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Judge Leichty: Consent to Proceed Before a Magistrate Judge

Too often litigants are unaware of the efficiencies to be gained by having their cases tried before United States Magistrate Judges. The court urges counsel to inform their clients of this option and to discuss it with opposing counsel. Pro se litigants are also urged to consider the time-saving advantages of consenting to a magistrate judge.

Following the appearance of all parties, the clerk’s office will send consent forms to parties regarding consent before a magistrate judge. The parties are required to return the form to the clerk’s office, either giving or withholding consent. The clerk’s office will send out a courtesy notice if a form has not been timely returned before the matter will be taken up by chambers. The presiding judge will not know which parties refused to consent to a magistrate judge and will not be able to see the forms.