After a personal injury lawsuit is filed, what happens at a case management conference?
Case management, which refers to the schedule of a case's proceedings, is a large part of the litigation process. Whether it's the filing of a complaint, the discovery process, or pre-trial motions, each stage comes with a scheduled timeframe in which it must be completed.
A case management conference is a critical component of court procedure that occurs before a trial even begins. Here's a general overview of how they work:
Purpose of a Case Management Conference
The case management conference helps the court keep track of the case and make sure it's proceeding as it should. It's a way for the court to "check in" and see if the parties:
- Have settled any contentious issues,
- Need to get more information from each other,
- Want to participate in a settlement process, or
- Are ready for the court to schedule a trial date.
The overall goal of a case management conference is to streamline the litigation process. The court wants to identify the essential issues in the litigation, and avoid unnecessary, burdensome, or duplicative discovery and other pretrial procedures in the course of preparing for trial.
Required Actions Before Conference
The case management conference requires certain actions by the parties; these requirements may vary by jurisdiction. For example, in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California, parties must:
- File a "Case Management Statement" by a stated deadline,
- Meet and talk with the other party prior to the conference, and
- Attend the conference.
Depending on where you are and your type of case, you may not be required to attend your case management conference. That being said, if you are required to attend but fail to show up, or if you fail to file necessary conference-related paperwork, you may face fines and run the risk that the court will decide against you in the case.
Because the rules on case management conferences vary, you'll want to consult with your personal injury lawyer to find out what's needed in your case.