Since many employment law cases are tried in federal courts, intimate knowledge of the way the Court works is one way for practitioners and clients to overcome potential hurdles. Looking at the District Court of Connecticut’s website did not provide many answers and thus, those who practiced in federal court frequently often had the upper hand on those who didn’t. Indeed, the District Court’s website felt like a throwback to the early days of the Internet.  

But lo and behold, just a few days ago, the Court launched a brand new siteI’ve only just begun to explore and I like what I’ve seen so far.  In terms of information sharing, it has finally leveled the playing field, even for those who only practice infrequently in federal courts.

Most impressive and helpful is that on each judge’s website page, there is a link to that judge’s chambers practices.  Why is this so important? Because until now, there was not a publicly available resource for such information on the Internet to know what each judge’s preferences were for pretrial procedures, and trials. (I should note that the CBA did publish a book on it but charged $35 for CBA members and was only current through May 2004). 

You now can learn, for example, that Judge Robert Chatigny:

[I]s concerned when motions for extensions of the discovery deadline date established pursuant to the Rule 26(D) Report continue to be filed by some counsel on a regular basis, despite the purpose and intent of the applicable rules. According to Judge Chatigny, the purpose of the Rule 26(F) Report is to provide a schedule established pursuant to the parties’ case management plan that is not to be modified except in unusual circumstances. Counsel are encouraged to propose a realistic discovery deadline date and then commence discovery without delay so that modifications of the discovery deadline date will be unnecessary.

Thus, experienced counsel in Connecticut will not seek an extension of time lightly when before Judge Chatigny.  Among the other topics that are discussed in the Chambers Practices:

  • Oral Argument on Motions
  • Referral to Magistrate Judges/Special Masters
  • 26(f) Reports
  • Sur-reply Briefs
  • Letter Briefs
  • Chambers’ Copies
  • Lawyer Affidavits
  • Hours of Day for Trial
  • Days of Week for Trial
  • Opening Statements/Closing Arguments
  • Jury Profiles
  • Jury Selection

Again, this is a great resource.  I expect to explore this site more in the upcoming days and will post any further items of interest to those who practice employment law.