In what could be a major change for state court litigation, the Mississippi Supreme Court is requesting comments about proposed amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure. The proposals include mandatory scheduling orders and trial settings for civil actions.
Here is the Court’s entire document on the proposals.
Here is the Advisory Committee on Rules’ Motion to amend Rule 16. The motion opens:
Over the past several years, the Mississippi Supreme Court has referred to the Committee various inquiries and requests from members of the Mississippi Bar asking for consideration of a rule requiring mandatory scheduling orders/trial settings. After due consideration and discussion, the Committee determined that a rule pertaining to scheduling orders and trial settings would be beneficial to both the bench and the bar.
Here is Anderson’s post on the proposal.
Under the proposal, the lawyers are responsible for drafting the order. Further, “as the proposed amendment mandates all the deadlines, there is no room for disagreement among the attorneys and, therefore, no need to involve the judge.”
The amended rule would mandate deadlines similar to federal court orders. The trial date would have to be scheduled for a window 12-18 months from the date of the entry of the scheduling order.
As an LSU fan, I have a tendency to nitpick wins. “Yea, we won the game. But Les Miles’ game management gives me a heart attack, the quarterback play sucked and we should have won by two touchdowns.”
I’m not doing that here. I love the proposed amendment. Plus, it’s not like the Court can’t tweak it later. This is long overdue and much needed. We know this system will work better than the current system from our experience in federal court.
What I didn’t know was that members of the Bar could make requests to the Court for rule amendments. But since I know that now, let me take this opportunity to request a rule requiring judges in bench trials to issue a ruling within certain amount of time after the end of the trial. I know of instances where trial judges have taken years to rule in bench trials. Something needs to be done to address that.
I think my favorite bench trial was before Rankin County Court Judge Kent McDaniel. It took him all of a couple of minutes to rule. And my client lost, so that’s not what I liked about it.
Nothing tops the anxiety of waiting for a trial ruling. Anything that shortens it is a plus.