Thursday, December 4, 2003
Federal Court in
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Eastern Division of the U.S. District Court for the Central District
of California in
The procedure is a departure from the traditional policy of assigning magistrate judges to handle only discovery and sometimes settlement conferences in civil cases, Phillips observed.
“Now, if the parties consent, the case will be assigned to the magistrate judge for all purposes,” she stated.
Effective Jan. 1, some civil cases in the Eastern Division will be randomly assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen G. Larson for handling through trial. Phillips said the parties in those cases would be given the opportunity to either stipulate to having the magistrate judge hear the case, or to “opt out.”
While forms and procedures are still being developed, Phillips said that opportunity would come “very early in the case.”
Phillips said the pilot program for the Central District is modeled after
similar programs operating in the Northern District of California and in
The Eastern Division has jurisdiction over
Larson is a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office,
and is a past president of the
He was appointed magistrate judge in September 2000.
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