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LR 73.1 Special Designation to Exercise Civil Consent Authority

(a)   Authority of a Magistrate Judge. Upon consent of all of the parties, and upon approval of the district judge to whom the case is assigned through entry of an order of reference, a magistrate judge may conduct all proceedings in a civil case and order entry of judgment in the case.

(b)   Notice of Consent Option. Upon the filing of a complaint or notice of removal in a civil case, the clerk will give the plaintiff or plaintiff’s counsel or the removing defendant or removing defendant’s counsel a notice/consent form (form) informing the parties that they may consent to have a magistrate judge conduct all proceedings in the case and order the entry of final judgment. The parties or their attorneys must sign the form if they consent to the exercise of dispositive authority by the magistrate judge. Plaintiff or plaintiff’s counsel must attach a copy of the form to each copy of the complaint and summons served. A removing defendant or removing defendant’s counsel must include the form with the notice of removal required under 28 U.S.C. §1446(a). Additional copies of the form may be furnished to the parties at later stages of the proceedings. The parties are free to withhold consent without adverse consequences, and any notice or other communication from the court under authority of this LR will so advise them. This section will not apply if the district judge so instructs the clerk.

(c)   Execution of Consent. If all of the parties in a civil case consent to have the magistrate judge exercise the authority described in (a), the plaintiff or plaintiff’s counsel must file with the clerk the form described in (b), signed by all parties or their attorneys. The clerk will not accept the form without all such signatures, and neither the form nor its contents may be made known or available to a district judge or magistrate judge if it lacks any signatures required under this LR. A party’s decision regarding consent will not be communicated to a district judge or magistrate judge before a fully-executed form is filed. Consent in a civil case under (a) may be entered until 28 days before scheduled trial of the case unless otherwise ordered by the district judge.

(d)   Reference of Civil Consent Case. Upon filing of an executed form as described in (c), the clerk will send it to the district judge. The district judge may then refer the case to the magistrate judge for all further proceedings. A magistrate judge may exercise consent jurisdiction only if the district judge enters an order specifically referring the case.

(e)   Party Added After Consent Occurs. A party added to a civil case after reference of the case to a magistrate judge on consent will be given an opportunity to consent to the continued exercise of case-dispositive authority by the magistrate judge. The clerk will give the party a copy of the form described in (b). A party choosing to consent must, within 28 days of appearance, file with the clerk the form signed by the party or attorney. The case will be returned to the district judge for all further proceedings unless a form is properly signed and filed.

COMMENT: Review of matters referred under LR 73.1 is in the court of appeals. Review of matters referred under LR 72.1 is by the district judge.

March 1, 2010


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