The minutes of the June 28, 2002, meeting were approved as distributed.
Discussion focused on Attachment 1A, having to do with the proposed civil case management rule and the amendments to the North Dakota Rules of Civil Procedure. It was identified that one very positive step is the elimination of the note of issue in the proposed rule. Members indicated that scheduling conferences are held upon request in the East Central, South Central, and Northwest judicial districts. The Southwest scheduling conferences are set for all civil cases.
Discussion then focused on the draft amendments to Rule 6.1, N.D.R.Ct., for continuances. There was discussion of the minutes of the previous meeting when the proposed amendment was suggested. There was some suggestion as to whether or not the amendment was really necessary. After considerable discussion, it was agreed that there should be some amendment and staff was directed to amend Rule 6.1 to provide language that continuances will not be granted by a trial judge unless an alternative date for trial is set within the docket currency standard, except for good cause shown.A. Attorney engaged.
There was consensus that the amendments to Rule 6.1 should be submitted to the presiding judges for consideration.
The Committee then discussed procedures that would be used for monitoring continuances. There was agreement that the procedures developed by the administrative office with input from clerks of court provide a mechanism to identify when continuances are granted and the party requesting the continuance. The Committee felt the information should be provided to the Council of Presiding Judges and they should be encouraged to develop a process for feedback for the monitoring of continuances.
The discussion then focused on the monitoring of administrative appeals. While Rule 9.1, N.D.R.Ct., provides procedures for dismissing administrative appeals, it is not tied to the generation of the transcript. The problem is that many times a notice of appeal is filed with the district court, yet the administrative agency is not directed to prepare the transcript as parties may not have the money for the transcript or they neglect to contact the administrative agency. Thus, the case sits in a pending status, yet the court cannot decide the case without a record of the agency proceeding. The case ages unnecessarily.
It was suggested to provide Rule 9.1, N.D.R.Ct., provide that a transcript must be filed within 60 days of filing of the action. If a transcript is not filed at the end of 60 days a notice to dismiss would be sent to the parties indicating the case would be dismissed in 30 days unless good cause was shown.
IT WAS MOVED AND APPROVED TO PROPOSE AN AMENDMENT TO RULE 9.1. STAFF WAS DIRECTED PREPARE LANGUAGE TO AMEND RULE 9.1.
Discussion then focused on trial court performance standards. The article included in the materials was reviewed. Ted Gladden reviewed the current monitoring process of Administrative Rule 12, the Docket Currency Standards. He indicated that, overall, the caseload is in good shape. However, court performance standards are a matter being addressed in many states. Performance standards have not been taken under consideration in North Dakota and they need to be studied.
Mr. Gladden discussed the status of the judicial evaluation system that is being implemented in North Dakota. He indicated a contract is being negotiated with the Bureau of Governmental Affairs at the University of North Dakota. He opined the process should be operational within 90 days. After further discussion, it was agreed the matter of performance standards should be left on the agenda for future Committee consideration.
Criminal Case Scheduling
Discussion then focused on criminal case scheduling. The problems in the Northwest judicial district were discussed. Connie Portscheller indicated that presently they are not using backups in the criminal case calendar in Minot. In January they will begin stacking cases to reduce the criminal case backlog. It was mentioned that for any case management system to work, whether it be a system that stacks cases or provides day-certain scheduling, the court needs to analyze the caseload and determine when and why cases are falling out of the system.
Case Management Planning
The Committee was provided samples of the judicial district case management plans that have been created in the state of Minnesota. Discussion then focused on whether or not there was merit in having district case management plans. There was a sense that it would be good to have all of the operating procedures of the judicial district codified and available for all to see in terms of the forms and procedures that are in place. There was a sense that the judicial districts should have broad-based committees involving the judiciary, private bar, defense attorneys, and state's attorneys offices to develop plans for the administration of the caseloads in the various districts.
After considerable discussion, staff was directed to prepare an administrative rule for the Committee's consideration that would create judicial district caseflow management committees and would spell out the duties of the committees.
The chair then reviewed the dates for Committee meetings for 2004:Friday, February 27, 2004
The meeting adjourned.