Discovery Mediators for the Civil Division of the Wayne County Circuit Court
Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Most members of the Detroit Bar Association regularly practice in the Civil Division of the Third Circuit Court. Over the past few years, the Civil Division has experienced a significant increase in No-Fault and auto negligence cases, which has resulted in sharply escalating caseloads and more discovery motion hearings for each judge. Attorneys who practice in the Civil Division have experienced longer waits during motion calls and other effects as a result. A grant from the Mediation Tribunal has afforded the Detroit Bar to hire two part-time Discovery Mediators for the Civil Division each Friday morning, which will increase efficiency and quality of the court’s work while promoting judicial economy.
A substantial portion of the Civil Division motion call consists of discovery motion hearings – motions to compel, motions for protective orders, and motions for sanctions for failure to comply with discovery. Contested discovery motions can be extremely time-consuming. They often involve detailed disputes over multiple discovery requests. Two part-time “Discovery Mediators” available to the Civil Division on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will assist attorneys to resolve discovery motions. This will save considerable time for judges and attorneys and result in more efficient and effective resolution. The Discovery Mediators will be in the attorneys’ lounge on the 12th floor and will meet with attorneys on a first come-first served basis. The Detroit Bar Association will provide administrative oversight.
The availability of Friday morning Discovery Mediators will allow the Civil bench to implement a policy of sending discovery motions straight to Discovery Mediators with the option to return for a hearing later in the morning, opening up time and space needed, given the surge of Friday motions.
This program will reduce the number of discovery motions argued in open court and increase the number of stipulated orders entered in lieu of hearings. Importantly, it will also significantly decrease the amount of time needed to hear those remaining. Once they have been pre-screened, they return with a Discovery Mediator’s non-binding recommendation. We expect a significant number to result in stipulated orders entered.