After your attorney initiates the law suit by filing the complaint, the Court needs to determine how to manage the proceedings. To reach a mutually acceptable timeline for how your case should proceed, the Plaintiff, Defendant, and the judge (or the judge’s bailiff or staff attorney) meet for a case management conference (CMC).
At a CMC, the parties will generally come to terms regarding several issues. The parties will agree to a schedule for discovery of evidence, exchange of expert witness reports, deadlines for the filing of motions, and additional/final pretrial conferences.
The Court will also speak with counsel to confirm the amount in controversy, the complexity of the case, and the aspects of the case which the parties dispute.
A CMC is the parties’ first opportunity to discuss the broad parameters of their particular case. Not all personal injury law suits are the same. Some involve straightforward facts and clearly enumerated damages. Others involve complex issues and disputed damages.
At a CMC, the parties have an opportunity to notify the Court of their case’s expected complexity, evidentiary issues, and other particulars that will affect the progress of the law suit. It is also a chance to explain to the Court any difficulties or extenuating circumstances that may require attention or accommodation.
Following the CMC, your attorney will notify you regarding the timeline for your case (since you will likely not be required to attend the CMC). Next, your attorney and opposing counsel will begin conducting discovery in accordance with the CMC schedule.