New cases are generally referred to a magistrate judge for non-dispositive matters, including the preliminary pretrial conference. The magistrate judge will schedule a preliminary pretrial conference about 30 days after the last appearance for a party. Counsel should read and follow the directives contained in the magistrate judge’s “Order of Preliminary Pretrial Conference.” A report of the parties planning meeting is to be submitted by the date indicated in the preliminary pretrial conference order. Counsel are required to attend the Rule 16(b) conference unless excused by the magistrate judge.
At the Rule 16(b) conference, counsel should be prepared to inform the court of the nature of the case, including the parties’ contentions, claims, and defenses, report on the possibility of settlement, address the parties’ positions on methods of alternative dispute resolution, discuss the nature and length of discovery necessary to prepare the case for trial, and the need for experts. At the conference, the court may modify or approve the deadlines suggested by the parties in their report.
At the conclusion of the Rule 16(b) conference, the court will issue a scheduling order and memorandum of status conference. Thereafter, the deadlines and limitations established in the order will not be changed without good cause