An update form the Washington County Circuit Court’s civil department

Although the Washington County Circuit Court remains unable to try civil jury cases per the CJ’s order, the Court has several suggestions to potentially resolve civil disputes. First, the Monday Civil Motion Docket is working well. As a reminder, on a rotating basis, one of the civil team judges is assigned to hear civil motions set for hearing at 9am; 10am; 1:30pm and 2:30pm for short hearings (3 cases each docket). For matters needing more time, such as summary judgment motions, the court has an 11am and a 3:30pm docket with only one case set on each of these dockets. To get a motion hearing on the docket, please contact court calendaring. Court staff has requested that for remote hearings they be provided emails for participants, as well as phone numbers, if possible, as the court’s technology works better if the video or phone connection is established via an email link than a traditional phone call.

In addition, several of the Judges are available for settlement conferences and bench trials. These will be conducted by remote means unless special circumstances justify an exception granted by the PJ. Since we don’t have a definite date that we will be able to return to jury trials in the near future, settlement conferences and bench trials are both great ways to facilitate resolution of claims in a timely manner. Private binding arbitration arranged independently or by agreeing in advance to waive appeal rights on cases handled through the court’s arbitration program also remain good options.