(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
(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