1. Plaintiffs shall not provide a trial date on the summary process summons and complaint but rather should indicate on the summons and complaint that the trial date is “to be determined by the court” or “TBD by the court.” The Trial Court’s promulgated summons and complaint form notifies the parties that the court will notify them of the date, time, and manner of the court event. The form may be found on the court's website.
2. In all summary process cases the court will notify the parties of the date and time of the first court event, which shall be a judicial case management conference. The case management conference will allow the court to explore the parties’ interest in mediation, discuss the availability of assistance with housing costs, and, while it remains effective, the requirements of the order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, effective September 4, 2020, (“CDC Order”), temporarily halting residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The conference will also provide an opportunity to establish stipulations, narrow the factual and legal issues to be addressed at trial, order continuances, establish discovery deadlines tailored to the specific case, and schedule urgent or dispositive motions, including motions to continue the case under § 2(b) of Chapter 257. If a defendant moves for a continuance under § 2(b) Chapter 257, such continuance shall be granted consistent with the requirements of said section for a period as the court may deem just and reasonable.
3. The answer to a summary process complaint shall be due no later than three business days prior to the date of the case management conference, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
4. If any case is referred to mediation, the case may be continued for a further case management conference. The court may also, at the request of the parties or at its discretion, continue any case for any reason if doing so will assist the parties with resolving the dispute. The court shall continue the case if the defendant moves, under to § 2(b) of Chapter 257, to continue the case and the court determines that the defendant satisfies the enumerated criteria in said section § 2(b) of Chapter 257. If the case has not been continued, is not referred to mediation, or an agreement is not reached, the case will be continued for a bench trial date no sooner than two weeks after the case management conference.
5. Failure to appear at the case management conference will not result in entry of a default or dismissal of the case. Instead, the case will be scheduled for a trial no sooner than two weeks following the date of the case management conference. If a party wishes to serve a discovery demand on the opposing party but has failed to appear at the case management conference, the party must, by motion, obtain approval of the Court to serve such demand. If a defendant requests a continuance under § 2(b) of Chapter 257, such continuance shall be granted consistent with the requirements of said section for a period as the court may deem just and reasonable.
6. Pursuant to § 2(b) of Chapter 257, the court shall not enter judgment in a residential nonpayment of rent case before an application for short-term emergency rental assistance has been approved or denied.
7. Any request for a transfer of the action under Uniform Summary Process Rule 4 shall be filed in both courts no later than the day before the commencement of the trial.