Court Watch

Hawai'i trial attorneys and appellate court attorneys


Friday, November 04, 2005

Did the Attorney General Make any Progress?

Sept 10, 1997 A Justice Official testified before Congress to the following:

One of the Attorney General 's top priorities is to achieve a just resolution of federal court cases as quickly as possible. The Department has been very active in promoting the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (''ADR'') and other ways to streamline federal litigation, including cases involving property rights under the Fifth Amendment. In fact, the Department worked closely with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (''CFC'') to develop that court's ADR rule, referred to as General Order No. 13, which allows for the use of settlement judges, mini-trials, and other ADR techniques.
(emphasis added)

Anyone seen any streamlining in federal court over the last seven years?

Anyone believe that ADR has streamlined his or her caseload?

Isn't it easier to just provide trial time for the civil cases? All the judges have to do is set time limits on the trial. Time limits help the trial attorneys. The big worry for trial attorneys when they have huge amounts of time is making sure every piece of evidence be submitted to avoid criticism after the trial is over. "If only you had offered another expert" or "put into evidence those old telephone books" then "we might have won the case." With time limits we don't hear that very much. With time limits a trial attorney can't put in everything, and shouldn't put in everything even if he could. The jury might lynch him.

It is better to just go to trial and get a verdict. If it settles before that--great. Pushing ADR after the a complaint has been filed is too late. If one is so inclined--go to ADR before the case is filed.

Does anyone agree that trial courts should provide trial time and skip the "marriage" counseling popularly know as ADR?

Maybe this is a minority viewpoint.

By the way, the Department of Justice testimony was given on proposed legislation called THE TUCKER ACT SHUFFLE RELIEF ACT OF 1997; H.R. 992.

Here is the story behind the odd name for the bill as explained by the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lamar S. Smith:

In our judicial system, an individual who seeks to contest a government taking or infringement of his or her property faces unreasonable confusion and costs in negotiating their way through the legal process. Private property owners whose rights have been trampled must choose between suing for injunctive relief in the Federal district courts or monetary relief in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Many times the government argues that one court cannot decide on the relief sought until the other court has made a determination on the relief within that court's jurisdiction. As a result, citizens with limited resources are shuffled back and forth.
(emphasis added)

Therefore we had legislation called: THE TUCKER ACT SHUFFLE RELIEF ACT OF 1997; H.R. 992

The Bill apparently didn't make it all the way.


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