We are soliciting input and comment from the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association. We request all comments to be submitted by not later than May 3, 2019. Comments may be submitted to Judge Tim Ashcraft: [email protected]
The following is a summary of the proposed changes. You should review the entire document Compiled 2019 Rules Changes for Publication (changes and additions are marked) for the complete proposed changes.
The two largest proposed changes this year involve mandatory electronic service and raising the MAR limits.
PCLGR 30 - Mandatory Electronic Service
The Committee proposes that electronic service be mandatory for attorneys, optional for self-represented litigants. Service would occur through the LINX system. PCLGR 30(b)(6).
PCLR 7- Motions: Confirmation date and motions to shorten time
The Committee proposes that a motion is required to be confirmed no later than noon, three days before the hearing date (instead of the current two days before the hearing date). This proposed change is to be consistent with last year’s change in noting requirements for motions. PCLR 7(a)(9). Additionally, the Committee is proposing to clarify the language regarding confirming summary judgment motions, which will be the same as confirming any standard motion. PCLR 7(a)(11).
Another proposed change is to Motions to Shorten Time. The purpose here is to clarify and update the language of the rule to reflect electronic filing and service. PCLR 7(c)(4).
PCLSPR 94.04 – Settlement Conferences for Non-parental custody proceedings
The Committee proposes a change to the language that a settlement conference is not required unless ordered by the Court. This changes the previous language that it was required unless waived. PCLSPR 94.04(f)(3).
PCLMAR – Raising the arbitration limits and adding discovery
Last fall, the Local Rules committee was tasked with reviewing the issue of whether to raise the MAR limits. A workgroup was convened with plaintiff’s attorneys, defense attorneys, and government attorneys as well as several judges. Based on the discussion at these meetings, the workgroup and the Local Rules Committee are both proposing and recommending the following changes to the MAR limits and discovery rules.
The Committee proposes to raise the MAR limits to $100,000 (from the current amount of $50,000). As part of that increase, the Committee also proposes to add discovery to an arbitration under these rules. Specifically, the proposal is to add: 1) two non-party depositions (limited to three hours each, not including breaks or questions by the party defending the deposition); 2) a sixth interrogatory for personal injury cases, in which the party alleging injury must identify health care providers; and (3) use of subpoenas duces tecum: to collect medical records identified in interrogatory six, for the two non-party depositions, and two other SDTs for gathering records.
As always, we welcome your input and your comments.
Judge Tim Ashcraft
Chair, Pierce County Superior Court Local Rules Committee