The “Rocket Docket” Blasts Into Olmsted County Court!

Litigation. A word that causes the fearless to fear; a process that does not make one’s bucket list. Black’s Law Dictionary defines litigation as a legal action, including all proceedings therein. The emphasis is added for good reason. The litigation process includes everything from that first meeting with the attorney to the conclusion of the case, which can be years down the road. Yes, years.

A person suing or being sued is called a party. That sounds like fun, right? Wrong. A party has the duty to gather and disclose documents regarding the lawsuit; to be examined by opposing counsel under oath; to undergo physical, psychological, or vocational evaluations, depending on the issues involved; and to appear at court hearings, including the trial. Litigation often takes on a life of its own and to many, feels like a part-time job.

Something has to give during the litigation process. The most common victims of litigation are those most precious to the party: family and friends; business and employment; and mental and physical health. A party relies on others to care for children while long hours are spent on the case. Personal time from work is used for litigation meetings and court hearings rather than field trips and vacations. Poor business decisions can be made and excessive absenteeism can lead to job loss. A bad habit or addiction can resurface. It can be a very difficult time for the party.

Does this mean that a party should not assert a legal right or defend against a lawsuit in court? Of course not. Many things require the court’s involvement. A key to maintaining a healthier balance is in the management of the litigation. The Minnesota Judicial Branch has taken steps to better manage the litigation process. Improving the Process. Welcome, Expedited Litigation Track (ELT).

As a family law attorney, I have had the opportunity to participate in Early Case Management (ECM) in Olmsted County for the past five years. As a seasoned attorney, I have practiced for more years without ECM and see EMC as an efficient litigation management tool. I am grateful for the Judiciary’s expansion of this management tool to non-family civil cases. Litigation in Olmsted County just got a bit less scary.