When you face a civil lawsuit in Eastern Virginia, whether you are the Plaintiff or the Defendant, you need an attorney with courtroom experience like S.L. England, PLLC, to fight for you. Court cases move very quickly in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, and many other attorneys are intimidated by the fast pace. A civil lawsuit can have significant impacts on your personal or professional future.
The attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, have the experience you need to present an aggressive case for you in one of the United State's fastest moving courts.
Local Rules in the Eastern District of Virginia
The United States District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia has four divisions –Alexandria, Newport News, Norfolk, and Richmond. The same local rules apply to all four divisions, however, each division has unique practices, and each judge has their own preferences for procedures for Motions or Scheduling Orders. You need an attorney who has experience in each of the four divisions and who can meet each judge's stringent requirements.
The Rocket Docket
The Eastern District of Virginia is known for its "Rocket Docket" because cases move very quickly through the system from filing to trial –within 11 months, on average, but many reach conclusion within six or seven months. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is located in the Eastern District of Virginia, so many complex cases involving patents are argued in this court with the same tight deadlines as other civil cases.
After filing the lawsuit, service must be made on the Defendant within 90 days.
Discovery and Pretrial Motions in a Civil Court Case
The Discovery period is very short, so you need an efficient attorney with the experience to thoroughly gather evidence within tight timelines. Even in complex lawsuits, Discovery must be completed in four months or less.
The Pretrial Order limits both parties to five non-expert witness depositions and 30 interrogatories each. Answers are due within 30 days, but the opposing party may grant a seven to 10 day extension at the beginning of the Discovery period. Any objections to Discovery requests must be served on the other party within 15 days.
Due to stringent Discovery deadlines, extensions after the close of the Discovery period are nearly impossible, but the Court may extend the deadline by a few weeks if both parties show that they have done due diligence to complete Discovery in the allotted time.
Hearings on filed motions may be held as quickly as a week later, so the opposition brief is due within five days. The Reply, if necessary, is due the next day, just one day before the hearing. All motions must be in writing and relate directly to the case. No form motions are allowed. The Court expects the opposing attorneys to meet and narrow down the points of contention.
Dispositive motions have a bit longer time frame and cannot be set for a hearing less than than 21 days from filing the motion. Response briefs are due within 14 days, and reply briefs six days later.
Before the final pre-trial conference, both parties must file their list of witnesses, list of exhibits, and their written stipulation of uncontested facts. The parties exchange exhibits before the pre-trial conference.
The final pre-trial conference typically occurs one week after the close of Discovery. At this hearing, the judge sets the trial date, and it is usually four to eight weeks after the final pre-trial conference. Except in rare, extenuating circumstances, the Court does not extend the trial date.
Any objections to witnesses or exhibits must be filed no later than 10 days after the pre-trial conference. Any motions in limine or motions for summary judgment must be filed and argued before the trial date.
Civil Trial in a Virginia Court Case
Like the preceding legal process, a trial in the Eastern District of Virginia moves very quickly. The Court expects attorneys for both parties to quickly get to the point.
Jury selection and opening arguments are completed in the first two hours of the trial. The judge conducts voir dire instead of the attorneys.
Neither attorney wastes time asking standard questions regarding foundation elements of the case. The Court expects each attorney to quickly get to the point of their line of questioning with each witness. Cumulative testimony is limited to two witnesses on any issue.
The Court does not allow distractions and only takes short breaks to keep the trial moving quickly.
The Plaintiff's Advantage
Federal courts, including the Eastern District of Virginia, do not require the Plaintiff to file a pre-filing notice. This gives the Plaintiff's attorney the luxury of creating a thorough litigation plan before filing the Complaint, including researching legal issues and drafting briefs. The Plaintiff may choose to serve Discovery requests with the Complaint.
If the Defendant does not hire an attorney experienced with the Eastern District of Virginia's Rocket Docket, they may struggle to keep up with the quick pace. If you are the Defendant in a lawsuit, hiring an attorney with courtroom experience in the Eastern District of Virginia is essential for success. The Defendant's attorney must make quick decisions and take quick actions to be successful. The Defendant's attorney may choose to serve their Discovery requests with their Answer, allowing them the most time to legally analyze the case.
Hire an Experienced Eastern District of Virginia Litigation Attorney
If you need to file a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia, or if you have already been served with legal papers, contact the experienced attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC. Our attorneys have the courtroom experience to successfully argue your case in the fastest Federal court.
Your case is unique, and our attorneys can perform in-depth legal research and build a strong case for you within the Court's tight deadlines. You need this experience to protect your future. Call us today at (202) 489-0720 or contact us online.