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7th Circuit judge: Check with opposing counsel to speed rulings

December 5, 2017

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Hamilton had some advice for parties who want the court to act quickly on their case management motions: check with opposing counsel before filing to find out whether they will oppose the proposed motion.

Hamilton offered that advice Monday in a non-final opinion in the Social Security appeal cases of Stacy Harrington and Andrew Banks v. Nancy A. Berryhill, 17-3179 and -3194. In those cases, Harrington and Banks moved to consolidate their appeals, adopt a briefing schedule and allow briefs that were “a little longer than would be allowed in each appeal by itself.” Rather than ruling right away on those motions, Hamilton said he waited for two weeks to see if another party would respond. However, no response was filed.

“To avoid the delay inherent in the sort of caution I exercised here, counsel have their own option for speeding things up: contact counsel for the opposing parties and ask if they will consent to the motion, or at least state that they will not oppose it,” Hamilton wrote in his three-page opinion on Monday.  “Then tell the court in the motion that the other parties consent to or will not oppose the motion. With that message, the court can be confident that it need not wait to protect the interests of the other parties.”

After offering that counsel, Hamilton granted the motion to consolidate the appeals, adopt a briefing schedule and allow longer briefs.

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