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LR 83.11 Assignment and Reassignment of Civil Cases to Judges

(a) Random Method for Assignment of Cases to Judges.

(1) In Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint and Port Huron, the Clerk shall employ a random method for the assignment of civil cases (excluding social security cases and special civil cases) to Judges. Special civil cases are defined as those cases arising under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2254 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 in which the plaintiff is an inmate or resident of any facility of the Michigan Department of Corrections, the United States Bureau of Prisons, or of any county or local jail.

(2) In Bay City, the Clerk shall assign civil cases to the Judge regularly holding court in Bay City.

(3) In Ann Arbor, Bay City, Detroit, Flint and Port Huron, the Clerk shall employ a random method for the assignment of social security cases and special civil cases to Judges.

(4) A case in which a three-Judge court is requested under 28 U.S.C. § 2284 shall be assigned by random method regardless of the place of holding court in which the case is filed.

(5) Assignment of cases to the Chief Judge, to Senior Judges, and, in cases of emergency, to Judges in active service, shall be as provided by administrative order of the Court.

(6) Miscellaneous matters shall be assigned to a judge at the place of holding court where the miscellaneous matter is filed.

(b) Reassignment of Civil Cases.

(1) Cases shall be reassigned only by order of the Court.

(2) To promote docket efficiency, or to conform to the requirement of any case management plan adopted by the Court, or upon consent of the parties, or after notice and hearing, or in the interests of justice, the Chief Judge may order a civil case to be reassigned, but only with the consent of the Judge to whom the case was originally assigned and with the consent of the Judge to whom it is to be reassigned.

(3) To promote judicial efficiency in cases not requiring reassignment under these Rules, the Judges, after notice to the parties and opportunity to respond, may jointly order consolidation of some or all aspects of related cases.

(4) Reassignment of cases because of a change in judicial personnel shall be in accordance with an administrative order authorized by the Court.

(5) Successive habeas corpus petitions challenging the same conviction or sentence regardless of grounds asserted shall be assigned to the Judge to whom the original petition was assigned or to the Judge who is appointed to fill the vacancy of that Judge. If no judge has been appointed to fill that vacancy, the matter will be reassigned by random method under (a).

(6) Motions for relief filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 shall be assigned to the Judge who imposed sentence on the defendant or to the Judge who is appointed to fill the vacancy of the sentencing Judge. If no judge has been appointed to fill that vacancy, the matter will be reassigned by random method under (a).

(7) Companion Cases.

(A) Companion cases are cases in which it appears that:

(i) substantially similar evidence will be offered at trial, or

(ii) the same or related parties are present and the cases arise out of the same transaction or occurrence.

(B) Cases may be companion cases even though one of them has been terminated.

(C) Counsel or a party without counsel must bring companion cases to the court’s attention by responding to the questions on the civil case cover sheet or in the electronic filing system.

(D) When it becomes apparent to the Judge to whom a case is assigned and to a Judge having an earlier case number that two cases are companion cases, upon consent of the Judge having the earlier case number, the Judge shall sign an order reassigning the case to the Judge having the earlier case number.

(8) Matters arising from a civil, special civil (as defined in (a)(1)), or miscellaneous case assigned to (1) a judge who has retired from the court, or (2) a senior judge no longer receiving special civil or miscellaneous cases, will be assigned to the judge who is appointed to fill the vacancy of that judge. If no judge has been appointed to fill that vacancy, the matter will be reassigned by random method under (a).

(c) Refiled, Dismissed, and Remanded Civil Cases.

(1) If an action is filed or removed to this court and assigned to a judge and then is discontinued, dismissed, or remanded to a state court and later refiled, it shall be assigned to the same judge who received the initial case assignment without regard for the place of holding court where the case was refiled. Counsel or a party without counsel must bring such cases to the court’s attention by responding to the questions on the civil case cover sheet or in the electronic filing system.

(2) When it becomes apparent to the Judge to whom a case is assigned that the case has been previously filed in this Court and assigned to another Judge and has later been discontinued, dismissed without prejudice or remanded to a State Court, the two Judges shall sign an order reassigning the case to the Judge who had been assigned the earlier case.

(d) Disqualification of Judge.

When a Judge to whom a case is assigned is disqualified from hearing it, the Clerk shall reassign the case in accordance with (a)(1) or (a)(3).

COMMENT: The “earlier case number” referred to in (b)(7)(D) will mean the earlier case filed as determined by date and time. Miscellaneous matters referred to in LR 83.11(a)(6) include, but are not limited to, the following:

1) matters sealed in the early stages of criminal proceedings;

2) registrations of judgment from other districts;

3) actions to enforce administrative subpoenas and summons;

4) proceedings ancillary to an action pending in another district, e.g., deposition subpoenas

5) supplementary proceedings brought in aid of execution;

6) applications for writs of habeas corpus ad testificandum or ad prosequendum;

7) appointments of counsel under the Criminal Justice Act;

8) disciplinary proceedings for attorneys;

9) incoming letters rogatory.

NOTE: Any of these may be changed into a civil case if contested before a district judge.

The civil case cover sheet referred to in (b)(7)(C) and (c)(1) is available at the clerk's office and the court's web site.

July 1, 2010


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