The Rocket Docket Takes Off. In Hennepin County

rocketThe Rocket Docket is mandatory for some kinds of cases in Hennepin County:

  • Conciliation court appeals
  • Consumer credit contract cases (cases where the defendant is an individual, the plaintiff is not an individual, and the amount of the contract is not more than $20,000).

In Hennepin County, three other kinds of cases may also be included in the Rocket Docket program if the judge decides:

  • “Other contract” cases (contract cases that aren’t consumer credit contract cases)
  • Personal injury cases”
  • “Other civil” cases

“Other civil” cases are a hodgepodge of other kinds of cases   They include appeals from administrative agencies, declaratory judgment cases, discrimination cases and quiet title actions.  (A full list of the “other civil” cases is found here.)

A party may move to be excluded from the program.  For example, cases may be excluded where there are complicated theories of liability or where the facts are complicated so that more discovery is needed.

Where a case is not assigned to the Rocket Docket, the parties may ask to be included.  That is possible where all the parties voluntarily agree and where the court accepts their agreement.  It may make sense to agree to Rocket Docket treatment where the fact issues involved are well-defined and narrow and where the parties want to resolve things in the courts quickly.

One word of warning:  If you want to ask to be excluded from the program, you should act promptly.  Once the rocket has taken off, the court may not allow you to “eject.”

The Rocket Docket rules are found here.  Down the road, the Court will evaluate the effectiveness of the project.


Karen Cole at Premium Legal Writing

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