In a time not too far removed, court-imposed discovery end dates did not exist, and we practiced in an environment of greater civility between attorneys and the judiciary. Discovery motions were rarely filed because attorneys generally worked out such trivial issues by telephone or over lunch. Cases were regularly settled, especially if a sitting judge recommended it.

Compare this past practice with today; the parties are given 300 days to complete discovery in a simple automobile negligence case and must thereafter request additional discovery time by motion or letter. In practice, defense counsel does little, if any, discovery during the initial 300-day allotted period, and then the court routinely grants multiple motions to extend discovery. This leads to a backlog of the civil trial calendar and impatience by some trial judges to adjourn trials. Small cases are deemed “no pay” by defense counsel, even if judges recommend a nominal settlement. This leads to too many trivial trials and not enough civil judges to try these cases.

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