Skip to main content

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having your case heard by a magistrate judge?

Kent, WA |

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having your case heard by a magistrate judge?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 5

Posted

This is a litigation question. In addition, you may want to give more specifics. Are we talking about a Federal Court? A better context of your question will probably get better and more helpful answers.

Asker

Posted

It's question #8 in a Minute Order regarding initial disclosures in respect to the joint status report (yes in federal court).

John Robert Bonin

John Robert Bonin

Posted

Mr. Kopelson's answer below is correct as are you. Decisions on whether both parties will agree to the use of a magistrate are not is a part of the Federal Court process and the rational Mr. Kopelson gives is reasonable. If you are attempting to go to Federal Court for the first time without an attorney (which I believe the situation based on this question) you need to understand just how serious such a proposition is. Federal Court is very complex and the local rules must be followed. Get on the Federal Court website and read the local rules as well as the introductory material to those rules - and pay particular attention to local rule 16. After you read that I think you will likely decide to visit an attorney in your area and area of law on a face to face basis. Either way, good luck.

John Robert Bonin

John Robert Bonin

Posted

Alright, at this point, if you read all the responses you are getting you should see that in Federal Court the issue of appointment of a magistrate in lieu of a judge is a matter requiring both sides to consent. You will also see that whether or not agreement should happen on that issue is really a legal strategy based issue that no lawyer would ever likely feel comfortable opining about. It truly is a "practice of law" question that we can't really answer other than to tell you it requires agreement of both sides in Federal Court and that you would want to research both the Federal Judge and the potential magistrates (if you can) on cases similar to your own to see where they have come down. It is certainly not a fair "prediction" of what would happen in your matter -- but it might give you a little insight. The fact of the matter is that what you really have to do is understand that if you are in any way trying to litigate a case in Federal Court yourself that you are going to be held to the standards of practice of an attorney and that in Federal Court - and in particular in Tacoma's Western District Court- the rules are very complex. If you are dealing with an opposing party who has counsel that has any experience in this court you need a great deal more help than responses to general questions on a public website. Federal Court actions take a great deal of planning and strategy work. Your discovery is far more limited than what is available in Washington State court.

Posted

Depending which court system you are in (federal vs. state) you may not have a choice. Furthermore, even if you do, it is a tactical decision which has to be made based upon the facts of the case, the parties, and numerous other considerations. Setting aside that you do not give enough information to give an educated comment in response to your question, this forum doesn't present the appropriate arena to adquately address all considerations.

Asker

Posted

Are you actually compelled to answer questions posted here?

Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

Posted

Free advice is free to ignore. Sorry if my response in someway offended you.

John Robert Bonin

John Robert Bonin

Posted

that is pretty unappreciative to Mr. Schwimmer. In response to your new "question" no, we are not compelled to answer questions. Litigation is stressful, I understand that - but you posted - he's just trying to help within a set of professional restrictions that prevent us from doing certain things that you appear to expect. Again, good luck to you.

Asker

Posted

Mr. Schwimmer I apologize for coming off a little short tempered. As Mr. Bonin has rightfully pointed out, litigation can be stressful but that's not really why I responded the way I did. I have been accused on another legal website of wanting people to work for me for free. As if by merely availing myself of offered "free" resources I was somehow taking food directly out of the mouths of her children if she has any. Appreciative is the last thing I would ever want to be perceived as because that doesn't describe me at all. Mr. Bonin I did respond to your original comment but for whatever reason it hasn't posted. I indicated it's a question which needs to be answered as part of the Joint Status Report, question number 8 in fact and it is the federal district court.

John Robert Bonin

John Robert Bonin

Posted

Thank you for hearing me out on this chain. I actually both got and responded to your follow up yesterday before I even read this chain. You will find my response in the comments section there.

Posted

Id suggest you consult with local counsel who have experience appearing in front of the magistrate to get input into the magistrates traits for fairness, intellect, etc.

Posted

I am assuming that you are in Federal Court in the Western District of Washington, where the parties can both consent to having your case heard by a magistrate judge. If the other side doesn't consent, then it probably doesn't matter. It all depends upon your judge and your assigned magistrate. They are both generally high quality in this district.

Posted

For business cases, I personally prefer Magistrate/Judge trials as they are faster, and you tend to get an educated determination. If your case is personal/based as much on emotional appeal as evidence, then you may be best off with a jury. Judges don't respond real well to emotional appeal.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer