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News Item
“Rocket Docket” Expedited Litigation Track pilot expands once more

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019

Pilot aims to reduce the duration and cost of civil suits

The Minnesota Supreme Court issued a recent administrative order to expand the Expedited Litigation Track (ELT), or “Rocket Docket,” to all courthouses in the Sixth Judicial District. As of Friday, March 1, Cook, Lake, and Carlton counties have joined St. Louis County in the pilot project, which is aimed at improving the way district courts process civil cases to reach a secure, speedy, just, and inexpensive resolution to civil court cases.
 
Cases involving personal injury, consumer credit, contract disputes, and other circumstances will be assigned to the ELT track during the pilot. The ELT pilot will manage cases by inserting early involvement of a judge, limiting discovery, truncating continuances, and setting a trial date four to six months from filing or, if applicable, from assignment to ELT. Assignment of cases to the ELT is mandatory, subject to the right of a party to bring a motion within a certain time period to opt out. 
 
“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has expanded the rocket docket pilot to include all locations in the Sixth Judicial District,” said Sixth District Chief Judge Sally L. Tarnowski. “Efficient and affordable movement of court cases is important for all Minnesotans seeking judicial remedies to their disputes. With the Expedited Litigation Track pilot expansion we will be able to offer citizens of the Sixth Judicial District a proven approach to expand the accessibility of justice.”
 
A 2015 evaluation of the ELT pilot found positive results in Dakota County and St. Louis County Duluth Courthouse. These results included modest improvements in the time to disposition of the cases involved in the pilot. In addition, lawyers and litigants reported through a survey that the ELT improved the overall quality of justice and access to the courts. The ELT pilot was launched on July 1, 2013, by Minnesota Supreme Court order. Dakota County and St. Louis County Duluth Courthouse were the first two locations included in the pilot. Hennepin and Olmsted counties were added to the pilot in 2015 and 2016, respectively.