The initial pretrial conference serves as the first opportunity for litigants to meet with the Court and discuss scheduling and the possibility of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation or arbitration. If parties choose not to use the Courts ADR they may still undertake ADR privately.
Following the initial pretrial conference, the parties will receive a Case Management Order. The CMO will set forth the following dates:
Final pretrial conference date
Dispositive motion deadlines (if necessary)
Discovery deadlines (if necessary)
Deadline for naming expert witnesses (if necessary)
Attorneys are encouraged to attend personally. However, the Court understands that out-of-town attorneys may want to appear by telephone. Please contact Judicial Assistant Lillian Mitchell at least three business days prior to the Initial Pretrial Conference for permission to appear by telephone.
While the Summit County Local Rule 8.01(D) sets forth various requirements for attorney preparation, Judge Stormers Court expressly does not follow that rule. Parties do not need to be present and attorneys need only to be prepared to discuss the basic theories of their case and have their calendars available for scheduling.
The Court requests all parties to provide all courtesy copies of motions and briefs electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: Courtesy copies are essential to a timely resolution of pending motions. The Clerks Docket typically runs about three weeks behind the date of filing. Absent a courtesy copy, the Court is simply unaware that a motion or brief has been filed.
The Court follows Local Rule 7.14 regarding the timely submission of motions and responses to them. A party may only extend that deadline with leave from the Court.
The Court encourages and allows parties to serve each other with pleadings electronically. However, electronic service of pleadings and courtesy copies do not replace traditional filing with the Clerk of Courts.
At the final pretrial conference attorneys should be prepared for an in-depth conversation about their case. This includes, but is not limited to discussion of:
Motions in Limine
Manner and method of presenting witnesses
For cases requiring the use of expert witnesses, please note that the Court requires only that a party name its expert. Opposing parties will then have 30-60 days to name their expert. The Court does not require parties to submit expert reports.
The Court, in its discretion, may order the parties to appear for a status conference during the course of litigation.
In cases tried to the Court, the judge does not formally require a written closing argument. However, written closing arguments are sometimes useful in cases involving complex legal issues or extensive computations of damages. The judge may impose of page limit for written closing instructions.
The Court begins voir dire at 9:00am on the first day of trial. The judge typically inquires of all jurors their age, education level, and current employment (if any). The judge will likely impose a time limitation for each side to conduct voir dire.
During trial, the Court encourages parties to use the available court technology for the presentation of evidence. A brief presentation can be found here. Court staff is available for support. Any party may contact the Court prior to trial for a tutorial and opportunity to use the available technology. The Court technology allows for teleconference at the partys own expense. If a party chooses to use teleconferencing, he or she must contact the Court at least three weeks prior to trial.