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LSPR 94.03E
TRIALS

     (a) Trial Date Priorities. Cases involving the relocation of children, juvenile offenders, determination of dependency, or termination of parental rights where children are not in the care of a parent shall be accorded the highest priority in setting a trial date.

      (b) Assignment for Trial.
      (1) In cases where a settlement conference is required, a trial date shall be set at the same time a settlement conference is requested.
      (2) In cases where a settlement conference is not required, a party or counsel may schedule the matter for trial setting by filing a Request to Schedule Settlement Conference & Trial setting and set the matter on the administrative calendar for Settlement Conference and Trial Setting. The note for settlement conference and trial setting should be filed no later than 14 days before the time for hearing on the calendar and should indicate the nature of the case, the number of expected factual witnesses, the number of expert witnesses, the expected length of trial, and unavailable dates. The responding party may file a response to this request for settlement conference and trial setting not less than seven days prior to the hearing, providing similar information for that party’s case. If the responding party objects to the settlement conference and trial setting, the matter shall be referred to a judge for determination of whether the case is ready for settlement conference and trial setting. The objection shall be filed not later than three days before the date noted on the Notice. If the judge determines the matter is ready for settlement conference and trial, the case will be referred back to the case scheduler for settlement conference and trial setting. If the judge determines the matter is not ready for settlement conference and trial setting, the judge may enter an order determining when the case shall be ready for settlement conference and trial setting.
      (3) Cases set for trial will be assigned to a week for trial. No specific starting date will be assigned, except early assignment of a judge may be ordered in appropriate cases under these Local Special Rules of Proceeding’s rule regarding case assignments (LSPR 94.03A). Priorities among the cases scheduled for trial will be determined at the trial confirmation hearing. In those cases where a date certain for trial is necessary due to out-of-state parties or other limited circumstances, a party may move for a trial starting on a date certain prior to the time of settlement conference and trial setting. Failure to seek a date certain trial prior to the time the matter is set for trial shall constitute a waiver of the right to a date certain trial.

      (c) Trial confirmation. Each case which has been scheduled for trial but which has not settled will have a trial confirmation on the Thursday 11 days before the week of trial. If the day for trial confirmation is a legal holiday, the trial confirmations will be held on Wednesday. The purpose of this confirmation hearing will be to assist the Court in determining priorities among cases set for trial, the issues for trial, and the length of trial.
 
      (d) Continuances. A case shall proceed to trial or shall be dismissed when it is called unless a continuance is ordered by the Court.
      (1) Form of the Motion. A motion for continuance of trial shall be filed, served and heard by a judge before the trial confirmation hearing. A motion for continuance must (i) contain written acknowledgment of the motion by the client, and (ii) be accompanied by a declaration giving the specific reasons necessitating a continuance.
      (2) Conditions of Order for Continuance. A continuance will be ordered only for good cause. The Court may impose terms upon a party or counsel who is not prepared for trial. Any case that is continued will be immediately referred to the case scheduler for a new trial date.

      (e) Trial Briefs and Required Information. In all dissolution and legal separation trials where property or liabilities are at issue, each party shall submit a proposed division of assets and liabilities. In any family law matter where child support, maintenance, attorney fees, or costs are at issue, each party shall prepare a current Financial Declaration (Washington Pattern Form FL All Family 131), attaching, if necessary, the materials identified in the LSPR regarding motion practice (LSPR 94.03B). If child support is at issue, each party shall prepare the Washington State Child Support Worksheets. In any family law matter where a parenting plan is at issue, each party shall prepare a proposed parenting plan. The above information shall be submitted as a judge’s copy to the judge and served on opposing counsel or self-represented party by noon two Court days prior to the week of trial. Additionally, each party shall file a trial brief with the Clerk, serve a copy on opposing counsel or self-represented party and provide judge’s copies to Court Administration by noon two Court days prior to the week of trial.

     (f) Exhibits. Originals should be provided to the Clerk, a copy provided to all parties, and a judge’s copy provided to Court Administration by noon two Court days prior to the week of trial. Each party shall provide the other parties an opportunity to review all exhibits to be offered, and the other parties shall review such exhibits to determine which exhibits may be admitted by stipulation. The parties shall submit trial exhibits under the procedures in LCR 79.

      (g) Witness List. Each party should submit a witness list that contains the estimated time for testimony, topic of testimony, and contact information for each witness. The witness list should be filed and a copy provided to all parties no later than noon, one Court day after the Settlement Conference. Parties shall use the Court’s Witness List form which may be found in the forms appendix and the Court’s website.

      (h) Proposed Final Orders. Each party to a family law trial may provide proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and proposed decrees to be used as trial exhibits. In proceedings involving children, each party shall provide, by noon two Court days prior to the week of trial, a proposed parenting plan and a proposed order of child support and child support worksheets for use as trial exhibits.

      (i) Attorney Fees and Costs. In considering a request for an award of attorney fees and costs at trial based on bad faith or intransigence, the Court may consider settlement proposals that have been communicated in writing before trial. However, these settlement proposals shall not be submitted to the Court or referred to in argument until a ruling on all other issues has been rendered.

[Adopted effective September 1, 2010. Amended effective September 1, 2011; January 13, 2020.]