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Judge Van Bokkelen: Preliminary Pretrial Conference (Rule 16 Scheduling Conference)

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 - 60 days after the last appearance for a party. Counsel should read and follow the directives contained in the magistrate judge’s "Notice of Preliminary Pretrial Conference." A Report of the Parties Planning Meeting is to be submitted by the date indicated in the preliminary pretrial conference notice. Counsel are required to personally attend the Rule 16 conference unless excused by the presiding judicial officer.

At the Rule 16 conference, counsel should be prepared to inform the court of the nature of the case, including the parties' contentions, claims, and defenses, answer all jurisdictional questions, report on the possibility of settlement, address the parties' positions on methods of alternative dispute resolution, and discuss the nature and length of discovery necessary to prepare the case for trial. At the conference, the court may modify or approve the deadlines suggested by the parties in their Report.

During the conference, deadlines will be set for discovery.

At the conclusion of the Rule 16 conference, the court will issue a Scheduling Order. The deadlines and limitations established in the order will not be changed without good cause.