Outline of a Lawsuit – Part 13 – What is a Preliminary Conference

Once the “Request for Judicial Intervention” is filed with the Court (which requests that the Court schedule a Preliminary Conference), then the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant meet on the scheduled date. This is the first time that lawyers from both sides have an opportunity to meet and discuss the case.

As a general matter, the conference does not resolve the issues in the case.  The defense attorneys rarely (if ever) have authority to settle a lawsuit at the Preliminary Conference. However, the conference does signal the beginning of the court proceedings and ultimately is a gauge of how long the case will take. Also, this is an opportunity for the lawyers to determine their opponent’s view of the case.  For example, if the plaintiff has extensive treatment, then this will be highlighted by the plaintiff’s lawyer in the PC Order.  The plaintiff may wisely list the names of all treating physicians, surgeons, therapists, etc. in the Order

Once the Preliminary Conference order is completed and signed by the judge, the plaintiff and defendant must begin the process of complying with the order.  Basically, that means 1) sending the medical records and other hard copy evidence (e.g., photographs, diagnostic films, etc) 2) setting up depositions of plaintiff, defendant, and other individuals who may not be named parties to the lawsuit 3) Arranging physical examinations of the plaintiff and 4) the defendants need to deliver (“exchange”) to the plaintiff information regarding insurance coverage, copies of accident reports, photographs, etc.

After depositions, if the liability is clearly in favor of the plaintiff, the attorney for the plaintiff should start preparing a “Motion for Summary Judgement.”  This motion will be explained in the next blog.

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