Case Management Statement in the United States District Court–At A Glance

Use this At A Glance Guide to learn the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and United States Code provisions related to filing a case managment statement in the United States District Courts. For more detailed information, including local rules, on filing a case management statement in a specific United States District Court, please see the SmartRules Case Management Statement Guide for the court where your action is pending.


Except in categories of actions exempted by local rule, the district judge – or a magistrate judge when authorized by local rule – must issue a scheduling order:

(A) after receiving the parties’ report under Rule 26(f); or

(B) after consulting with the parties’ attorneys and any unrepresented parties at a scheduling conference or by telephone, mail, or other means. FRCP 16(b)(1)(eff 12/01/07).

The judge must issue the scheduling order as soon as practicable, but in any event within the earlier of 120 days after any defendant has been served with the complaint or 90 days after any defendant has appeared. FRCP 16(b)(2)(eff 12/01/07).

Case Management Statement Rules: 

 A represented party must authorize at least one of its attorneys to make stipulations and admissions about all matters that can reasonably be anticipated for discussion at a pretrial conference. If appropriate, the court may require that a party or its representative be present or reasonably available by other means to consider possible settlement. FRCP 16(c)(1)(eff 12/01/07).

At any pretrial conference, the court may consider and take appropriate action on the following matters:

(A) formulating and simplifying the issues, and eliminating frivolous claims or defenses;

(B) amending the pleadings if necessary or desirable;

(C) obtaining admissions and stipulations about facts and documents to avoid unnecessary proof, and ruling in advance on the admissibility of evidence;

(D) avoiding unnecessary proof and cumulative evidence, and limiting the use of testimony under Federal Rule of Evidence 702;

(E) determining the appropriateness and timing of summary adjudication under Rule 56;

(F) controlling and scheduling discovery, including orders affecting disclosures and discovery under Rule 26 and Rules 29 through 37;

(G) identifying witnesses and documents, scheduling the filing and exchange of any pretrial briefs, and setting dates for further conferences and for trial;

(H) referring matters to a magistrate judge or a master;

(I) settling the case and using special procedures to assist in resolving the dispute when authorized by statute or local rule;

(J) determining the form and content of the pretrial order;

(K) disposing of pending motions;

(L) adopting special procedures for managing potentially difficult or protracted actions that may involve complex issues, multiple parties, difficult legal questions, or unusual proof problems;

(M) ordering a separate trial under Rule 42(b) of a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, thirdparty claim, or particular issue;

(N) ordering the presentation of evidence early in the trial on a manageable issue that might, on the evidence, be the basis for a judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(a) or a judgment on partial findings under Rule 52(c);

(O) establishing a reasonable limit on the time allowed to present evidence; and

(P) facilitating in other ways the just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of the action.

FRCP 16(c)(2)(eff 12/01/07).

After any conference under this rule, the court should issue an order reciting the action taken. This order controls the course of the action unless the court modifies it. FRCP 16(d)(eff 12/01/07).

The court may hold a final pretrial conference to formulate a trial plan, including a plan to facilitate the admission of evidence. The conference must be held as close to the start of trial as is reasonable, and must be attended by at least one attorney who will conduct the trial for each party and by any unrepresented party. The court may modify the order issued after a final pretrial conference only to prevent manifest injustice. FRCP 16(e)(eff 12/01/07).

On motion or on its own, the court may issue any just orders, including those authorized by Rule 37(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(vii), if a party or its attorney:

(A) fails to appear at a scheduling or other pretrial conference;

(B) is substantially unprepared to participate – or does not participate in good faith – in the conference; or

(C) fails to obey a scheduling or other pretrial order. FRCP 16(f)(1)(eff 12/01/07).

Instead of or in addition to any other sanction, the court must order the party, its attorney, or both to pay the reasonable expenses – including attorney’s fees – incurred because of any noncompliance with this rule, unless the noncompliance was substantially justified or other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust. FRCP 16(f)(2)(eff 12/01/07). 

Except in certain exempted cases, the court must set time limits for the joinder of parties and amendment of pleadings, the filing of motions and the completion of discovery. FRCP 16(b)(3)(A)(eff 12/01/07).

The scheduling order may:

(i) modify the timing of disclosures under Rules 26(a) and 26(e)(1);

(ii) modify the extent of discovery;

(iii) provide for disclosure or discovery of electronically stored information;

(iv) include any agreements the parties reach for asserting claims of privilege or of protection as trial-preparation material after information is produced;

(v) set dates for pretrial conferences and for trial; and

(vi) include other appropriate matters.

FRCP 16(b)(3)(B)(eff 12/01/07).

A schedule may be modified only for good cause and with the judge’s consent. FRCP 16(b)(4)(eff 12/01/07).

The authorities cited in this At A Glance Guide are current as of the publication date. For authorities updated in real time, please see the SmartRules Guide for the litigation document you are drafting.

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