By Jeanne Flaherty

With the belt-tightening measures implemented at the Court and the reduction in staff, civil case management can no longer continue as we know it. High-maintenance is out of style and a streamlined version of the program, still in compliance with state statutes, is in the making.

This will be a win-win situation, with fewer case management hearings overall. Individual hearings to monitor proof of service and default, and the associated work for court personnel, will be eliminated.

Instead, the clerk who files the complaint will generate a Notice of Case Assignment and Scheduling Information to be served along with the Complaint. The Notice will contain a date for a case management conference (CMC) in Department 22B at about five months after filing. This will be a mandatory appearance for attorneys and pro per parties (in person or by phone) where remaining service and default issues can be addressed; the parties will provide the case management attorney with upto-date information about the status of the case for purposes of trial setting and alternative dispute resolution. In most cases participants will get their trial date at the CMC. The Court believes that this new process will help to minimize the delay that occurs between submission of case management statements and the notification of the trial dates. Further, status hearings inDept.22Bregarding appeals and bankruptcies will be eliminated.

Attorneys and parties will still be responsible for complying with the service and default timeframes set forth in statutes and rules, but the Court will not be involved up front in looking over anyone’s shoulder. Failures to timely comply prior to the CMC without a showing of due diligence will be subject to sanctions. Our target for implementation is September 4. Questions and comments should be directed to the court program manager responsible for civil case management, Robert Bayer at robert.bayer@ventura.courts.ca.gov or (805) 662-6694.

Jeanne Flaherty is Senior Case Management Attorney and Judge Pro Tem for the Ventura Superior Court’s Department 22B.

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