In Uncategorized on 04/11/2023 at 14:46

The Dixieland Boondockery epidemic bids fair to eclipse Son-of-Boss and Boss Hossery mass trials of the past. Today Judge David Gustafson is confronted with 50 (count ’em, 50) conservation easement cases, and the valiant attempts of counsel for both sides to try to corral the stampede, in Garden Lakes Estates, LLC, Garden Lakes Estates Holdings, LLC, Tax Matters Partner, Docket No. 3052-21, filed 4/11/23.

“…the parties filed a joint motion for continuance, in which they gave a helpful description of a group of 50 conservation easement cases related to this one and of counsel’s collaboration in recommending an orderly and economical approach to resolving the cases. We appreciate counsel’s work on these cases, and we agree in principle with the proposition that the economies of the parties and the Court would be served by identifying a small number of ‘exemplar’ cases, scheduling them for trial, and receiving in the non-exemplar cases stipulations to be bound by the outcome in an exemplar.” Order, at p. 1.

Maybe this isn’t quite as bad as the asbestos and other mass tort litigations, but clearly 50 trials are a wee bit much. Nevertheless, corraling the stampede requires more than one experienced cowpoke.

“Counsel understand that a single judge who is assigned to an essentially random sample from among the 50 cases (while other cases are assigned to another judge and others are still in the General Docket under the immediate responsibility of the Chief Judge) is not in a position to adopt the parties’ recommendations and assign judges. But their making their proposal in a single case does provide an occasion for one judge to learn more and perhaps to become able to make a recommendation to Court as a whole.” Order, at p. 1.

So Judge Gustafson propounds some seven (count ’em, seven) headings, which counsel should use to direct case management in a status report. Maybe the parties can draw a chart to show issues and features that align or diverge among the cases.

Clearly, this will provide blogfodder well into my twilight years.


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