Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What do I do if I served as a juror in another courthouse?

    If you served any time within the past two (2) years, you must contact (or go to) that courthouse where you previously served and get proof that you served.

  • Can I still be a juror if I am not a citizen, or I am a non-resident,or an attorney?

    Proof must be provided in writing before the summons date. All proof should be accompanied with a copy of the summons and sent to the address on the face of the summons.

  • Can I postpone my Jury Duty via email?

    All requests for postponements or excusals must be made IN WRITING no less than 10 DAYS prior to the summons date. Please use the postage-paid envelope provided with your summons and include a copy of your summons along with the request.

  • What happens after the arbitration hearing?

    After the hearing is held, the arbitrator files an arbitration award. This award is confidential and does not go in the court file.  Counsel will receive a copy of the award after it is filed with the court.  If any party disagrees with the arbitrators decision, then that party may file a Demand for Trial De Novo.  A filing fee of  $250.00 is required.  A trial de novo must be filed within (30) thirty days after the entry of the arbitration award.  If a demand for trial de novo is filed, the case will then be placed back on the trial calendar.  If no trial de novo is filed, the arbitration award becomes the final judgment of this court, without the right to appeal.

  • Where is the arbitration hearing held?

     Normally, the arbitration hearing is held in a conference room at the courthouse. The room is assigned by the arbitration clerk prior to the hearing.  At request and consent of all parties, including the arbitrator,  the hearing may be held at a more convenient location.  This must be confirmed by the arbitration clerk.  Any changes in location or schedules, continuances, or adjournments must be made promptly to the arbitration department.  If the arbitration hearing takes place at a location other than the courthouse, the parties must notify the arbitration clerk that the hearing went forward and the outcome of the same. If the parties have agreed upon a settlement, the arbitration clerk must be notified immediately.

  • How does the arbitration process begin?

    Once a case has been referred by the Magistrate Judge or designated for compulsory arbitration, the arbitration clerk sends out a Notice Designating Case to Arbitration to plaintiffs counsel.  Once the answer is filed, an arbitration hearing is set and notice is given to all counsel.  The arbitrator is selected at random, approximately one month before the arbitration hearing.  Counsel will be sent a copy of the Order Appointing Arbitrator that will include the name and contact information for the arbitrator.  Plaintiffs counsel must contact the arbitration department at least 24 hours in advance, or earlier, to confirm that the arbitration hearing will go forward on the date scheduled.

  • Can a party request that their case be exempt for arbitration?

    Yes.  The court may, sua sponte, or on motion of a party, exempt any case from arbitration in which the objectives of arbitration would not be realized:

    • because the case involves complex or novel issues;
    • because legal issues predominate over factual issues; or
    • for other good cause.

    The proper format and procedure to seek exemption from arbitration for the above-listed reasons, can be found under Local Rule 83.10 (e) (1).

  • How do I know if my case is eligible for Arbitration?

    Under Local Rule 83.10 (d), the Clerk of the Court is authorized to designate and process all civil cases for compulsory arbitration if:

    • The damages do not exceed $150,000, exclusive of interest and costs; or
    • The parties consent to arbitration before the assigned Magistrate Judge, regardless of initial demand for money damages;

    Cases that are not eligible for Arbitration include :

    • Money damages that exceed $150,000;
    • Pro Se cases
    • Social Security Cases;
    • Tax Matters;
    • Prisoners Civil Rights cases
    • Any action that is based on a violation of Constitutional Rights, or if jurisdiction is based  in or whole or part on Title 28 USC ' 1343 wherein money damages do not exceed $150,000, exclusive or interest and costs;
    • Cases that involve student loan defaults;
    • Cases that seek injunctive relief or if the relief sought is not monetary;
    • Cases where counsel for plaintiff files a certification with the court that the damages exceed the $150,000, exclusive of interests and costs; and
    • Cases where a counterclaim or a cross-claim is filed and the damages sought by such a claim, exceeds the $150,000 limit, exclusive of interest and costs.
  • After the Mediation is completed, what is filed on the case?

    When a case has been referred to mediation, counsel are required to update the status of the case through the courts electronic filing system ECF. Counsel must update ECF upon selection of a mediator (within two weeks of a case’s referral to mediation) with the name and contact information of the mediator and the time, date, and location of the mediation. After the mediation is completed, counsel must file with ECF indicating whether the case is settled or unsettled and they must complete a written questionnaire to be sent to the ADR Administrator, Gerald P. Lepp.

  • Is the Mediation Binding on the Parties?

    Although the parties are not bound to settle through the process of mediation–no mediator can force the parties to take a certain position or accept a proposed settlement–, the parties will be bound by any agreement they reach. These agreements must be memorialized in writing before leaving the session.