Court Cases - Civil

​In Washington, Superior Court handles all "general civil" cases. A general civil case begins when an individual or organization initiates or files a lawsuit against another individual or organization. Breach of contract, personal injury, and medical malpractice disputes are examples of this type of case. In Thurston County our general civil cases are heard at the Superior Court Main Campus, five Judges are assigned civil cases. Civil motions are heard by each civil Judge on Fridays. Calendar information is below under helpful links.

Superior Court handles other types of civil matters as well. For example, family law cases, and most probate and guardianship cases are handled by Family and Juvenile Court, as well. Petitions for court-ordered mental health treatment are handled by ITA Court.

How do I schedule a civil motion at the main campus courthouse?

​Civil motions are heard by the trial judges on Friday mornings at 9:00 a.m.. To schedule a hearing:

  • Schedule the hearing on the calendar of your assigned judge.
     
  • Check that the day you want to hear the motion is available. You can check on Odyssey or ask the Clerk.
     
  • Schedule the hearing far enough in advance (6 business days for most motions, 28 business days for "dispositive motions").
     
  • File and serve to the other notice parties with a "notice of hearing" form, your motion, and any other paperwork you want the court to review. [hyperlink].

Read LCR 5 and LCR 7 to learn more about civil motion practice in Thurston County Superior Court.

What is a "dispositive motion" and how do I schedule a hearing for one?

​Dispositive motions are scheduled differently. To review the process for Dispostive motions please click here.

Can I schedule a hearing on a full calendar?

​Staff at the Clerk's Office and Court Administration cannot schedule a hearing on a full calendar. This can only be done through a court order. You can file a motion and schedule a hearing to ask the assigned judge to over-book a full calendar.

How do I strike or continue a hearing that I scheduled?

​The moving party must timely strike or continue any hearing that will not go forward on the scheduled date. This rule applies to all Superior Court matters, including civil, criminal, juvenile, and family court cases.

Strikes and continuances must be communicated to the clerk's office through the "notice of hearing continued or stricken/cancelled" form available on the clerk's web page. Bench copies of the notice to strikes or continuance must promptly be provided to the court.

For dispositve motions, the notice to strike or continue must be filed at least five court days before the hearing. For other motions, the notice must be filed at least two court days before the hearing. The court understands that sometimes there are last minute emergencies and settlements, but follow these deadlines whenever possible.

What are judge's copies and how do I submit them?

​"Judge's copies" are copies of all the paperwork you are filing for your motion or trial, that the judge can review and write in. Judges copies are required for all documents at or before the time you file them.

All judge's copies should be submitted on white paper. Parties may not submit electronic Judge's copies directly to Judicial Assistant or Court Administration unless the court asks the parties to do so. Judge's copies must be delivered to Court Administration timely. If electronically filing documents, parties may utilize the service of the Clerk's Office for a fee. However delivered, it is a party's responsibility to have Judge's copies delivered on time. Each Judge's copy of a brief shall be identified as the Judge's copy and shall identify the date, time, and the Judge before whom the matter is scheduled to be heard in substantially the following format in the top left hand corner of the first page.

Judge's copies with multiple attachments and exhibits that cannot be secured with a staple must be tabbed and in a binder.

How do I present an order based on a judge's ruling?

​An order reflecting a judge's oral ruling must be presented to that same judge. If all of the parties sign the proposed order and agree to the form of the order, you can present it (1) ex parte at the beginning of the judge's civil motion calendar; or (2) through the civil ex parte calendar or through the mail-in process, where it will be referred to the judge who made the ruling. If all the parties do not sign the proposed order, schedule a presentation hearing on the judge's civil motion calendar. Court Administration does not track mail in ex parte motions.

For the Ex Parte Process click here.

How do I ask to appear by telephone?

​Telephonic hearings are disfavored. Telephonic appearances are sometimes appropriate as a disability accommodation or under other extenuating circumstances.

A party who seeks to request a telephonic appearance must file a timely motion. Such a motion may be brought by any party to assist a person with limited communications, such as an inmate.

In civil cases and trials, motions for telephonic appearance in civil cases must be presented on the assigned judge's civil motion calendar. The motion to appear telephonically must be scheduled for hearing at least one week before the matter for which a telephonic appearance is sought. The assigned judge will rule on the motion to appear telephonically without oral argument.

A party who was granted a telephonic hearing may contact the assigned judge's judicial assistant for instructions at least two court days before the telephonic hearing. A party who is granted a telephonic hearing has the same duties as parties who appear in person.

CIVIL TRIALS
How is my civil case scheduled for trial?

​When a civil case is filed, the Clerk's Office will provide the plaintiff or petitioner with a "Notice of Assignment/Notice of Trial Scheduling Date." This is an administrative docket that is conducted by the assigned Judge's Judicial Assistant. Do not come to court for the trial scheduling date, or call or email the court about scheduling your trial. Instead, fill out and file a "Trial Scheduling Questionnaire" by the deadline designated on the Notice of Assignment/Trial Scheduling Date.

The Case Scheduling Order is prepared by the Judicial Assistant shortly after the trial scheduling date. The Judicial Assistant will obtain the Judge's signature, file the original and mail a copy to each party of record.

If you want a sooner or different date to have trial scheduled, simply file and serve a notice of hearing form for a new trial scheduling date.

Review Local Court Rule 40 [link] for more information about how the court schedules trials.

What should I expect during my pretrial conference?

​During the pretrial conference, the Judge will confirm with the parties or their lawyers that the case is ready for trial. Motions in Limine must be heard on a Friday civil motion calendar before trial. Compliance with ADR/Mediation/Settlement Conference will be confirmed. The Judge will also instruct counsel on jury instructions or proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. The length of trial will also be confirmed. The Judge does not necessarily require counsel to "bring" anything to the pretrial conference, however, appearance is mandatory.

How do I continue a trial or major deadline in a case schedule order?

​To continue a trial or major deadline in a case schedule order, you must file a motion at least ten calendar days before the trial date. Schedule the motion for hearing on the assigned judge's civil motion calendar. A motion for continuance must (A) contain written acknowledgment of the motion by the client, (B) be accompanied by an affidavit or declaration containing specific reasons necessitating a continuance, and (C) if agreed or uncontested, contain written acknowledgment of the motion by all parties to the case.

For more information, please review Local Court Rule 40(b).