Pretrial Conference in the McKinney Dog Bite Case
Pretrial conferences occur in almost every case at some point. Pretrial conferences in McKinney typically occur early in the case to at least get the scheduling order. The scheduling order is essentially the calendar for that entire case. It shows what is going to happen at what time and when the internal deadlines are going to be so the case should be ready to go trial. Those are sometimes done by formal pre-trials and at other times are done informally.
Most of the courts in McKinney expect those to be done informally with the lawyers but, sometimes lawyers are non-responsive or ignore requests for discovery control orders, so a motion needs to be filed.
Most of the judges in McKinney want to know that both sides have made an effort to reach out to each other. If one side is ignoring the other, they are very quick to chastise the other side about working together to get the scheduling issues worked out without court intervention. Even from the very beginning, there are pretrial conferences and, depending upon the complexity of the case, there could be a number of pretrial conferences about several aspects. They may include scheduling summary judgments, discovery issues, and even issues concerning whether or not the parties need to consolidate matters or split matters into different cause numbers.
A pretrial conference is used to narrow down issues that have to be decided during the middle of the trial that slows down the trial. Good judges use those pretrial conferences to make it more efficient for the juries. In Collin County, almost all of the judges do use it for that purpose. Judges in Collin County very much are flexible when it comes to what all issues need to be determined, and they do rely upon the attorneys involved to bring up issues that they think might need to be addressed at the trial so the judges can get the rulings done in advance.
Call today for more information about pretrial conferences and how it could impact the McKinney dog bite case.
What Does a Pretrial Conference Entail?
A pretrial conference entails discussing any issues that the judge wants to deal with. There are times that the judge will simply ask for a briefing on certain issues to be presented at the time in the trial. Issues that are dealt with include admissibility of exhibits, objections, deposition cuts, and rulings on motions in limine.
Very often, there will be jury charge issues. The jury charge is the paper the jury takes back with them to answer questions to help the judge take the verdict and turn it into a judgment. A judge wants to get a head start on those problems to get the defense’s version and the plaintiff’s version of what they think the charge is going to look like.
The judge can be focused on the issues or what the jury charge needs to look like. Other things that are addressed in the pretrial conference are conflicts. Are there witness conflicts? Does the judge have potential conflicts? Will there be a break in the middle of the trial?
What Insights the Pretrial Conference Provide
The insights that the pretrial conference provides can affect what comes in at trial and what stays out. Frequently, lawyers are making assumptions about what evidence will come in and what will not come in at trial. At the pretrial conference, a judge may admit or deny a piece of evidence but the order may still try to get in. A good lawyer is going to want to keep trying to get evidence in that they believe needs to come in at trial.
When a judge makes a ruling, it allows a lawyer to go back and get an additional briefing on that issue or take another stab at getting that evidence in. It also allows lawyers to reevaluate their case. If a certain critical piece of evidence is kept out of the trial or does not come in, that can affect the value of the case.
After the pretrial hearing, there is a better idea of what is and is not likely to come in at trial. Sometimes, that gives the parties pause for reconsideration. Collin County judges even use that as an opportunity to strategically rule or choose not to rule on one piece of evidence or another to create risk for both sides.