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Litigation Quick Take: Trial Timetable - February 18, 2021

Joni L Ploeger

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Q:  I have been sued and want the matter to end quickly.  Why does it take so long to get to trial? 

A: Many factors impact when a case is ready for trial.  As discussed in another blog post, there are many stages to the litigation process:

  1. Commencing the action and filing an answer
  2. Conducting discovery
  3. Engaging experts
  4. Drafting pre-trial documents and motions
  5. Trial 

It can be very difficult to perform discovery and retain experts in a short timeframe, especially in a personal injury matter, where medical records need to be requested from various providers, treatment is still being undergone, and exams need to be scheduled around a doctor’s busy schedule. 

If there are many parties to a case, it can also be quite difficult to schedule depositions and the trial itself at a mutually agreeable time.  Judges have busy calendars too, especially in the more populous counties where it is very difficult to get a trial scheduled in less than a year after the petition was filed. 

If you have been sued and want a trial quickly, you can consider asking the other party to file a Joint Motion to Proceed as an Expedited Civil Action.  An expedited civil action limits the amount of discovery that can be conducted, the number of expert witnesses that can be obtained, and limited grounds for filing motions, which shortens the litigation timeframe.  However, the suing party must agree to this and even with an expedited civil action, it is not guaranteed that a trial will be conducted within one year of the petition.


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