2 - Pilot Program [corrected January 25, 2016]
New Superior Court Rule on Expert Disclosure. As is already required by the court’s “Notice to Appear for Final Pre-Trial Conference” in Superior Court Standing Order 1-88, the new rule would require that unless the parties agree, or the court orders otherwise, each party shall set forth certain information in the final pre-trial conference memorandum relating to any expert that a party intends to call at trial. Proposal 3 - Expert Disclosure
• Members of the Superior Court Working Group on Civil Litigation Options. Members of the Superior Court Working Group on Civil Litigation