Every few months or so, we take a fresh look at our Practices and Procedures with an eye toward if they’re working well in the application. We also consider if anything new should be added in light of recent experience. Thus, we have revised the Practices and Procedures as follows.
Rule 1.03, Subsection J Promptness for Court. This is a brand-new provision, which we have (unfortunately) found necessary. We simply put in writing what we thought was common courtesy: If you’re unavoidably running late for a scheduled Court appearance, please contact staff to let us and opposing counsel know. If you don’t, the Court might proceed with the hearing in your absence. Further, serial offenses might result in a referral to the Penalty Unit. We sincerely hope we don’t have to resort to that. Enough said.
Rule 2.03 Settlements. This is another new rule requiring notice to the Court Clerk and the judge’s legal assistant or staff attorney when a case settles prior to a scheduled hearing. Again, the genesis of reducing this to writing as a rule was that on more than one occasion, a judge spent significant time preparing for a hearing that never happened. Some of the judges regularly insert language to this effect in scheduling orders. Now it’s a part of the rules, too.
Rule 4.03 Recusal of Judge. We have fleshed out the procedure for parties seeking disqualification or recusal of a judge via a written motion. The motion must contain a supporting affidavit and other appropriate materials. The motion must additionally state the factual and legal grounds supporting disqualification and that it is not being made for any improper purpose. The judge will take no action on the case while the motion is pending except for good cause shown. Further, the resulting order is appealable.
Rule 8.04 Entry. New language to this rule authorizes the parties or counsel to bring it to the judge’s attention by contacting court staff to schedule a status conference if more than 30 days have passed since the judge took a matter or motion under advisement or more than 10 days have passed since the parties submitted a draft order. We’re human. Occasionally – rarely, we hope – something slips our minds. This rule simply allows parties or their attorneys to feel free to remind us if something appears to have fallen through the cracks.
Thanks in advance for your adherence to the rules.
Finally, please be advised that there will be no settlement approvals statewide on January 5 and 6 due to a judicial conference.
Happy holidays, and stay warm and safe!