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Bulletin Summer 2013

Practice Tips their mediation/settlement docket. e use of a Daily Master is not a universal concept shared by all the judges or the counties that have been included. at concept originated in Jeerson County primarily for two reasons: rst, the unusual number of temporary issues being led on a large docket of cases and second, the lawyers asked, with the courts’ approval, for such a program. e lawyers volunteer to sit as Daily Masters and this program has worked successfully for several years. It is a recommended process, but the judge still has the option to hear all or some of those temporary issues. e newest kid on the block is the Private Judging Act. As you may be aware, the parties, through their lawyers, can le a motion with the presiding judge in the circuit where the case originates requesting the appointment of a former or retired judge who has been approved to sit as a private judge over a case. In talking with the judges, they are all in favor of this option because it reduces their caseload and would open more slots for other cases to be heard that do not warrant a private judge. In addition, all the judges would request reasonable notice of that choice so they can manage their dockets and not be left with unused time. Otherwise, they all believe this to be one more option to help parties move their case along in a timely fashion and in some cases, reduce their cost. ere is no thought by any judge that they would be upset because they have one less case to hear. e general consensus is “take a case, please!” In an eort to document this interview/ survey, a chart listing various areas and positions is attached for future reference. As a side note, it is highly recommended if your judge or judges have periodic town meetings/CLE sessions, that you attend ALL, discuss concerns and issues with the judges and get answers rst hand. It will take a little time, but the judge will know that you care about this area of the practice of law and who knows, you might even be helping the judge while helping yourself. G Contributor Former Judge R.A. (Sonny) Ferguson, Jr., Christian & Small, LLP For Domestic Dockets Only Daily Master Special Master Settlement/Mediation Docket Private Mediation Special Settings Private Judging Jefferson County ------------- Bessemer One uses regularly Another will consider use ------------ No/Judge hears all Rarely used One has used for inspection only ------------ Upon request/Rare Two use and consider this as a mediation docket ------------ No Only on request ------------ Ordered as determined by the Judge All use this when requested Motions to continue need to be reasonable and timely ------------ Not usually All agree it is a good thing, just make request within a reasonable time ------------ Good idea Shelby County Judges hear their own Rare, as needed and requested Yes on every case before it is set for trial Ordered upon request Rare All agree it is a good thing, but would like more information and no extra courtrooms for trials St. Clair County No/Judges hear all Upon request / Rare No Ordered upon request Not usually Good idea Blount County No/Judge hears all Rare, but will consider if appropriate No When requested, and will sometimes suggest mediation Not usually Good idea, could help move cases Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Summer 2013 31


Bulletin Summer 2013
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